Monday, 13 December 2010

Searching for ice on Great End

Above the clouds on Great End

Despite the extensive thaw of the past couple of days we headed up to Great End to see if the gullies still contained any ice. There had been a frost overnight and the freezing level was hovering around 600m as we trudged up the path from Seathwaite. What snow that remained has formed good neve. The crag was shrouded in cloud but we could see teams heading for Central Gully & South East Gully. We decided to solo Window Gully (II/III) which was still climbable but very thin in places. The two icefall exits on the right wall were both extremely fragile and we opted for the sensible option, staying in the gully to the summit. The top of the crag had some frosting and there was a thin layer of rime on the rocks down to the base but none of the mixed routes looked anything like they were in condition.

A quick descent of Cust's Gully (II), which contained unbroken snow with a complete staircase of footprints, brought us around to the foot of Central Gully (II). This was even thinner than our previous route but again climbable with care. There were folk on the left hand exits but we opted for the right hand icefall which follows the true continuation of the gully. We emerged at the summit just as an inversion developed which gave us a stunning brocken spectra.

Great End this evening with light rime on the summit rocks

The right hand icefall on Window Gully (II/III)

Cloud inversion looking towards Great Gable

Brocken spectra from the summit of Great End