Approaching Cautley Spout
For those who’ve not visited before, Cautley Spout forms a delighful grade 3 ice route, not often in condition, and only a short walk from the main A-road running north from Sedbergh. As we parked up next to the Cross Keys Inn, Al Hinkes emerged from the car in front of us, along with two other climbers.
Smears of ice visible
As we neared the base it was clear that whilst it has begun to form, it was far from vintage conditions. Water was still pouring down the main central section. But there was another team ahead of us, who seemed to be negotiating their way up the left hand side.
We finally set off, dodging the spray that was raining down on us, the ice was sticky, in places complete and utter rubbish, slushy, unstable and certainly not protectable..
Spray and crud
I took the decision to climb fast and efficiently – ice screws seemed fairly pointless. I had managed to fashion an ice thread a third of the way up, but again that wouldnt hold up much.
The best line if futher right….honest!
The second short pitch was not much better, brittle ice and streams of water, again which could be outflanked on the left. From here things improved slightly, at the least the ice seemed solid, even take the off half decent screw on the final pitch.
Better ice on the upper pitches
Another few days of freezing weather should see it improve no end, but considering the amount of people who were there this afternoon I suspect it could be busy.