Great End in amazing conditions [Ice and winter climbing]

 

Stunning conditions in the Lake District today. A perfect spring day for walking, rock climbing, or enjoying the great winter and ice climbing conditions that can still be found on the higher crags.

I met up with Will in Kendal and we headed over to Borrowdale for the walk up Grains Gill to Great End. It was a warm walk in, to say the least – definitely more like walking in to an Alpine hut, rather than a Lake District crag. We encountered firm neve from just before the final climb to the Great End basin, and then a thin but deep powder from there up to the start of the climbs.

It was busy on Great End today, but sociable and there were plenty of free lines to choose from. We soloed Custs Gully as a quick warm up, before dropping back down and climbing Window Gully with a RAF MR party and a guest appearance from a soloing Alan Hinkes!

Window Gully gave a couple of entertaining steps of good ice, but poor screws. I think Scottish II felt about right today. We finished up the right-hand icefall and a tricky entertaining mixed chimney at around III.

There were parties on most of the gully lines lines today and reports were of good conditions once you got out of the sun and in to the shelter of the gullies. Walking out, there looked to be some great ski touring options to be had at the moment and there were quite a few tracks on the slope surrounding Great End.

A great day out with some amazing views and really nice climbing. Cheers Will. There’s definitely time for some more ice and winter climbing before the spring properly sets in.

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Great End

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Custs Gully

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Window Gully, the right hand icefall finish. About III

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Amazing views from Window Gully pitch 2

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The view through ‘The Window’ itself!

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Looking back east, from Great End

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Back towards Borrowdale, from Great End

 

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