Scafell Pike or "Franks Frozen Left Foot"
by Phooooey » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:48 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Lingmell, Scafell Pike
Hewitts included on this walk: Lingmell, Scafell Pike
Date walked: 01/11/2012
Time taken: 5.5
Distance: 9.89 km
Ascent: 1009mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
John has been pestering me for almost a year now to bag the "big one" yet I last climbed Scafell Pike on my birthday back in June on a Wednesday meaning John had to work and couldn't come with me.
Plans to rectify this were drawn up this week with a plan to go over the top and down to Great End so I could add another to my tally too.
The challenge of climbing England's highest spread round the office and another 2 guests were added to our ranks before Danielle came down with a cold and dropped out.
So a party of myself, Damson, John & our boss Frank woke early on Saturday morning to a wet and very cold start. If I'd have been on my own, I may very well have got back into bed!
It started dry as I loaded the car and set off to pick up my fellow yompers.
Within 5 minutes however the heavens opened and fired as much sleet and ice as it possibly could for the next 5 minutes leaving the roads somewhat slippery and flooded in places around Dalton & Barrow.
After picking up John, off we went to Ulverston to pick up Frank, all before 8 O'Clock.
Despite only having a limited experience on the fells, Frank was ready for the challenge and had prepared by buying some new gear that certainly helped over the upcoming few hours.
We travelled over Corney Fell and down the west coast through Muncaster & Ravensglass before heading in land and into the wonderful Wasdale Valley, looking as menacing as ever in the early morning cloud cover.
The weather held off as we suited and booted and myself and John donned our gaiters as it was clear from the fells around us that we were definitely walking up into snow today.
We decided on the Hollow Stones route as I had earlier in the year, as I knew the path was clear and fairly easy upto Lingmell Col. The last thing I needed today was to get lost or find ourselves somewhere dangerous.
Approaching Brown Tongue up Scafell Pike
As soon as we had started climbing the heavens opened yet again and we got a "severe dampening" for the next half hour or so as we made our way to the foot of Brown Tongue and the start of the steps.
Blue sky was drawing in from the West so we continued up the stone steps and into the snow.
Frank & John on stone steps of Brown Tongue
Wastwater from Brown Tongue
It felt a little like the steps climbing into Mordor from "Lord Of The Rings" with everything being black and white and very slippery underfoot.
Climbing icy steps to Hollow Stones
Quick pose approaching Hollow Stones
On reaching the ridge, we then crossed the boulder strewn "Hollow Stones" below Pulpit Rock. In summer this had been a leasurely jaunt following a clear path through the boulder field but today had been quite a test as no clear path presented itself in the snow and the rocks were very slippery causing a couple of stumbles and falls as we crossed over towards the climb up to Lingmell Col.
The weather still held as we dropped our packs behind a high rock and wandered over to claim Lingmell.
The snow was knee high in places up Lingmells flank and hadn't been touched as yet today so we made our own path through the virgin snow heading directly for the summit. The views from here are wonderful across to Great Gable, Kirk Fell & Pillar but (unlike Junes trip) views down towards Styhead tarn and the corridor route were completely obscured by low lying cloud.
We returned to the packs and were surprised to now see a whole plethora of walkers climbing and clambering up the final faces of the Pike. I have been up here in all conditions and at many different times with my parents and never had the fell top to ourselves and today wasn't going to be any different.
The approaching hordes climbing to Scafell Pike (Lingmell in background)
Hordes climbing to Scafell Pike (over Styhead Tarn)
Climbing to Scafell Pike from Lingmell Col
On the final pushes towards the summit, the clouds rolled back in and caught us with showers of hail.
Frank had dropped back a bit and was caught at the front of the following bunch and as John and I watched, they all seemed to fall into unison and looked like the MADNESS line.
We amused ourselves singing Baggy Trousers and other Madness classics before ending on a rendition of the Conga as we watched them catch us up.
Conditions must have been bad as Damson kept coming back to me for a carry and a cuddle. I have fought all calls to buy her a daft dog coat but have to admit that I cannot take her back into those conditions again without carrying something to keep her a bit warmer.
