>Hart Crag Icefalls

>An earlyish start saw us meeting up with Dan & Fel at the foot of Deepdale around 7am. I don’t think Dan had quite thought I would get up that early and was hoping to have at least 20 minutes to sort his kit out before we arrived but, the forecast favoured the early bird and so we were ready to start walking in by the time he and Fel had arrived. Our aim being to head up towards Hart Crag, giving us the option to see if Black Crag Icefall was still in condition also.

The temperature was hovering just above zero, as left the valley and began the gentle plod over Hartsop Above How. AT first glance we thought Black Crag Icefall might just about been in condition, we a quick detour to the foot of the crag revealed it was well and truly passed its best and would have to wait for another day.

Luckily all of the cirque of crags of Fairfield were still looking wintry enough and Link Cove itself was still holding plentiful amounts of snow and if there was snow on the Kirkstone Pass, there was sure to be plenty of ice in the cove.

Steph started soloing up a moderately easy ice-ramp and I followed up, something was not quite right i was sure but kept going upwards and then bang, the toe-bail of my crampon popped away from the crampon itself and i was left standing on just one crampon. Fxxx-a-doodle-doo i thought, desperately attemtping to cut a ledge for my right foot to stand on. Thankfully it was not too steep and i was able to make a couple of moves to reach some softer snow-ice where I could keep in a small platform and wait for someone to run a rope down to me!

So after that unpromising start and as it started to snow lightly, we all made our way up to the base of juicy looking icefall. Got a little cold waiting for Dan to head up before attacking the ice, but worth the wait. Nice sticky water ice, screws were generally ok and deep and a nice move twisting under the small chandeliers before getting established on the small face, Grade 3 to 4 i would say.

From here it was endless daggering up moderate snow-ice for another 85 metres before topping out into the pea soup mist.
On the way down we spied some small snow-fields, perfect for Fel to learn some self arrest techniques, and so spent half an hour throwing ourselves down the slopes, an enjoyable way to end an even better day.


About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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