April in the Helvellyn range. Steph Jones with Catstyecam behind hikes up to the snowline.
What a sensational end to March. Our equal second coldest March on record in the UK, the fourth coldest on record in Cumbria, persistently sub-zero conditions on the fells and mountains and with easterly winds blowing for the most part, the first decent spell of dry weather we have had in certainly a year and possibly two.
Heavy Snow, Storm Force Winds, deep drifts, bullet-hard neve, sunshine, sublime ice and sunburn. We’ve had it all. Climbs that felt too easy, tours that felt like fights for survival and in between just some really nice days out. The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, well not this year, the few lambs that were around, were mostly sheltering in barns. Rather than get warmer, March just seemed to get colder. Pictures speak a thousand words so here goes:
Rich Bailey exits the crux pitch on No.6 Gully, Aonach Dubh, Glencoe
Steph looks back to ‘The Old Man of Coniston’
Gillian Hines on a cold and snowy round of the Coniston Fells
Short changed. Rich Bailey packs up after ‘a bit short and a bit easy ascent’ of No.6 Gully, Aonach Dubh, Glencoe. We climbed it in a day hit from Kendal.
I struggle with storm-force winds and skis acting as sails above Thirlmere. Photo courtesy of Richard Bailey.
Steph Jones and Rich Bailey soak up the sun above Kirkstone. Not just a Good Friday but a Great Friday. Easter 2013.
The hunter earns his reward. After some searching, I savour a thousand feet of continuous vertical descent from Stonycove Pike.
Steph is quickly back in the groove, linking turns on Stonycove Pike
Above Kirkstone Pass
I enjoy my lightweight Dynafit set up and alpine-like conditions above Kirkstone
Dan Shacklock and Steph Jones do battle with a late March storm
Rich Bailey and I mull over the options in search of a snowy descent. Nr Kirktsone.
Ski to Road. Steph Jones descends into Thirlmere.
Chris Jakeman savours a leisurely start on the first day of ‘British Summer Time’ on Raven Crag Gully (III / IV). We left the Car Park at 5:15pm!
Running pitches, we climb the Cold Climbs classic, Raven Crag Gully in just 2 hours. Good thing, it would be dark in one hour. It was 730pm!
Its 7:55pm. Chris Jakeman steady away on ‘possibly the finest pitch of ice in the Lake District’ as twilight fades to night.
Rich Bailey traversing the exit slopes of No.6 Gully, Aonach Dubh, Glencoe
I struggle to stay upright as windslab loads onto the leeward slopes beneath Brown Cove Crags. Photo courtesy of Richard Bailey.
Approximately 7pm on the first day of British Summer Time looking towards Skiddaw. Magical.
I’m ready to go with one relatively light ski pack. Steph is behind, taking a photo!
Steph Jones skinning towards Stonycove Pike
Little sign of spring. Low Water locked in ice.
Catstyecam (LH), Swirral Edge and Helvellyn from lower slopes of Raise.
Me en route to Raise, Catstyecam behind.
A cold and deserted car park in Thirlmere. Note how much snow lies on the relatively low slopes behind!