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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

A winters day on the roof of England

A winters day on the roof of England


Postby Guinessman » Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:14 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great End, Scafell Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Great End, Scafell Pike

Date walked: 25/11/2016

Time taken: 7

Ascent: 1095m

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Brilliant winters day in the Lakes yesterday Friday 25/11. Early start from home and I was at Seathwaite for 9am. It was a change from the summer days with only 4 other cars there.The car clock temp read -5 parking up and the wind was zero. The snow level was around 1500 feet. Perfect for a winters day. It was only my second time out in a month since munro compleation and time to get back into it.
Took the valley path along to Stockley bridge and started up the path towards Styhead tarn. The path was icy in places and where there had been standing water it was frozen over and impossible to walk on. Got up to Styhead in the usual time of 1 hour and took a break at the stretcher box. I had been intending to go via the corridor route but looking at the NE shoulder of Great End and the snow levels I thought I would go directly up that. Its around 1300 feet of ascent and would be snow work all the way. The first sections are easy gradient and you come to a area where you cross to the steeper section. I had been this way in the summer and wasn't worried by the angle of ascent. The snow was good enough for foot placement and I got the ice axe just for the run off. Its a case of getting on with it and I was on the top by 11.30, 1 1/4 hours for the shoulder taking another break and then wandering across to central gully, a route I hadn't been on since my younger days.

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Crossed over from Great End and took the path over Broad crag before dropping down and ascending Scafell Pike getting there at 1pm. After a further break put the crampons as I was going down to the corridor route and I knew that the northern slopes get no winter sun at all and there are several areas where the snow can bank up particularly at the top of Piers Gill. Dropped down to Lingmell col and got to the top of Piers gill. On the way down I had seen footprints by-passing this section. As I got to the top of the gill I could see that snow was banked up and that nobody had been across. I walked across to inspect but the snow was rock hard and such was the angle of the banking I wasn't keen to cross as it puts you at an odd angle and there is a 40 foot drop into the gill so I took the by -pass by climbing around the crag and dropping down onto the path. I continued on and approached the "bad step". I could see that it was plastered with ice so decided to by-pass this as well by going up a snow covered spur from the stream before the rock band that leads to the "bad step" and then dropping down and continuing to Styhead and removing the crampons. From there it was a case of negotiating the icy path back down to the car.
A brilliant day, quite early in the year for having crampons on. Did around 9 miles in about 7 hours

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Guinessman
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1073
Munros:282   Corbetts:51
Grahams:27   Donalds:89
Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:13
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby dav2930 » Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:34 pm

Nice one GM, great day for it. Cracking photos there. I see you did Great End by the Band, which you mentioned wanting to do some time back - well done :clap: It's been an amazing spell of fine, crisp weather this week, preserving that early dump of snow; quite a rarity.
I was on Blencathra today, very nice too. :D
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dav2930
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Location: Cumbria

Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby rickmanchester » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:07 pm

Fantastic shots. Think I may head to the lakes tomorrow. Where is the current snow line? Was thinking of doing Helvellyn but I don't have crampons or ice axes. I'm guessing attempting striding edge may be a bad choice if it's still snowy?
rickmanchester
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Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby trailmasher » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:34 pm

Spot on GM, great walk, great report, great photos :clap: and what a great day you had for it :D couldn't have been better 8)
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trailmasher
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Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby arjh » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:36 pm

rickmanchester wrote:Fantastic shots. Think I may head to the lakes tomorrow. Where is the current snow line? Was thinking of doing Helvellyn but I don't have crampons or ice axes. I'm guessing attempting striding edge may be a bad choice if it's still snowy?


Judging from the penultimate photo above, relative to the position of the Napes/Beck Head the snowline looks to be somewhere around 450-500m.

Three walkers got avalanched on Skiddaw on Wednesday, its proper conditions up there and winter kit should be carried even if you end up not using it.
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arjh
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Location: Sussex

Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby Guinessman » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:16 pm

dav2930 wrote:Nice one GM, great day for it. Cracking photos there. I see you did Great End by the Band, which you mentioned wanting to do some time back - well done :clap: It's been an amazing spell of fine, crisp weather this week, preserving that early dump of snow; quite a rarity.
I was on Blencathra today, very nice too. :D


Thanks Dav. The weather has been perfect. I had the chance to stop over but came home. After looking at the forecast I bet you had a great day too.

rickmanchester wrote:Fantastic shots. Think I may head to the lakes tomorrow. Where is the current snow line? Was thinking of doing Helvellyn but I don't have crampons or ice axes. I'm guessing attempting striding edge may be a bad choice if it's still snowy?


The snow line is around 1500 feet. In the sun its fairly soft but in the shade is crisp and icy in places. In my opinion Striding edge would be a bad choice. If you want to do Helvellyn do a walking route. There's plenty of choice, Sticks pass, Zig zag, Thirlmere or Dolloywagon/ Nethermost


trailmasher wrote:Spot on GM, great walk, great report, great photos :clap: and what a great day you had for it :D couldn't have been better 8)


Thanks for that.
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Guinessman
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Posts: 1073
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Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: A winters day on the roof of England

Postby ChrisW » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:37 am

Some cracking images of a fine wander Guinnessman. Picture perfect hills and no surprise to see so much snow in the gully, perfect timing I'd say :clap:
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ChrisW
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