Lake District Winter Climbing Conditions – Blog

Dave and Rich head into Link Cove whilst Kev and Kasia head up to Great End.

Rich on Pinnacle Ridge

Rich enjoying easy ground, we were in whiteout for most of the day.

Link Cove

It was always going to be risky on a 4 degree C forecast, but as ever with a bit of effort and a willingness to walk away results in a great day out. We headed over to Patterdale to have a look at Scrubby Crag which we thought would be high enough to provide some sport, a steady drizzle and no drop in temperature meant a wet walk in.

Looking over to Link Cove Icefallsthey looked very black and running and Black Crag looked, well black.  Greenhow End looked more promising so up we trogged into steadily deeper but soft snow. On closer inspection of Step Gully the ice was formed and the route looked complete but there was a sizable gap between the ice and the rock: too risky for us! But both icefalls look great and with another cold snap will come straight back into condition.

Rich on Pinnacle Belay

Rich looking forward to some decent snow and turf after an exciting first pitch.

We then contoured around and into Link Cove and followed footprints to Scrubby – promising! These led into a fully formed Gully, we had done this a couple of years back only to top out to a full on Sea King helicopter rescue – very surreal so Pinnacle Ridge became the objective. This was very snowy and the soft turf meant much excitement was to be found, much more so when we quickly found ourselves off route and in a desperate, smooth rock groove. Much thrutching and grunting saw us up this and onto the ridge proper. The snow and turf improved at about 650m and the top two pitches were very nice indeed. A team of two seem to be having and fine and dandy time in the Gully which should improve with todays snow and a good freeze. Other than that we had the crag to ourselves. No other routes looked in and the wall looked black.

So a great day of fun and excitement and much better than brutalising ourselves in The Works (which was our back up plan) and as ever it’s worth the walk in for a look around because you just never know and one thing’s for sure you’re fitter than when you were before you started!

Great End

Whilst Dave and Rich enjoyed Link Cove, Kev and Kasia headed up to check out the classic gully ice on Great End. Upon arrival at the parking area it was pretty obvious that the 600m freezing level was going to be a bit off the marking and freezing level was more likely above the tops. The warm and sweaty walk in confirmed this!

Great End 9th February 2012

Great End 9th February 2013

Upon arriving at the crag the buttresses were black and the vegetation soft. With this in mind we opted for the classic Central Gully, Left Branch a lovely grade III. Snow was a little soft but the route was stepped out and on the ice sections, the ice was solid and chewy. Kasia lead the main icefall pitch which was great ice until the cruddy topout. A lovely route and well worth the walk 🙂

Central Gully Left Branch, Great End, Lake District. Kasia leading the grade III crux pitch on Saturday February 9th 2013.

Central Gully Left Branch, Great End, Lake District. Kasia leading the grade III crux pitch on Saturday February 9th 2013.

It looks like we’re in for a bit for a bit of a thaw over the next few days but hopefully it won’t last too long and we can get out again soon.

  • If you are a winter climber and you’re considering which routes to choose, it is worth considering some of the environmental issues hilighted here by the BMC.
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