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Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.


Postby Guinessman » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:59 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great Gable, Kirk Fell

Hewitts included on this walk: Great Gable, Kirk Fell

Date walked: 04/11/2015

Time taken: 7

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1489m

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A check of the MWIS weather report the previous evening looked promising, zero winds, cloud in the valleys with summits above the cloud. An early start the next morning to take two friends to Newcastle Airport for 06.45 ensured I was on the roads early. I took a stop on the M6 service station for an early breakfast. As always with trips to the lakes because I go that much I tend to end doing the same hills over and over again and then sometimes reversing them, so this time I thought about doing Kirkfell ,a hill I hadn't been on since I was a teenager mainly because its out of the way unless your in Wasdale, which I don't do on a day trip.
To get to Kirkfell I thought I would go from Seathwaite to Styhead and onto the Great Gable girdle path, onto Kirkfell and then return via Great Gable. As with Kirkfell I hadn't been on the girdle path since I was a lad and memories of it were of moving over lots of scree. After doing the girdle path I was pleasantly surprised, its an interesting track and in common with the high level traverse on Pillar still has some grassy paths. Its an excellent mountain path and the proximity to the climbers traverse surprised me. I think all those memories years ago of scree probably meant I was too low.
Got to Seathwaite around 08.30 and I was on my way for 08.45. The weather in the valley was damp and cool with the car temp clock reading 5 degrees. I started off with a windstopper jacket on for the walk to Stockley bridge

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Climbed up the path to the left of Taylorgill force and stripped down to a T shirt as it was beginning to warm up. Got to Styhead tarn just as the sun was starting to make an appearance and burn off some cloud

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From this height I started to see the extent of the inversion which got better as I walked onto the girdle path. Looking across to Great End shows the amount of cloud hanging on the Wasdale side of Styhead and out towards the west the cloud was as far as I could see. The slopes of Lingmell can be seen on the left with the Wasdale valley totally covered.

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Two shots of the girdle path. As I previously stated the track surprised me. It constantly holds your attention as you meander across the slopes.

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The girdle path is close to the path to the climbers traverse. At one point the path to the start of the clamber to the base of Napes Needle is only about 75 feet above you. The photographs show Napes Needle, Sphinx rock and Arrowhead buttress, a climb I recall doing in my youth, not just climbing but leading it!

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Two shots from the area of the col between Great Gable and Kirkfell looking south

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Path up to Kirkfell.

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View from the top of Kirkfell showing cloud inversion in Ennerdale and Buttermere

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Zoomed shot of Illgill Head taken from Kirkfell.

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View back from the shoulder up Great Gable showing Kirkfell, Pillar hills, Buttermere hills

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Kirkfell from Great Gable

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Got to the top of Great Gable around 1pm and such was the temperature I sat for an hour in the sun. I keep a pair of sunglasses in the rucksack and there has been many opportunities this year so out they came. As I sat the cloud started to move up the valley towards Styhead and thicken as it did so. I kept watching for photographs and on looking back to Kirkfell saw the cloud racing and dropping over Black Sail pass and into Ennerdale. Tried to capture the image, hope I've done it justice

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Initially I was going to go onto Green Gable and then drop down over the fells towards the path back to Stockley Bridge but given the amount of cloud hanging in the valley thought I would drop straight down the front path towards Styhead tarn. Passed a couple at 2.30pm repeating a walk from their youth going up and with a fair bit still to do I hope they got back before nightfall.

View up Borrowdale from the path down Great Gable. Blencathra can be seen in the distance on the left.

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Last edited by Guinessman on Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby mamoset » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:50 pm

Awesome :clap: . What a sight that must have been in amongst the big ones
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby georgeaquaterra » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:26 pm

Awesome. That looks like a day to make you feel glad to be alive.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby Guinessman » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:53 pm

Thanks for the comments,it certainly was a special day 8)
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby The English Alpinist » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:22 pm

Breathtaking views. Your eyes must have been coming out on stalks all the time! It's interesting for me to see the Gable-Kirk Fell route. I've never done Kirk Fell, and am planning to take it in along with Great Gable. Amazing looking col. I'll be descending to Black Sail, though, and then to Buttermere via Haystacks.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:55 pm

Looks a truly awesome day, the cloud cascade is breathtaking.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby ChrisW » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:47 pm

Wow, I think you did as much justice to the shot as possible Guinessman ...nothing ever really captures what the eye sees because the emotion is missing from the scene, this must have looked spectacular and felt like a just reward for the effort :clap: :clap:
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby Guinessman » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:55 pm

The English Alpinist wrote:Breathtaking views. Your eyes must have been coming out on stalks all the time! It's interesting for me to see the Gable-Kirk Fell route. I've never done Kirk Fell, and am planning to take it in along with Great Gable. Amazing looking col. I'll be descending to Black Sail, though, and then to Buttermere via Haystacks.
Thanks for the comments. Are you doing GReat Gable from Buttermere and back again? Enjoy its a good round
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby Guinessman » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:58 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Looks a truly awesome day, the cloud cascade is breathtaking.
Thanks for that it certainly was awesome
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby Guinessman » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:01 pm

ChrisW wrote:Wow, I think you did as much justice to the shot as possible Guinessman ...nothing ever really captures what the eye sees because the emotion is missing from the scene, this must have looked spectacular and felt like a just reward for the effort :clap: :clap:
Thanks for that pleased I was there to capture and share
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:37 pm

What a set of great photos Guinessman :clap: :clap: and love the waterfall of mist :D and thanks for sharing your day out :clap:
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby dav2930 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:33 pm

I can only echo the comments above. Inversions don't come any better than that and you have some splendid shots of it. :clap:

I was interested to read that you'd led Arrowhead Ridge (was that the Direct?). I haven't done that one but it looks good. Hoping to get round to climbing Napes Needle next year.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby Guinessman » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:53 am

Yeah did the VD Arrowhead direct ,I think I was 18/19 at the time. I recall getting the "disco leg" at the top of the direct section just before the top block. Used to to a bit back then,I recall doing Corvus a few times .Did a bit of climbing on the Buichaille as well, led Crowberry direct at one stage which is a severe grade. My climbing career never got " higher " than that
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby litljortindan » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:22 pm

Those last few photos are superb.
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Re: Great gable/ Kirkfell - cloud inversion.

Postby dav2930 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:38 pm

Guinessman wrote:Yeah did the VD Arrowhead direct ,I think I was 18/19 at the time. I recall getting the "disco leg" at the top of the direct section just before the top block. Used to to a bit back then,I recall doing Corvus a few times .Did a bit of climbing on the Buichaille as well, led Crowberry direct at one stage which is a severe grade. My climbing career never got " higher " than that

By all accounts Arrowhead Direct is no pushover for a VDiff. Severe is a good grade to have reached, especially with a climb as substantial as Crowberry Direct. Last time I was on the Buachaille was about seven years ago with a climbing mate and we thought about CD but went for January Jigsaw and Grooved Arete instead. Corvus is one of my favourite easy climbs - definitely one to do time and again and in all seasons! Nowadays I don't climb at anything like the standard I used to but I still like to keep my hand in. Last big climb we did this year was Eliminate A on Dow, one of the best VS's I've ever done. I've no intention of giving up yet! :)
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