Lakes Winter Conditions

A mixed week in the Lakes this week with nice sunny days, low level snow some days, and wild winds at times…Few shots from Steve Ashworth at MovieIt on here giving an idea of current snow cover – possible climbing conditions shaping up in the Lakes now, still some issues with deep turf not being frozen and snow not being completely consolidated in places, however many steeper routes exposed to the wind were snowed up and frosted today and thin turf exposed to the wind was frozen on Gable. Whilst there was fresh accumulations of snow blown into hollows and stream beds etc there was also a lot of heavily wind scoured snow about that is hard neve up high, the walk over had a lot of hard crust that wouldn’t quite take weight which is hard work! Also super windy today, westerly by the end, more than forecast and hard to stand during some gusts with wind transported snow blasting you.In terms of the freeze-line, it felt freezing at about 700m but it was hard to gauge with the significant wind chill, the snow line around the Lakes seems to have risen today a few hundred metres above valley level.

Looking ahead, its due to start cold and then get warmer tomorrow, so maybe a route possible for early starters in the right place, then perhaps rain a bit, high up even, on Saturday and then cold into Sunday. If this sticks to forecast it could be really good for bringing a lot of the semi hard snow into better condition, hopefully its cold enough though!

Winter walking will be good, Helvellyn edges and Blencathra edges for example requiring the full winter approach, the tops today being scoured with a layer of hard ice and rocks covered in rime ice.

Skiing is meant to be great at Raise and touring will be great in places but route selection avoiding the scoured areas will be called for to find good snow, its definitely there though.

The route we climbed today was a FWA of a summer route called ‘Strike while its hot’, it is on the right hand side of Great Gables north face.  It gave some high quality technical and steep mixed climbing on a part of the crag with many possibilities for new winter routing…

Thanks to Steve at and Francis at for some great photos.   Hanging about on a rope in winter to take photos requires commitment!