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Back to Great End for Cust's

Back to Great End for Cust's


Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:12 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great End

Hewitts included on this walk: Great End

Date walked: 05/03/2016

Time taken: 6

Distance: 13.7 km

Ascent: 820m

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It just had to be done. Last time Karl and me went up Great End (14th Feb - see previous TR) we scrambled tentatively up an extremely lean and icy Skew Gill; we had intended to continue via Cust's Gully, but decided there wasn't enough snow and what snow there was wasn't consolidated enough. Excuses, excuses! We knew we'd have to come back to do Cust's before the winter was out.

It wasn't until Saturday, 5th March that we were both free to give it a go. Luckily, the forecast was reasonable and several snowfalls over a period of low temperatures promised potential for good condtions for snow climbing. So we met at our usual meeting place and piled into one car for the drive to Seathwaite, arriving at about 9.30.


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The tops were in cloud but there was some blue sky and it looked as if it might clear; the forecast was for improvement in the afternoon, and there was little wind, so things were quite encouraging as we set off through the farm and up the path to Stockly Bridge (again). This time we went up the Grains Gill path to get directly to the northern face of Great End. The clag began to lift off Allen Crags. :)

P1010337.JPG
The path up Grains Gill, Allen Crags above


But when we got our first view of Great End higher up we were disappointed to see the cloud lurking persistently on it.

P1010338.JPG
The crags and gullies of Great End; Central Gully prominent in middle


We made our way straight up to the bottom of Central Gully where we met another group who were contemplating doing that climb, but were undecided. The new snow was rather soft and might have posed an avalanche threat from above the amphitheatre. We went rightwards under the cliffs towards the start of Cust's, stopping at a suitable spot to get out an axe each (we had two each, just in case) and put on crampons. While we were doing this the other party, who were already geared up, had decided not to do Central but go for Cust's instead, so they came past us.

P1010341.JPG
These guys were set to do Central Gully but changed their minds and passed us as we were donning crampons


P1010340.JPG
Sprinkling Tarn from the traverse between Central and Cust's Gullies, where we stopped to put on crampons and waterproof jackets (it had just started snowing).


P1010342.JPG
Looking up towards the start of Cust's


By the time we were ready to go the others had disappeared above us. The snow was soft but compacted easily and formed good steps. Into the clag now, we caught up with the others at the foot of the gully proper.

P1010343.JPG
Approaching Cust's


Entering between the vertical walls of the gully (a wonderfully atmospheric place), it was a straightforward plod up soft snow to begin with, axe shafts driven in for security.

P1010344.JPG
Entering the gully


The famous chockstone, wedged into the top of the gully walls, loomed above.

P1010345.JPG
The chockstone becomes visible


The party ahead of us stopped underneath the chockstone, taking their rucksacks off to access their second ice axes; there was an obvious steepening of the snow above them. We followed suit.

P1010346.JPG
Under the chockstone; the snow gets steeper and becomes solid snow-ice. Everyone stops to access their second axe, including us.


When we arrived under the chockstone we were pleased to find that the steeper stuff was good, solid snow-ice. The picks of the axes drove in securely and front points of crampons bit nicely. Very satisfying stuff! :D

P1010347.JPG
Karl coming up from under the chockstone - well done mate! This was a tricky shot to take; from a front-pointing position I had to let go of both axes and twist around, turning the camera, one handed, until it pointed in the right direction.


At the top was a final steepening over a semi-cornice - almost vertical, but with such solid axe placements it was no problem.

P1010348.JPG
At the top of Cust's Gully


Emerging from the gully onto the summit slopes, visibility was very poor, but we weren't complaining. :)

P1010349.JPG
The west cairn on Great End, which according to Harvey maps is the summit.


It didn't look as if the mist was going to clear any time soon and in these whiteout conditions there wasn't much point in extending our walk on to the Pike, so we took a bearing for the col above Calf Cove and headed for Esk Hause. The weather wasn't getting any better! :? We managed to locate the cross-walls shelter and stopped for a nice long lunch. We decided to return via Sty Head just to vary the walk a bit. As we set off, visibility was appalling.

