Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Stunning day on Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Swirral Edge - 17th February 2014.

Gearing up for Striding Edge with the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team for company at the Hole in the Wall. The world and his dog (literally), seemed to be out today after weeks of poor weather. (Ok for you guide types that can get out during the week!).  

It was a bit murky at first on the ridge, sadly, but it started to improve as we got past the small chimney, downclimb and then up onto Helvellyn.

The snow on the ridge was mostly good. There was a little softer stuff as we made our way up through the baby cornice onto the summit of Helvellyn. 

As the sun came through, we could the masses behind us on Striding Edge.

Jon going through his first (small) cornice!

The reward was stunning 360 degree views like this of Ullswater. 

And this looking across the plateau over to Dollywagon Pike.

Willy and Jon, and loads of others, at the almost buried summit shelter on Helvellyn. Having spoken to a few folk, we got the impression that the snow in the gullies wasn't all that good yet, and there were some big-ish cornices. So we opted not to climb any. However, later we did see teams going up, all unroped, so maybe it was okay, or they were lucky?  

Willy and Jon, carefully descending a snowy Swirral Edge. We did see folks with just those little spike things you get for icey paths, some with no crampons (foolhardy or skillful?), and a few with trainers. 

A very alpine looking Swirral Edge.

Some big cornices on the northern side of Swirral Edge overlooking Brown Cove.

Spindrift making for a very atmospheric descent of Swirral Edge.

Looking back at Helvellyn summmit and Swirral Edge from the path up to Catseye Cam.

Looking down from Catseye Cam onto a frozen Red Tarn and Striding Edge.

People silhouetted on Striding Edge against the late afternoon sun.

For a little extra sport, as we didn't do any actual climbing, we crossed back over to Striding Edge, via Red Tarn, and headed for some slightly steeper ground below the ridge.   

This gave Jon (and us) a brief chance to go up through some easy mixed ground onto the ridge.

Willy, waiting for Jon to top out on the ridge. 

A last chance for photos back at the Hole in the Wall, before descending back into Patterdale.

HD Video of our day, with some top tunes from The Black Keys !

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Scottish winter conditions - Turned back on the Tarmachan Ridge, 9th February 2014.

The promising weather over Ben Lawers wasn't set to last, but at least we got a view of something as we left the top car park on the Lawers road.
Looking up at the dam wall of Lochan na Lairige.
Having already stopped at the ruined quarry hut on the track in and geared up for the wild weather, it was time to stop and make some adjustments!
The deep snow and flat light made it hard work navigating our way north west up to the bealach, west of Beinn nan Eachan. The weather teased us with occaisional glimpes of the ridge ahead and the (false) promise of better weather.
However when we got there, we felt the full force of the wind and took shelter behind a snow drift to get a drink and some food.
Jon and Ruth, "enjoying" the full Scottish winter experience!
Willy and Jon posing in a break in the weather. Prior to this, we had turned east on the ridge and started to make our way over Beinn nan Eachan. However the visibilty dropped to maybe ten, twenty meters, and the wind was just about enough to take you off your feet. After a brief discussion, we about turned and retraced our, now filling in, steps back to the quarry.

Again, the weather teased us as we descended, with a brief glimpse of what might have been! Back at the quarry, we sheltered from the wind and snow, before haeading back to the cars. On the way though, we met two mountain rescue folks who were out on (sensibly!)snow shoes. They told us they were heading up to revisit the site of avalanche from the day before, where a walker had been caught.