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Helvellyn from Grasmere

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:53 am
by richardkchapman
Richard, Lorraine, Robert, Sarah, Thomas, Sapphie, Gem. Forecast was for a dry but very windy day.

Set off from the cottage in Easedale at 8:30 - an early start as we were concerned about running out of daylight. Easy walking along country roads to the foot to Mill Bridge, then up to Tongue Gill. We had intended to take the eastern path by Tongue Gill, described as easier and shorter by AW, but the bridge leading to it was blocked off by signs saying it was dangerous, so we opted for the western route up Great tongue instead. Cloud was still hanging low over Fairfield so we were hoping it would clear in time.

Reached Grisedale Tarn after a fairly comfortable climb and paused for refreshments and kitting up with gloves and fleeces for the colder and windier tops ahead. Dollywaggon Pike was still in the clouds but it looked to be lifting. A bit of a slog up the zigzags - the path is good but a bit monotonous with the staircase-style stones laid into it. In cloud when we reached the ridge so no views yet, and very windy so kept well away from the edge.

We debated whether or not to make the diversion to the summit of Dollywaggon or not - the cloud was thick at the time and the wind fierce - but a brief lifting of the fog allowed us to see that the way was short and clear of risks, and we were confident that the GPS could lead us back to the main path. We held on to Thomas to make sure he wasn't blown off the top though!

Back to the main ridge path and an easy walk along to Nethermost Pike, with the clouds lifting and giving us occasional glimpses of views. We left the path and wandered over to the summit of Nethermost feeling like it was a bit of a cheat to claim an ascent of an extra Wainwright just for wandering 100 yards from the path...

By this time the clouds were high enough to see more prolonged views of Helvellyn's eastern ridges and marvel at the fact that even in 70 mph winds there were people on Striding Edge - not the route I wold have picked on such a day.

On to Helvellyn itself, keeping well away from the eastern precipices given the wind, arriving in time for a well-earned lunch in one corner of the cross-shaped shelter. Set off down feeling a lot fuller but also a lot colder and needing to get moving to warm up.

Reversed our route for the descent, though bypassed the tops of Nethermost and Dollywaggon. The wind was still blowing strongly, and the silences when it occasionally dropped to calm were lovely. Descending the staircase zigzags from Dollywaggon to Grizedale tarn got a little tedious, and when we reached the same height as Grisedale Hause opposite we decided to follow the contours around the Seat Sandal side of the tarn - path was a little boggy but easy enough.

Descent down Great Tongue was tiring - the other path would have been a lot easier on the knees I suspect but we were not confident of being able to cross the gill below the dangerous bridge. We eventually limped into the Traveller's Rest for some well-earned refreshment around 4pm.

Granny arrived to take the kids home and save them the final mile or so, while Lorraine and I walked the dogs back in the dark. The footpath opposite the Traveller's Rest to cut off the corner seemed like a good idea at the time, but putting stepping stones on a footpath so near a pub seemed very mean, especially in the dark. Fortunately we made it across without mishap.

Re: Helvellyn from Grasmere

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:33 am
by SusieThePensioner
I enjoyed reading your report but disappointed there are no photos?

I first did Helvellyn by catching the bus to Wythburn from Grasmere, up Birk Side to Helvellyn and back via Dollywaggon :D

Re: Helvellyn from Grasmere

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:37 am
by richardkchapman
SusieThePensioner wrote:I enjoyed reading your report but disappointed there are no photos?

All photographs by Sarah:

Grisedale Tarn, with Thomas and Gem

Dollywaggon Pike still in cloud as we approach it

Interesting light over Coniston

Striding Edge

Setting off from Nethermost Pike towards Helvellyn

Another view of Striding Edge