Winter Walking/Climbing Meet
Members: Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Jared Kitchen, Ben Slater, Dave Wylie, Emily Thompson, George Williams, James Hall plus Chris Kastavunis (Sunday only)
Guests: Richard Applegate, Philip Hewetson
This meet was advertised as taking place on either day of the weekend to take advantage of the most promising weather forecast, which, in the end was Sunday. I managed to get last minute spots at Beetham Cottage FRCC hut at Hartsop near Patterdale and we all met there on Saturday evening.
Dave, Emily, James and George decided on striding edge and managed to get on it reasonably early enough to avoid the crowds. A swift descent of swiral edge followed. Philip decided on a longer walk to avoid the edge and crowds taking in Raise, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike and Dollywagon Pike before descending via Grizedale. Chris arrived a little later and he passed Andy and Jim on their way down Striding edge.
Jared, Richard and Ben drove to Thirlspot and had a swift walk up to Brown Cove Crags and an ascent of Right Buttress Crack (III).
Andy and Jim were away early to walk up Grisedale, away from the crowds into remote Ruthwaite Cove. It was a glorious walk in superstill alpine conditions. We even had an alpenglow on the coves just after 8am. We overtook just one other pair of walkers and arrived at the back of the cove under the classic Jogebar Gully (III) around 10am. This is located in what is described in the guidebook as the obvious line splitting the south east side of Nethermost Pike. It actually faces East but from temperatures on the way up and the snow pack we were on in the cove it was pretty clear the turf wouldn’t be frozen and as can be seen from the photos the climbing relies on turf. We solo’d up for a closer look to check, then returned to the sacs for lunch, tea and a quiet half hour in the most glorious deserted spot, with the odd walker appearing on the skyline. Eventually we solo’d an unamed Grade I gully to the right of Jogebar and topped out almost on the summit of Nethermost Pike, with superb views back down into the coves and the amazing location of tiny Hard Tarn. Through clear air visibility was sharp and extensive had brought out the crowds with at least fifty or sixty folk on the top of Helvellyn. We ambled over, and looked over the headwall above Gullys 1 and 2 to see literally two dozen teams of climbers in a spiders web of ropes all seemingly climbing on top of one another on the few routes....not a place we would have wanted to be, and although our route wasn’t in, crowding like that was definitely not on our agenda! We made a swift descent of striding edge then the Mires beck route. A quick change at the hut and we were back in Mossley for dinner by 6pm.
A Grand day out!