Sharp Edge in Full Winter Nick

Wainwrights: Blencathra
Hewitts: Blencathra

Date walked: 16/12/2017

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 8.2km

Ascent: 771m

It's not often that Blencathra gets a really good covering of snow, and on those rare occasions that it does, it isn't usually there for long. But the past couple of weeks have been an exception. On the morning of Saturday 9th December, Blencathra looked resplendent in its white mantle, as we drove past it on the way to Buttermere to do the High Stile ridge. 'Why don't we do Sharp Edge?', I said to Karl as I looked up at it longingly. 'I haven't got my ice axe', was the terminal reply. At the time I thought we'd probably missed a golden opportunity. Surely it couldn't stay that good for another week?

But as the week wore on it stayed cold and even more snow accumulated on the fells. And, to set the seal on it, the forecast for Saturday was very good - sunshine and light winds. So on Saturday 16th we met up in Penrith all set for a wintery jaunt up Sharp Edge and down Halls Fell. But the sky was grey, the fells were invisible and a sleety drizzle filled the air. We went in the Red Rooster Café for a coffee, just to see if things were going to improve. After about forty minutes it hadn't really improved, but we were getting bored so we decided to set off anyway. As luck would have it the sky soon started to brighten as we drove west. Blencathra was beginning to emerge from its shroud of mist, and by the time we reached Scales things looked quite promising. It was about 9.45 by the time we started walking out of the new car park near the White Horse Inn.

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On reaching the col at the top of Mousthwaite Combe, Sharp Edge was doing a sort of dance of the seven veils behind layers of mist which came and went, but was quite obviously plastered with a decent covering of snow. It looked positively alpine. The snow we walked on was frozen firm from a clear, cold night. It had been a good few years since I'd been up this way in full winter conditions, and it was to be Karl's first winter ascent of Sharp Edge.

Mist clearing from a snowy Sharp Edge, from the Mousthwaite col.

Sharp Edge looms closer

Looking back down the Glenderamackin

Scales Tarn

Sharp Edge above Scales Tarn

At the foot of Sharp Edge

View south-east over Brunt Knott

Scales Tarn

On the crest of Sharp Edge

Bannerdale Crags

Scales Tarn below

Karl on one of the flatter bits

Foule Crag from the slabby bit

Karl coming up the slab leading to the final slopes

A last view of Scales Tarn

During our traverse of the ridge and the climb up beside Foule Crag, we had been treated to blue skies, sunshine and clear views. But the summit itself, at the other end of the saddle, was shrouded in mist. It was a shame to miss the summit views.

Karl on the summit, disappointed by the absence of views.

We found a sheltered ledge just below the summit on Halls Fell and parked ourselves for refreshments. Quite a few folk were coming up the ridge.

Our way down - Halls Fell aka Narrow Edge

We didn't think we'd have to go far down to get out of the clag...

Having fun on the snowy rocks - note the tiny tot on the rope!

Down through the mist

Looking back up Halls Fell

Valley appears below the clag

...but we stayed in it right until the bottom of the rocky part of Halls Fell.

At the bottom of Narrow Edge

The sky was now completely overcast and the weather clearly on the turn. But no complaints; we'd made the most of the day and had a great time on a very satisfying winter traverse. It felt like a good start to the winter; let's hope the rest of it lives up to its early promise!

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Comments: 12

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Wainwrights: High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere)
Hewitts: High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere)
Date walked: 09/12/2017
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 994m
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Distance: 12.2km
Ascent: 971m
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Distance: 12km
Ascent: 774m
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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Hewitts: Melmerby Fell
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Distance: 14.3km
Ascent: 638m
Views: 17

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Hewitts: Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Scafell Pike
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Ascent: 1208m
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Attachment(s) Hewitts: Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa, Y Lliwedd
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Ascent: 1217m
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Location: Cumbria
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Clachaig Inn
Mountain: An Teallach
Place: Loch Coruisk
Gear: Marmot Windshirt
Ideal day out: A round of summits with some scrambling thrown in.
Ambition: Complete the Munros

Munros: 232
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 10
Donalds: 33
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 156
Sub 2000: 1

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Trips: 19
Distance: 321.3 km
Ascent: 21334m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 12
Hewitts: 53
Wainwrights 47


Trips: 27
Distance: 432.8 km
Ascent: 27445m
Munros: 25
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 5
Donalds: 12
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 28


Trips: 19
Distance: 302.6 km
Ascent: 16073m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 2
Donalds: 5
Hewitts: 18
Wainwrights 28


Trips: 13
Distance: 246.3 km
Ascent: 12584m
Munros: 10
Hewitts: 22
Wainwrights 22


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