Scafell Pike winter ascent from Wasdale

This is my first blog of my newly set up website, there will be more content and changes to come so please bear with me.

In the weeks after Christmas 2016 I was eager to get out into the mountains, it had been too long, maybe two weeks! So I knew I had the weekend of 13th and 14th Jan free. The week before I did the usual kit check and monitoring the weather every day for Snowdonia and the Lakes. In the end it came down to the lakes, which was looking the best for snow conditions and a sunny day on Saturday. I'd wanted to get up Scafell Pike in snowy conditions for a while, so this was my chance, Corridor route from Wasdale it had to be.

After putting my route into view ranger on the Friday and throwing my camera, hiking gear and my DD tarp in the car I set off after work. Two and a half hours later at 8.30pm I arrived at Wasdale Head. I checked into the campsite at the pub and went and had a pint of the finest Cumbrian ale. After another ale it was time to set up the tarp in the field over the road from the pub (5 quid a night right at the base of the walk :)) The view from the site on a night like this is amazing, with a full moon in the east illuminating Kirk Fell and Great Gable.  

  

Kirk Fell and Great Gable lit up by the moon

 

It was time to set the camera on time-lapse and chill out in the Tarp, the time-lapse should be uploaded soon. After a few sups from the hip flask and a little Pink Floyd it was time for bed. Tucked up in my sleeping bag and bivvy bag I was nice and toasty and dropped off to sleep pretty quick.

I'd set my alarm for half 5 just to poke my head out and see if a sunrise time-lapse was on the cards. Sadly it wasn't so I wen't back to sleep until 9. I woke up had my Mountain House freeze dried breakfast and got my kit together into my osprey 33l day pack. Which was probably about 16kg with crampons, ice axe, tripod and camera gear, spare clothing food and water.  I set off up the Moses' Trod path up the side of Wasdale Fell to Sty Head.

The sun sinking behind the summit on the way up to Sty Head

It was a nice gentle ish walk up to Sty Head, with snow on the ground from about 400m and once you're there you're rewarded with great views in every direction (obviously weather dependent!!) Luckily the earlier cloud at sunrise had cleared and it was a lovely alpine like day although cold in the wind coming up the valley from the north. I took a few shots down towards Sty Head tarn before continuing on up the Corridor route.

Looking North down on Sty Head tarn

I hiked on with the snow getting deeper as I went up the Corridor route. The bad step mid way up was the only tricky part as even though you're going up you have to climb down about 8 meters of rock to carry on up the path, and in winter it's even trickier (google bad step corridor route and you'll see what I mean) But I got down with no problems and carried on up. 

The path onwards up the Corridor route

The climb up to the col between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike is a steep one. There was a young lad and his dad ahead of me and his son went up the steep but direct way and his dad went up the other way which wasn't as bad but still steep. I decided to follow his dad, but take a slightly different route up a snowy gully beneath Broad Crag instead of over big boulders. It was time for the crampons and ice axe to come out just to get me to the col. Once there it's a steady heavy legged 10 min walk to the summit. There were only about 6 other people on the summit that day, all crouched around the shelter from the -12 wind chill. I hunkered down by the shelter out of the wind and tucked into my food bag. The father and son were there so I had a chat with them and joked about his son flying up the direct route. It was too cold to hang around up there with the wind so I took a few photos and headed off.  

Trig point summit selfie

I headed west off the summit towards Mickledore, this is a steep little section down with a few Gully's to choose from. One was iced up totally so that was out straight away, I clambered over the rock to look down the one 10 mteres to my right, this one looked ok with some nice foot holds that weren't iced over. I lowered my self down slowly my legs burning at this point, but all was ok and I made it down fine. Before this after the summit I'd seen three lads trying to decide which way to go down as I passed them. Two went one way and the other one must have followed me as I heard him shouting his mates from the top of the iced up gully saying there's no way down. His mates who had come another way were already down behind me, so I turned and shouted to tell him to go 10 meters to his right, the hand signals we're quite comical. I'd put my left arm out facing him shouting '10 meters to your right and there's another gully' and he kept putting his left arm up to go to his left, I was shouting 'no no the other right' He eventually found it and had come down it on his bum he told me when they caught up with me. 

Only another few km to go now to the Wasdale Head Inn. As I rounded the lower end of Lingmell the sun had set and the view down Wastwater was awesone so I sat for a while and took some more shots. 

Looking down Wastwater from the lower end of LIngmell

After rounding the corner the pub comes into sight :) A short walk through the field and back up the road and I was back in the warmth of the Wasdale Head Inn, a great little base for hikers in the middle of nowhere. I checked back into the campsite and decided tonight I would treat myself to some nice hot pub grub. Hunters chicken it was and good it was too :) Few pints of Cumbrian ale and back over to set the tarp up. That night it started raining around 10 and battered it down all night, but I was nice and dry and warm with my tarp set up in a tent configuration. The next morning it was still raining so time to pack up and go home for the M'Utd v Liverpool game at 4, come on Liverpool, it was a draw!

So thanks for reading and keep your eyes peeled for my past adventures and my future ones :)