The top was it usual gaggle of about 30 to 40 people all hiding behind rocks and walls trying to stay out of the wind. We grabbed a few photos and a quick bite to eat before I finally made the decision to forego the traverse over Ill & Broad Crags and onto Great End. Darker clouds were rolling in, so we made our way back down the way we came.
Finally reached the top
Terrible Trio on Top
View back to Styhead Tarn from summit
Scafell from Scafell Pike
Trig Point on Scafell Pike (Yewbarrow & Red Pike and Wastwater in background)
Although Franks waterproof gear was doing an admirable job, he had chosen walking shoes rather than boots and we hadn't exactly explained the virtues of gaiters to him earlier in the week. A constant mix of deep snow, hail and especially the freezing cold waters of Lingmell Gill that has to be crossed going both up and down, led to our discussions and concerns over Frank's Frozen Left Foot (hence the subtitle of todays report).
Descending back through deep snow back to Lingmell Col (Lingmell on right)
Great Gable from Lingmell Col
As followers of my blogs already know, a normal Wainwright wander always contains at least one of us having a fall (normally John ) and as none have been serious yet, very little sympathy is shown and normally ends in tears of laughter by the other party (professional I know !!).
Frank survived the entire day without as much as a slip (and this was to be the main theme of my blog and some of the discussions throughout the day) until the last 30 meters or so of descent. As we approached the final gate into the fields leading back to the car, we heard a shout behind us and Frank laying prone almost upside down on the path. Both John and I yelled "Are you OK ?", "Are you hurt ?" to which the reply "Only my pride" was given. John and I started howling!!
We ended the day with a pint in the Wasdale Inn while Damson made a few new friends before heading home.
Despite not adding to my tally, I enjoyed every minute of the day and the challenge of climbing #1 in wintry conditions with good company.
More photos of the day, initially from Franks camera :
Illgill Head from Wasdale Head car park
Pillar behind Wasdale Inn
Great Gable from Wasdale Head
John, Damson and I (sporting Movember Tash) at Wasdale Head
Borrowdale from Scafell Pike ascent
Lingmell from Scafell Pike ascent (path was made in fresh snow by ourselves 30 minutes earlier)
Deputy Dawg and Alexei Sayle above Lingmell col
Plaque on Scafell Pike summit
Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell & Red Pike (right to left) from Scafell Pike
Styhead Tarn and Borrowdale from Scafell Pike summit
Storm Clouds approaching
Scafell Pike panorama
For 3D parorama please follow link : http://www.dermandar.com/p/bBuhrg/scafell-pike-winter-panorama
And finally a few from John's phone
Frank & I on lower flanks of Scafell Pike
Frank, Damson & I on Lingmell Col
On Lingmell Col over Illgill Head
Just missed the madness photo - Frank at head of 7 man conga line
Great Gable and Borrowdale from Scafell Pike
Frank, Damson & I reach the summit
Back down and heading for a pint
by Phooooey » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:25 pm
by ChrisW » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:40 pm
by Phooooey » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:03 pm
I made it sound like John and I were more stable than normal. That couldn't be further from the truth. I had a couple of scraps with the deep snow and John was well into double figures by the time Frank had taken his tumble.
Damson just didn't like the blizzard on top. She'd been flying about all over the mountain before the hail fell.
I've been looking at dog coats before our winter walks, just for the extreme conditions.
We thought we were crazy before we met the crowds ... maybe they were just as mad, however it probably looks like a stroll compared to some of your reports.
by SusieThePensioner » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:02 pm
Well done to Frank, in particular
Have to say, I kept going aaaaah for poor Damson; you have to invest in something warm for her when you're there sporting warm clothing and a hat
One day you'll get up to the top and there will be NO hordes
by Phooooey » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:33 pm
We've been searching for Damson's early Christmas pressie so we'll have something before our next outting.
I'm not sure about getting the mountain to myself tho.
As a kid we went up there early enough to wait for sunrise on the top, wrapped in a sleeping bag and we weren't alone then !!
by garyhortop » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:37 am
by johnkaysleftleg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:23 pm
by Phooooey » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:49 pm
New photos also show my new sporty moustach which I am growing to raise awareness of Cardiac Arrest in the Young as part of the 2012 Movember campaign.
If you wish to help please sponsor me on the link below :
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundrai ... sTeam=true