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Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag

Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag


Postby dav2930 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:34 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag

Hewitts included on this walk: Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag

Date walked: 24/03/2018

Time taken: 8

Distance: 17.4 km

Ascent: 1316m

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Had a great day on Saturday 24th March, sneaking in a snow climb on the Red Tarn face of Helvellyn before all the snow disappears in the Lakes. The weather was perfect so we wandered along to Dollywaggon Pike then round to St Sunday Crag.

Karl and me set off from Glenridding at 9.00am and walked up to Red Tarn using the path on the south side of Glenridding Beck.

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Catstycam


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Beck viewed from the footbridge


Where the ground levels off in the cove containing Red Tarn, we got a good view of the face of Helvellyn with our intended route running up the middle of it.

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Red Tarn face of Helvellyn


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The line of Gully2


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A frozen Red Tarn below Helvellyn


We walked around the north side of the tarn to the foot of the gully. Two other chaps were already at the foot of gully1 to the right. We put on our crampons and made any final adjustments of hats, gloves, sunglasses, layers etc. Axes in hand, we set off up the slopes, heading for the point where the line of snow narrows between the buttresses. The snow was a bit on the soft side but held our weight and good kicks made for secure steps. The slope was easy going for quite a way. Meanwhile the other two chaps had traversed in below us and were following us up our gully; that is until we looked down again from a bit higher and they'd vanished! Oh well.

The slope gradually steepened as we got near to the narrows. Fortunately the snow was also getting firmer. Picks of the axes going in now, placements were secure. A bit further up was the narrowest part of the gully, with a couple of small rocks sticking out of the snow. These were good spikes which made useful though unnecessary handholds. A couple of steps to the right led to a tongue of thick, solid ice only thinly coated with snow. This gave 20 feet of superb climbing on crampon tips with the axe picks sinking in only an inch at most, and led over a slight bulge to the upper snow slopes. Here the snow was softer again and some of the axe placements dragged, but with some bashing it was always possible find more secure placements.

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Point and shoot down the gully. Well I wasn't going to turn round was I?


From below it had appeared there might be a cornice at the top and that this could be avoided by a traverse to the right. But as the sunlit rim came into sight we could see there wasn't much of a cornice at all and we could go straight up. Topping out was pretty easy. What a great climb! :D

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Karl topping out from the gully


We were looking right at the cross-walls shelter just below the summit of Helvellyn. So a few steps later we were sat down in the sunshine enjoying coffee, sandwiches and superb views. There was barely a breath of wind and it was warm. We sat there for ages.

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Catstycam from Helvellyn


A quick visit to the summit then off southwards for Dollywaggon Pike. We weren't bothered about bagging every top in sight so we by-passed the actual summit of Nethermost Pike.

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Cornice round the summit ridge of Helvellyn


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Crowds at the top


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Striding Edge from Helvellyn summit


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Thirlmere and central fells


Along the way a group of paragliders passed silently overhead and gradually disappeared towards Morecambe Bay.

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Paraglider


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Dollywaggon Pike


Great views from Dollywaggon Pike.

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St Sunday Crag from Dollywaggon Pike


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High Crag from Dollywaggon Pike


Then down the zig-zaggy path to Grisedale Tarn. Pretty warm by now so down to base-layers for the rising traverse up to St Sunday Crag.

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Grisedale Tarn


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Fairfield


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Cofa Pike and Fairfield from the ridge of St Sunday Crag


Always seems further than you think to the top of St Sunday - several false summits.

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Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag from St Sunday Crag


Lovely afternoon light.

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Helvellyn from St Sunday Crag


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West from St Sunday Crag


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High Street range from St Sunday Crag


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Ullswater


Great walk, great climb, great weather, great day. All rounded off nicely with a pint of Tirril Original in the Ratcher's Tavern! :D


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dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1328
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
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Re: Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:33 pm

Excellent way to get to the summit!


My first ever winter experience was climbing the back of Brown Cove as a 14-ish year old, with my dad, using one of his acquired ex-War Department 85cm(!) wooden shafted ice axes, then later learning ice axe braking by going down a similar way.
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Mal Grey
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag

Postby davekermito » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:25 pm

Great route up and super photos!
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davekermito
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Re: Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:46 pm

That route up Gully 2 looks absolutely stunning in those conditions. Wonderful stuff, and some cracking pics that really give a sense of the conditions. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Alteknacker
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Re: Helvellyn via Gully2 + St Sunday Crag

Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:59 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent way to get to the summit!


My first ever winter experience was climbing the back of Brown Cove as a 14-ish year old, with my dad, using one of his acquired ex-War Department 85cm(!) wooden shafted ice axes, then later learning ice axe braking by going down a similar way.

Thanks Mal. Hadn't done that particular gully before and it turned out to be very enjoyable. Sounds like you had a fun intro to steep snow in Brown Cove. Glad we don't use 85cm axes these days! :lol:

davekermito wrote:Great route up and super photos!

Thanks Dave!

Alteknacker wrote:That route up Gully 2 looks absolutely stunning in those conditions. Wonderful stuff, and some cracking pics that really give a sense of the conditions. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Thanks AK. I don't think those Helvellyn gullies are worth doing in summer, but they make cracking winter climbs. Gully 2 is the easier of the two, a mere grade I - not as steep as it looks from a distance! Hadn't done it before and was really impressed by it. :D
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dav2930
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Posts: 1328
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

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