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Jim and Daves big adventure - Going nowhere!
by DaveB1 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:39 pm
Date walked: 10/02/2013
Time taken: 5.5
Distance: 9.69 km
Ascent: 711m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Neither did Jim, as Lassie, our faithful companion (dog) was left in the warmth of Jim’s house, which on reflection was a good decision, as it turned out, the best decision of the day as you will see!
The MWIS forecast was ‘not good’ but as I’m sure you’ll all appreciate it’s ‘merely a guide’ to us half-wits who wander the hills in pursuit of the ‘Holy Grail’ compleation (it’s the Scots spelling) of Wainwrights.
So I’d initially planned over Pike O’ Blisco, Red Tarn and Cold Pike, but on arriving in Langdale and having an exploratory drive up towards Wrynose, opted for Dungeon Ghyll Car Park. Suited and Booted; Jim had some new Altbergs as his Scarpas (second pair) had leaked! He regaled me with the tale of the visit to Whalley to the ‘Warm and Dry’ shop and the interesting customer service skills of the boss! In the end he bought the boots and a pair for Cindy (wife) too!
The weather was grim, low cloud, rain, then snow, so we abandoned Pike O’ Blisco for a route into Oxendale past the bottom of the path up ‘The Band’ and heading for the path which goes to the left of Markeens and into Red Tarn.
We crossed the bridge over the beck and followed the path, but then that’s when it started to go wrong, instead of consulting the map and GPS, I said ‘it can’t be up there’ (it was!) ‘We’ll contour round a bit, it must be this way’ (it wasn’t). We stopped a while later for a rest and brew and actually consulted the GPS. With unerring accuracy it showed we’d been wrong, so I said ‘never mind we’ll just go round the other side of Markeens and get to Red Tarn that way’.
After a while, we were on a ‘getting very vertical’ slope and following an ever narrowing gully with a deepening beck, in ever deeper snow. Jim was using his ice axe (usually an unusual shooting stick! He can’t help it!) to anchor himself to the slope and eventually we realised to go further was inviting a visit from the ‘helicopter boys’ so we did an about turn.
Plan B was invoked, Jim said ‘I’d like to try out my new bivvy shelter, we should head for Three Tarns’, ‘ok’ I said ‘back to the bridge and we’ll follow the path to the other bridge, the map says it takes us straight to Three Tarns’ (you’ll see what I mean if you check the route map.)
Everything was going well until we reached the other footbridge over Whorneyside Gill. It was still snowing and we stopped to admire the waterfall the bridge crossed, speculating that Mick (our mate) would have been stripped off and in it if the temperature had been 25 degrees warmer. Jim for some reason known only to him had taken his pack off and propped his ice axe against the interior bridge fence. I came along about a minute later and kicked my boots against the side to remove snow, the ice axe moved and promptly fell ‘in slow motion’ over the fence and agonizingly head over tip into the 3ft deep pool at the bottom of the waterfall. I can see it now if I close my eyes! The air went blue! I said ‘you’re not going after it, Jim, leave it!, I’ll pay!, It’s only £60 quid!’
Jim immediately ignored my pleas and went fishing.
Every scenario flashed past, Jim falling, how would I get him out? What would I tell the MRT? Worse still what would I tell Cindy?
Jim seemed to be managing, the fear subsided and practicality set in. My walking pole plus a climbing rope loop (found on Arran) looked a good bet to get it (It wasn’t).
I think I was hopping from side to side, frantically worrying about Jim and simultaneously searching for a solution. It was then I saw and had a ‘light bulb’ moment all at the same time. Just the other side of the bridge was a fallen tree, so armed with trusty Swiss Army Knife (it’s got a saw blade) I sawed a large branch off and gave it to Jim.
So with a five foot drop into three feet of freezing water, Jim went fishing again and managed by some divine intervention, given his eyesight, hooked the axe out of the water!
Jim said ‘right its off to Three Tarns’, so we followed the path that was just visible through the ever deepening snow in the direction of Hell Gill. Well named, it looked terrifying, deep, black and dangerous. Jim got his map out, I should have known, ‘Hell Gill’s on the right’ I said. ‘Yes, if we follow the beck we’ll get to Three Tarns. What neither of us noticed and the snow had obliterated the path was that Hell Gill was right angles to where we were and the path went up along side it!
An hour and much uphill later we checked the GPS, which is clipped to the left hand strap of my rucksack, so not invisible. Stopping in nine inches of snow we discovered we had followed the wrong beck and were climbing a slope of Crinkle Crags. Some expletives later, we cleared the snow and decided to test the shelter where we were.
Being a typical bloke, reading the instructions or practising before we went out had not hit Jim’ s radar, so on a sloping snow covered slope we tried to get side by side into a 2/3 man shelter.
‘I’ve never been this intimate with a man before’ said Jim. ‘Cuddle up’ says I, ‘you’re nice and warm’. Well it was better than suffering the snow which was still falling and it felt warm enough inside to eat our butties without gloves. Mick told me a couple of days later that we should have been sitting facing each other, a bit difficult on a slope. Ah well, next time!
Suitably chastened we retraced our steps to Langdale and on reaching Stool End Farm put some money in the Air Ambulance bucket, we’d had a near miss and insurance is good!
We’d been out for five and a half hours in rubbish weather, got lost twice, rescued an ice axe and failed miserably to stick to the ‘best practice’ for navigation. Lesson learnt, but I can’t help grinning, it keeps you ALIVE! Perhaps that’s why we do it and sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we don’t.
PS: Jim’s Altbergs passed the test(dry feet!)
by Silverhill » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:51 pm
by SusieThePensioner » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:29 pm
by Phooooey » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:16 am
by DaveB1 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:54 pm
SusieThePensioner wrote:That could've been disastrous but, fortunately, not!! However, I did laugh, particularly at the two of you sat in the shelter I loved the photos as well
Thanks Susie, The bivvy was, on reflection, hilarious; although at the time Jim thought he'd wasted his money a serious crime in his book!
Phooooey wrote:You two must be related to myself and walking mate John. We've made all the wrong decisions in snow, particularly above Ullswater, and returned to tell the tale much, much later than planned. Ice fishing and fell walking are not normally good bed fellows !!
I always knew there were folk as daft as us, Phoooey, just glad we got away with it!
Silverhill wrote:You need a sense of humour for a day like that! Very entertaining report (Also glad nothing untoward happened).
Thanks Silverhill, still alive to talk about it and may be a bit wiser? (Although I doubt that )
by johnkaysleftleg » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:06 pm
by ChrisW » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:56 pm
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