Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The early bird catches the worm (snow)

I've have been eagerly waiting for the snow to arrive in the Lakes along with everyone else. On Friday there was lots of Internet chatter about the great conditions, and with a good weather forecast finally winter was here.

Start of the walk in with Stuart

Toby's selfie

Looking back down to Glenridding
Originally I thought about getting up at 5am, and trying to get on the tops with my ski's for sunrise, but when Rachael could suddenly come out to play too she persuaded me that this was too early and instead we aimed to get to Patterdale at 8am ish (perfect).

Toby coming up

Looking to Ullswater
We weren't the first out by a long shot, and as we were sorting out the gear at Rachael's van a fellow skier walked past also heading up the Greenside Road in the vague direction of Raise/Helvellyn. I recognised him even though we had never met, it was Toby who used to live in Finland and I'd stumbled upon his blog a few years back (what are the chances)! He's driven up for the day from Sheffield with his nordic ski's - now that's an early start.

Back to work!

Heading to Stybarrow Dodd
We joined forces and all headed off together along with Alfie the dog. Almost immediately we got stopped on the track and kindly bundled into the back of Stu's 4x4 camper van to get a lift to the mines and end of the road - saving us a 30 min trudge.

Here comes Toby

Toby telemarking

Stu helps to operate/run the ski run/lift on Raise. I've always wanted to go up and see what its like. From the mines, end of the road we had to carry ski's for 30-40mins, before we could get them on and skin over to Glencoyne Head. Have I said it was amazing weather, and even though we could see a few people around we had the whole of White Stones and Stybarrow Dodd to ourselves on our way up.

Rachael showing how its done

chit chat on the way up to Raise
We toured across and down to Sticks Pass, then skinned up to the top of Raise. It started to get busier with people here (lots of skiers and walkers). The walkers were struggling with the deep drifts of snow. Toby continued on to the top of Helvellyn, and Rachael went part way with him.

Top of the button tow (just to prove it exists) 
I wanted to check out the Lake District Ski Club, so dropped down to this. A ski tow and small hut that's a 60-90 minute walk to, quirky but brilliant - ?only in the UK. The snow on its 'runs/pistes' was variable, but consistent on President Run, so I joined the club and had 7-8 runs on this whilst waiting for Rachael and Alfie to show up.

think its this way....

Made it (nearly)!
The weather was deteriorating when Rachael arrived, flat light and snow starting to fall, so Rachael quickly had a run on the piste and we scrambled to put the skins back on and headed back up to Raise. From the top we skied South and started to drop in to Keppel Cove. Here we bumped into Toby again and all headed out together. It was a challenging end to the day, with poor light, a blizzard starting and poor heavy/crusty snow. With me falling lots we survival skied our way down eventually taking the ski's off for the final 1km walk back to the mines. What an amazing day out in the Lakes!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Langdale - in search of snow

The forecast looked promising for today, with winter conditions forecast. It was difficult to decide what to do because various Internet sources suggested that skiing in the Lakes may be possible with the ski tow on Raise planning to open.....

Plenty of water and not much snow!
But... after scrutinising the various weather forecasts and seeing pictures on the web skiing looked highly unlikely, and even if enough snow was found I doubt very much that the sliding would be worth it. It definitely looked like a walking day.

We headed to Langdale, originally planning to walk over Pike of Blisco and Crinkle Crags, but after experiencing torrential rain on the drive over, seeing the Langdale higher tops in cloud and noting the high winds in the car park an alternative plan was quickly hatched (and ice axes abandoned - too mild)

Finally found a little (wet) snow

Harrison Stickle

Starting at Stickle Barn we headed up to Stickle Tarn in rain and then heavy hail showers (wishing I had waterproof trousers!). At the Tarn we decided against Jack's Rake with Alfie (the dog), because he still pulls a lot on a lead and this coupled with the slippy rock may not have been much fun today.

Someone on the top of Pike of Stickle

Instead we followed Bright Beck and popped up onto Pavey Ark (and the snow line) at about 700m. There was a little snow at this level, but it was very wet (thawing, saturated ground), I'd expected a lot more, and frozen terrain at this level.

Heading down from Stake Pass
We quickly walked over Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle and nearly got blown over a couple of times by the ferocious gusts of wind. After a brief refuel we continued to Stake Pass and then down and back along Mickleden - thankfully out of the wind at this stage.

Love this valley

It was great to bump into Neil, Tanya and George and have a chin wag in the Old Dungeon Ghyll when we stopped for a quick cup of tea (January detox!). Fun day.