Ice & winter climbing: Window Gully, Great End

 

Today we headed to Great End, planning on climbing the classic Cold Climbs grade IV Left Hand Groove. Unfortunately this, and most of the rest of the crag had suffered a fair at the hands of the thaw, so we climbed Window Gully at III with the steep right hand icefall finish. Central Gully is fairly bare and full of sugary snow, but Left Branch is still in good condition.

Lower down on Window Gully ice is not well bonded to the rock, but higher up it’s solid and giving good climbing. We descended Custs Gully, which was fine higher up but made up of soft, deep, unhelpful slush lower down. A great day on the fells.

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Topping out on Window Gully (III)

 

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Great End

 

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The Custs Gully (I) descent

 

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Belay rigging

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Ice & winter climbing: Helvellyn’s east face

 

William joined us today for the first of 3 days of Lakes winter climbing. We headed onto Helvellyn’s NE face and climbed a great ice and gully line at around III. Despite the thaw, there is still plenty of ice on the headwall, although some screws aren’t that inspiring. Turf is either frozen, or mushy and the rocks are black. Snow on the exit slopes is sugary, but reasonably well consolidated where exposed. Hopefully it will get cool tonight to delay any further stripping of the Lakes winter.

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The last pitch

 

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Descending Swirral Edge

 

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Winter climbing on Helvellyn’s east face

 

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Winter climbing on Helvellyn’s east face

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Winter skills course: amazing conditions on Helvellyn

 

Wow, fantastic alpine weather in the Lakes today! John joined us for a day of winter skills training. We headed into Red Tarn Cove, where we looked at movement on snow, step cutting, ice axe work and crampon skills, before putting it all to good use by taking ‘2 Gully’ to the summit and descending Swirral Edge.

Lots of bomb hard neve on the east face today, courtesy of the recent northerly winds, but southerly aspects were suffering from easily triggerable slab. Lots of teams out today on V Corner, 3 Gully, Wall and Ramp ad everything in between.

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John on Gully 2

 

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Helvellyn’s east face in great condition

 

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Amazing sunset at the end of an amazing day

 

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Raised footprints indicate wind blown snow & a potential increased avalanche risk

 

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Winter mountaineering: the Mamores

 

A great day in the Mamores winter mountaineering. Sgurr a Mhaim, Devils Ridge, Sgurr an lubhair & Stob Ban. Blue sky conditions, snow level around 600m, some good neve at height & not much sign of the Cat 3 forecast, even in sheltered locations. Smiths, Thompsons Route & Point 5 all climbed today on the Ben.

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Ice & winter climbing: Patey’s Route, Sneachda

 

Great day in Sneachda winter climbing. Patey’s Route, IV 5. Good nick but crux mixed bulge definitely harder than tech 5 today with little build up. Windward slopes scoured but gullies and sheltered lines in good condition. Teams on the Message, Haston Line and Aladin’s Mirror Direct which looked good today.

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Patey’s Route (IV 5)

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