P1010350.JPG
Lunch at the shelter below Esk Hause, thick weather


P1010351.JPG
Ruddy Gill in poor visibility


P1010352.JPG
Snowing at Sprinkling Tarn


P1010353.JPG
Group at Sprinkling Tarn, just out of the clag at last


P1010355.JPG
Weather clearing nicely


At Sprinkling Tarn the clag began to clear at last.

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The Gables


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Sty Head Tarn


P1010358.JPG
Great End above the Corridor


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Piers Gill


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Sty Head Tarn again


It would have been nice to have bagged the Hewitts Ill Crag and Broad Crag, which I've been meaning to do for some time, but with the visibility as it was it would have been difficult to locate the exact summits. We were quite happy to have found Cust's in really good nick. It had been a most enjoyable climb; not difficult, but very satisfying. :D
Last edited by dav2930 on Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dav2930
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby trailmasher » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:00 pm

Some great shots of the gully there dav :clap: accompanied by a good report. Pity about the poor visibility :( but at least you achieved your goal 8)
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby Guinessman » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:37 pm

Well done dav, on that frontal shot of Great End the whole face looks in good nic
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby dav2930 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:25 pm

trailmasher wrote:Some great shots of the gully there dav :clap: accompanied by a good report. Pity about the poor visibility :( but at least you achieved your goal 8)


Guinessman wrote:Well done dav, on that frontal shot of Great End the whole face looks in good nic


Thanks guys :D
It was well worth going back for; not sure how long the face is going to stay in such good condition!
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:17 am

Looks like you had great fun, iffy weather conditions notwithstanding, and from the pix it seems a great route (at least for a winter climbing tyro like me). As you say: very atmospheric.

I think I detect a degree of consternation in Alex's face where you're taking that pic of him near the top of the gulley just after the chockstone... :D
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby ancancha » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:47 am

Nice report and photos Dav :clap:
In some ways its a shame about the clag, but then again as you say it can also add to the atmosphere; those photos going up through the steep gulley to the chockstone seem to convey the mood really well 8)
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:14 am

Great stuff Dav, there's something otherworldly about those shots up the gully, they are really great images. It looked a cracking day overall and you even got a peep at the sky later on...awesome :clap:
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby jacob » Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:04 pm

Wow for the photo of the ice and snow covered gully with the stone above your head. :shock:
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Re: Back to Great End for Cust's

Postby dav2930 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:43 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Looks like you had great fun, iffy weather conditions notwithstanding, and from the pix it seems a great route (at least for a winter climbing tyro like me). As you say: very atmospheric.

I think I detect a degree of consternation in Alex's face where you're taking that pic of him near the top of the gulley just after the chockstone... :D

Thanks Alteknacker :D
For me Cust's is one of the best grade I winter climbs in the Lakes; in good conditions there are no real difficulties, but it's line and situation give it great interest regardless of its grade. I'd thoroughly recommend it.

You know I think you're right about the consternation on 'Alex's' face (it's Karl's actually :lol: ); he probably thought I was about to fall on his head whilst taking the photo! :lol:

ancancha wrote:Nice report and photos Dav :clap:
In some ways its a shame about the clag, but then again as you say it can also add to the atmosphere; those photos going up through the steep gulley to the chockstone seem to convey the mood really well 8)

Thanks ancancha :D
Can't deny that we'd have preferred clearer weather, if only to bag Ill Crag and Broad Crag, but conditions like that do give you the feeling of looking winter directly in the eye. :wink:

ChrisW wrote:Great stuff Dav, there's something otherworldly about those shots up the gully, they are really great images. It looked a cracking day overall and you even got a peep at the sky later on...awesome :clap:

Many thanks Chris :D
Coming from a photographer of your calibre, your comments have got me well chuffed!

jacob wrote:Wow for the photo of the ice and snow covered gully with the stone above your head. :shock:

Many thanks Jacob :D
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