Helvellyn Conditions 10-12-11

Was out on Helvellyn Edges and around the Red Tarn area today running a Winter Mountaineering Course.  Today gave a great winter day again and there was plenty of snow still being blown around in the wind.  There looked to be ice forming in the usual spots on the crag and exposed turf was frozen.  The ridges were well snowed up and in great condition, the gullies however looked to be a bit of a swim and some parties turned around after a probe.  A party climbed Bladerunner and mentioned that the turf was not deeply frozen in places.

 Snow low down still
 Plenty of snow up at Red Tarn
Wind still blowing

Lots of people heading out with skis again to Raise.

The headwall was also well loaded up with snow and plenty of wind slab about, there was as much snow as I can remember at the top of Striding Edge.

 Great conditions on the Ridges
Full snow cover at the top of Striding Edge complete with cornice

Whilst people were topping out safely from routes, the snow conditions felt quite serious in places and on a range of aspects.  A block test we did on a 35 degree slope, not steep, released as a slab with only the back cut of the column being made and no pressure applied….

 Block test suggests risky layers in places
This fracture line runs around almost the whole length of the cornice on the summit plateau, probably due to the thaw on Thursday

All in all still great full on winter conditions in the Lakes with a bit of good route choice called for.