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Ice Cold in Langdale

Ice Cold in Langdale


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:52 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Harrison Stickle, Pavey Ark, Pike o'Stickle

Hewitts included on this walk: Harrison Stickle, Pike o' Stickle

Date walked: 13/01/2017

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[Note to readers: this walk is also covered by Beery Hiker at https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=69348. I've added my own perspective on this day - partly for anyone wants to read a different account, but mostly for the selfish reason that this is my own record, for me to read when I get too old and confused to remember what I've done! (Some would say I'm there already...)]

This was a long weekend at the excellent Holly How Youth Hotel in Coniston, tackling the Langdale Pikes on the Friday, and the Old Man of Coniston on the Saturday. After an early rendezvous at Burton-in-Kendal services on the M6, we drove on to start our walk from the National Trust car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll, which is free if you have an NT membership card (worth knowing, in light of the swinging tariff at the public car park at New Dungeon Ghyll).

Here we are at the start of the walk, just above the Old Dungeon Ghyll.

ImageIMG_2890 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Langdale was looking rather nice under crisp snow. In my mind I always liken the head of Langdale to the Breithorn and Matterhorn at the head of the Zermatt valley: on the right there is Bowfell, a pointy and photogenic peak, and here on the left, Crinkle Crags' imitation of a multi-summited Alpine monster.

ImageIMG_2888 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The peaks of Langdale rose all around into a cobalt-blue sky - ahead of us was Whitegill Crags, part of the undulating ridge that rises towards Blea Rigg.

ImageIMG_2912 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We followed the Pike How route, a well-constructed path of laid stones. The repaired paths here are a tribute to their builders and help prevent the Langdales looking like a scarred mess. Perhaps the repairs are funded by that swinging tariff I mentioned.

ImageIMG_2918 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Below us, a drumlin in the valley bottom caught the sun

ImageIMG_2916 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

While above us, the path rose towards the grand outline of Harrison Stickle.

ImageIMG_2919 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We took a breather, to admire the frowning face of Pavey Ark. Does anyone ever look at this cliff face and not try to trace the line of Jack's Rake?

ImageIMG_2929 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Soon we had a view onto the depths of the upper Dungeon Ghyll ravine. Thorn Crag is on the left.

ImageIMG_2925 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We entered the portals of the ravine, an ominous, Lord-of-the-Rings type place. There was a view ahead through the defile of Pike o'Stickle, but we were too busy looking where to put our feet to admire it fully. We'd put it off until now... bit it was definitely time to sit down and put on the crampons.

ImageIMG_2954 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Onwards, the narrow bit of the path above the Dungeon Ghyll canyon alternated between awkward steps of hard ice and gullies full of deep unstable snow... we had definitely put the crampons on at the right time!

ImageIMG_2972 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We were soon past the worst though. This is the view looking back down the ravine.

ImageIMG_2975 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Beyond the ravine we entered Harrison Combe, the strange, shallow upland hollow surrounded by the Pikes. We braced ourselves against the strong winds which were blasting towards us from the tundra-like High Raise plateau, and headed across the valley toward the odd, almost comical dome of Pike o'Stickle.

ImageIMG_2984 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A view down Pike o'Stickle's deep gully famed for its Neolithic stone axes - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langdale_axe_industry. The skyline is Wetherlam, Black Sails, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Pike o'Blisco, Dow Crag, Grey Friar and the rocky tors of Cold Pike.

ImageIMG_2995 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The final scramble to the summit of Pike o'Stickle.

ImageIMG_3000 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Bowfell from the gully near the summit.

ImageIMG_3002 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The dinky summit cairn.

ImageIMG_3017 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A brooding view of Pike o'Blisco and the Coniston Fells from the summit. Pike o'Blisco is special to me: it's the first Lakeland hill I climbed, and the first climb I did solo (before that , I had persuaded my rather reluctant father to accompany me to the top of Cnicht, and then the Glyders).

ImageIMG_3056 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking down on Loft Crag and Langdale.

ImageIMG_3059 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We then headed back into Harrison Combe under wintry skies.

ImageIMG_3065 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

After a short climb we reached the rocky summit of Harrison Stickle.

ImageIMG_3083 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The south summit gives an excellent view of Great Langdale and Windermere. A favourite early writer of mine, H. Symonds, said something like "people decry Langdale because it has no lake - they forget that it has a ten-mile long lake, if you know where to look for it."

ImageIMG_3075 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The wind at the top of Harrison Stickle was numbing - not a place to linger. We headed away from the summit, with Arctic scenes around us. The skyline here is Scafell Pike, Esk Pike (Rossett Pike below it), Great End, Allen Crags, the Gables, something that might be Robinson or Dale Head, Glaramara and the Grasmoor group.

ImageIMG_3091 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We were soon looking down on Stickle Tarn. We looked down at the route which descends direct to the tarn, but it was uninviting - steep and covered in deep soft snow.

ImageIMG_3097 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We decided to keep to the higher ground, and add Pavey Ark to our walk instead. The hinterland of Pavey Ark's summit is an undulating place of rocky knobbles and little ponds.

ImageIMG_3109 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The last little clamber to the rocky summit. High Raise and Sergeant Man can be seen on the left skyline, with Helvellyn in the clouds over to the right.

ImageIMG_3113 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Pavey Ark summit. The wind was less brutal here and we spent some time admiring the scenery.

ImageIMG_3118 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking down from the summit to Stickle Tarn.

ImageIMG_3140 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A view of the fells around Grasmere. The left-to-right skyline is Dollywaggon Pike, St. Sunday Crag, Seat Sandal, Cofa Pike and Fairfield, Hart Crag, Great Rigg and Dove Crag, with probably High Street in shadow beyond it. The prominent little ridge in the middle distance is Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.

ImageIMG_3152 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We descended down the steep ramp just behind the cliff edge, called "North Rake" by Wainwright. This turned out to be choked with deep, collapsing snow and was the hardest part of the whole day, with a number of tricky downward steps. But eventually we reached the shore of Stickle Tarn, which reflected the late afternoon sky.

ImageIMG_3180 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The stony path down to the New Dungeon Ghyll was largely iced-up, and we kept the crampons on until we were nearly back in the valley. A last look back at Harrison Stickle...

ImageIMG_3190 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

All in all, a superb winter day among some classic Lakeland scenery!


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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby Phil the Hill » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:01 pm

Nice to see Langdale in proper winter conditions.
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby Beery Hiker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:09 pm

Some great photos, and plenty of evidence that I was there...
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby jacob » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:28 pm

Wow, these are indeed very good photos. Great depth in all of them. Great report :clap:
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:44 am

jacob wrote:Wow, these are indeed very good photos. Great depth in all of them. Great report :clap:


Cheers jacob! - thanks very much

Tim
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby dav2930 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:51 pm

A really interesting report HM - that looked a fantastic day with some adventurous moments! Great photos too; the one of Bowfell through the portals of that gully is amazing, and the semi-sunset reflected in Stickle Tarn is a beauty. Well done for getting out in the snow while it lasted! :clap:
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Re: Ice Cold in Langdale

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:07 am

Stunning pics HMHT, that snow dusting really does bring the mountains to life, I can almost feel the temperature just by looking at 'em :clap: :clap:
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