The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lakes today

Sunny weather here in the Lakes today.

The warmer weather that passed through Friday afternoon/evening continued over the weekend, with heavy rain Saturday night all at levels.

As the clouds cleared on Sunday it was obvious that a lot of the snow had been striped.

Lovely sunny weather here today & still a lot of warmth in the sun - I know of some people out rock climbing today & making the most of it!

It's forecast to get colder this week, which will freeze the turf again & start building up some more ice........ but we need some snow build up to give us some more great mixed conditions..........

Today in Langdale -

Lake Windermere & the Langdale pikes

Langdale Pikes

Top of Great Langdale - with the Band in the centre, The Crinkles on the left & Bowfell in the cloud on the right

Looking back up Great Langdale with Harrison Stickle on the right

Looking across Lake Windermere & over to the Old Man of Coniston........

As you can see a lot of snow's been striped from the hills, although high up some of the easier gullies may still be in condition eg Great End, Helvelyn, Dollywagon........

Safe climbing


Friday, 7 December 2012

Great Lakes winter conditions

Great Lakes, winter conditions again today.

We headed back into the Eastern Fells today & climbed a great new mixed route which is the obvious central feature of the crag.

It was a fantastic line & was in great winter mixed condition.

Strong westerly winds, cold temperatures & heavy snow last night had blasted the crag leaving in places a thin layer of firm snow on the otherwise featureless smooth rock. Ice had formed in the thin, seam like cracks which offered little protection & difficult tool placements. The blasted on snow did however help with some otherwise very difficult & tenuous foot placements & in places crucial pick placements

Great climbing

Me low down on the route today

Awkward & strenuous mixed climbing low down

Me enjoying the steep lower section of the route today

Great climbing but hard won pick placements & protection, which was difficult to find in the thin shallow seams

Me enjoying a relative rest half way up the new mixed route I climbed today

A fantastic line & great mixed climbing - 60m
We graded the route an overall grade of 7 with a technical grade of 7

You've got to just love the Lakes!

Safe climbing


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Mixed action in the Lakes & conditions

Winter's arrived!

It's been super cold here in the Lakes this past week & now there's a good amount of snow in the hills.

We headed out into the Eastern Fells today & had a great day climbing a superb new mixed line on a crag I discovered last winter.

Dean leading the initial corner/groove

Dean working up into the steeper upper section

The pitch had good frozen turf where you needed it, steep cracks which at times you could hook into & at other times trust a shallow placement in frozen turf deep inside the cracks, torquing......& all requiring good footwork, as it's steep & the rock is smooth & featureless outside of the cracks & turf sections, so quite balancy & delicate  at times............. a great line.

Steep & awkward mixed climbing through the upper cracks

A great line & new route today - grade 5/6, 60m

A mixed bag of weather today though - low cloud, light winds & snowing a little in the early part of the morning, which quickly turned to heavy snow & strong winds by mid-morning which then lasted for the rest of the day, bringing the snow levels down to the valley bottoms.

As we descended there was a rapid rise in temperature & the snow at around 400m was turning to rain & the ground under foot was quickly thawing. Back at the car it was 4 degrees & raining heavily.

Its been persistent heavy rain here in Kendal all evening.

A word of caution guys!

A climber triggered & was caught up in a wind slab avalanche today on a North Easterly slope!

He was one of a team of 3 that had walked up the Band in Great Langdale & was traversing North West from the Band towards the Bowfell Buttress & Flat Crags areas. It's a traverse that climbers take to access many of the routes in that area, but it does traverse across some steep & craggy ground, crossing numerous gulley's as it contours the hillside.

The strong winds over the past few days, have blown in a substantial amount of snow on this aspect of slope and at this altitude.

The wind blown snow had formed into wind slab sitting on a hard & icy surface/layer below - the climber weighted the wind slab by walking across it, triggering the slab avalanche which hadn't bonded to the layer below.

The warmer temperatures will help conditions if it rises above the summits & penetrates the snow pack, helping with the bonding of layers, but every area will be different, so take care.

Interestingly the forecast had talked about snow accumulations on South & South Easterly slopes with  the danger of slab avalanches....!!!

So from today it's obvious that the winds have been swirling around & loading a number of different aspects of take care.

Safe climbing