Posts Tagged ‘powder snow’

Coniston Snow

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

After a largely snow-free start to the year, a couple of days before the January meet we were treated to some heavy snow for the Lake District. It hadn't been cold for long enough to give decent climbing conditions, but walking conditions were superb.

Saturday was cold, bright and sunny. The mountain bikers chose to take advantage of this with a long cycle through the valleys. Rob and Carmen did a snowy scramble on Coniston Old Man, finishing at the summit, where they met up with Mike, Antony, and Dave for a walk over the rest of the Coniston range to Wetherlam, returning via valley paths to Walna Scar.

I opted for a long run, the plan being to start up Coniston Old Man, cross the range before descending to Wrynose Pass, then up to Crinkle Crags and seeing how far I got before time ran out. Fantastic running conditions on the Coniston hills were replaced by deep powder snow for the ascent of Cold Pike and the continuation to Crinkle Crags, slowing me to snail's pace. A brief attempt on the Bad Step was abandoned due to chest-deep drifts, a steep slightly worrying scramble to the left reached the crest again. My original idea of continuing as far as Scafell Pike was by now abandoned due to the snow conditions, so I carried on over Bowfell before descending from Ore Gap into Eskdale and back down Moasdale to Cockley Beck.

There was still plenty of time, and the weather was still good, so rather than heading down the Duddon Valley to pick up the Walna Scar road, I decided to head back for the tops. A long slog up Grey Friar led to a second traverse of the range, this time finishing at the col above Goat's Water. Thoughts of finishing over Dow Crag were abandoned as the light began to fail so I returned from here direct to the hut. A great day, even though the running element had finished at the Three Shires Stone!

Route here

Sunday was much cloudier, but still dry. Carmen and I headed for Grasmere, where we did the Fairfield Horseshoe – unfortunately mostly in the clag. Most of the others were temporarily blocked in by Andrew's flat tyre and then Annie's car parked in the gateway, but Rob and Dave managed an afternoon ascent of Blencathra and the hills behind. Not sure what everyone else did, sorry!

More photos here
Rob's photos here