A new year around Grisedale

The start of a new fell running year. And the first decent day in weeks and weeks. Saturated, soggy ground replaced by frozen, firm ground and on the high fells, snow.

It was a frosty start as we left Glenridding shortly after 10am. There were only a few other folk milling about, no doubt some nursing hangovers from the night before. Our run would take us up and over St. Sunday Crag before dropping down to Grisedale Tarn and then climbing once again up and around Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike before reaching Helvellyn.

Conditions today were essentially good. Some water ice between about 350 metres and 600 metres, and above this varying amounts of snow. Above 700 metres a good cover of firm and well consolidated snow was found. Some unsolidated windslab was beginning to form in places and cornices were beginning to build on the East face of Helvellyn.

Once above the aptly named Cold Cove on St. Sunday Crag it felt desperately cold, a strong wind was blowing and picking a line through the fresh but firm snow was at times hard going. Luckily the snow that has fallen, fell in relatively mild conditions and following the freeze overnight it was well consolidated, just the odd patch of windslab providing some breakable crust.

Descending down from Deepdale Hause, we dropped temporarily below the snowline as we skirted around Grisedale Tarn before climbing once again up towards Dollywagon Pike. Straightforward going along the main ridge line until Helvellyn itself where the wind really picked up, hurling graupel into our faces as we hastily made our way to the top of Swirral Edge. Firm yet soft snow made for a rapid and hugely enjoyable descent.


Looking up Grisedale towards Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike

St. Sunday Crag in the Lake District

Me nearing the summit of St. Sunday Crag

St. Sunday Crag in the Lake District

Catystycam is the white peak on the skyline – Seren looking happier than I

Fairfield and St. Sunday Crag

Looking across to Fairfield from St. Sunday Crag

Dollywagon Pike

Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike from Deepdale Hause

Helvellyn in winter

Wild and very cold conditions on Helvellyn

East face of Helvellyn

Looking back to the East face of Helvellyn from near Red Tarn

Swirral Edge on Helvellyn

Blurry because I’d just been blown over! Descending below Swirral Edge



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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