It was rather wet and windy on Helvellyn today but the crags are still showing off a winter coat. The gully lines are looking complete but they need a good freeze to come into condition for climbing. A layer of fresh wind blown snow is sitting on top of an old icy layer which sheared easily when I tested it. Fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow. There are more photos on our facebook page.
Some snow has survived on Raise and looking across to Helvellyn the edges still looked in winter condition. For some photos of today please have a look at our facebook page.
I went back up to Brown Cove Crags on Helvellyn yesterday with friends Roy and Martin. The weather forecast was good and plenty of other people were out walking, climbing and skiing. We climbed a variation to Stepped Ridge taking in some steeper sections of ground to make it more interesting. The heavy snow cover is still insulating the ground meaning that some turf is not fully frozen making careful placements with axes and crampons essential.
The weather is looking warm and wet for the next couple of days but fingers crossed but a return to colder temperatures should see conditions come good again.
More than mountains are off down south for their annual Christmas break. We hope you all enjoy the holiday season and we look forward to seeing you out in the hills in the new year.
Well the forecast looked as good as it was going to get for a while so I took a walk up to Brown Cove Crags on Helvellyn this morning from Thirlmere to see how winter was progressing. It was raining as I left the car and low cloud made it difficult to see what conditions were like in the cove but I thought at least the walk would do me good.
There were a few deeper drifts around but also some more promising patches of older snow. On some slopes there are wind blown deposits sitting on the old layer which are best avoided due to the avalanche risk.
I decided to make my way up Stepped Ridge, a nice grade II scramble. It felt very wintry with ice starting to form over some of the rock in places. The turf still isn’t very well frozen as it has been insulated by all the snow. Although I couldn’t see much I could hear the voices of other climbers nearby.
Topping out onto the plateau it was quite icy and had been scoured by the wind. Crampons made for much easier travel over this. Some of the wind blown snow formations I saw at the top of the ridge were an indication of how cornices might be forming over east facing slopes.
Although today was not the most photogenic I did manage to shoot a little video at the top which you can view here.
It’s good to get back into a routine after Christmas and this week I have been doing some training with the staff from Patterdale Hall and Stuart Carter. On Thursday we headed up onto Helvellyn to check out the current conditions and have a look at moving together along Swirral Edge using a rope to protect the steeper section. On the way we dug a quick snow pit to assess the avalanche conditions and I took a quick video of Matt performing a walking rutschblock test.
On Friday we went up to Red Screes to search out some ice and yesterday I was lucky enough to do some helicopter training with the RAF and get winched out onto the summit of Bleaberry Fell!
We will be keeping the old blog online for now but will publish a few articles from there on here in the coming months, so please keep reading!
Welcome to the new More than Mountains blog for 2011. We will be updating it regularly with news, gear reviews and conditions reports from our days out on the hill. There is fresh snow outside and we are looking forward to a busy new year!