Saturday, 4 December 2010

Post Holing in the Lakes

After the heavy snowfall of yesterday picking the right crag was always going to be critical today. Surprisingly the road up to Dunmail Raise was clear and we opted to head around to the Falcon Crag area on Dollywagon Pike. There was one team ahead of us putting in a good trail but it was still hard going in knee deep snow. The temperature was above freezing and everything was pretty damp. There had been some drifting on the north westerlies overnight and there were a few small patches of soft slab on slopes with a south easterly aspect. However the rise in the temperature was preventing much movement of the snow today.

A couple of teams climbed Dollywagon Gully (III) reporting good conditions on the top two pitches. The only other realistic option for us was Tic Tac Man (IV 4) which looked to be in good nick. However we continued to traverse/swim through the deep snow round to Cock Cove Crag which gave us Coco-Tara Direct (IV 4), a great little route with a short crux up an overhanging corner.

Sounds like a lot of teams made the sensible choice today and headed into Brown Cove Crags which doesn't get loaded on north westerlies. Left Buttress (II) and Right Buttress Crack (III) both saw a number of ascents but a team backed off Twin Grooves (IV 6) due to the amount of snow. Please bear in mind that the topo in the current Lake District Winter Climbs guidebook is labeled incorrectly which can make for an interesting day!

Launchy Gill (III) in Thirlmere recieved a fairly damp ascent but should be coming in to condition with the return of the colder weather. Low Water Beck (III) is now well established and seeing plenty of action although the first pitch is still a little thin.

The current forecast for freezing temperatures tonight should produce some very good conditions tomorrow. The wet snow pack will freeze and consolidate giving a lot more options.