Helvellyn in Snow from Swirls

Name of walk Helvellyn in Snow from Swirls
Date of walk 2013-01-16
Distance walked (miles) 7
Duration of walk 6 hours 30 minutes
Weather Sunshine then hill fog
Peaks on walk Helvellyn
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Lay-by just down from the paying car park

Yesterday Ged, Kas and I drove to the free lay-by below Swirls to climb Helvellyn Lower Man and Helvellyn (3118ft) via Browncove Crags. We would then come back via Wythburn and the forest track. A walk of 7 miles. I wanted to make the most of my day off and spend some time up in the snow.

01

We stopped off at the Straining Well to take a photo of the reflections on Thirlmere. Panorama looking towards Steel Fell.......

02

Looking north.....

03

Browncove Crags up in the clouds.....

04

Panorama looking at Thirmere from the route up......

05

Super views over to Skiddaw.....

06

Great Gable.......

07

As we climbed the low cloud was heading in our direction.......

08

Still great views to the western fells.......

09

Heading up Browncove Crags. It is steep here, but we have to go off path as the drift is too deep...

10

A few minutes after I took this picture we were shrouded in cloud and the views were no more!

11

We meet a couple of climbers in hard hats who had just finished climbing up Browncove Crags with ropes. We came the walkable way up! They took our photo when the cloud cleared a little.....

12

The climbers behind us as we made our way up to Helvellyn Lower Man.....

13

Helvellyn Lower Man with no view!

14

The climbers at the ordnance survey column......

15

A brief moment of sunshine. Blind Kas is on a lead to keep him away from the dangerous cornice.....

16

Suddenly the summit clears momentarily and I take a photo of the cornice leading to the summit. Still no views down to Striding Edge and Red Tarn.....

17

The cloud quickly returns. We have lunch in the shelter. The climbers head for Striding Edge.....

18

The temperature was -4.4C with a wind chill of -13C so we didn`t stay too long in the shelter. We headed in the direction of the way to Wythburn. Visibility was poor!

19

Soon we emerged beneath the clouds. Kas leads the way. Again we had to keep off path as there were thigh deep drifts in places.....

20

A view to Thirlmere.....

21

We were the first to come this way so we had to chose our route carefully through the virgin snow. We are heading for the rocks to the left of Ged's head....

22

Wythburn Valley ahead, Ullscarf on the right.....

23

Looking back the way we came into the cloud. Two lots of couples were following our footprints .....

24

The viewpoint cairn next to the rocky section. We avoided this section as the snow would be far too deep. We headed off left.....

25

We stopped at our usual lunch spot just before the start of the pitched path for lunch, part two. A great view down Thirlmere , a lot warmer too....

26

While we were here the cloud shifted and Helvellyn was now in clear blue skies.....£$%&!!!!!!!! Even Kas looks a bit miffed!

27

Pitched path? What pitched path? It was a snow slide. I was mightily impressed with Ged's triple salchows. I scored him highly for artistic impression!

28

Ged reaching the bottom of another snow slide.....

29

Finally we reached the forest track back to Swirls. I was on the look out for the secluded mountain bothy hidden up in the trees........

30

Ta da! I see it has air conditioning! It used to be a gunpowder hut.....hence the seclusion.....

31

All mod cons!

32

A great position! But more of a summer residence, I think!

33

We head back down from the bothy to the forest track. This time we take the left hand route back. A lot easier than the right side in snow!

34

View down to the Straining Well where we stopped this morning....

35

Final view back to Browncove Crags, still in blue sky......

The walk took us six and a half hours. A good day, just a pity we missed out on the extensive summit views.

Andrew Leaney went up today too, he was about 40 minutes ahead of us.

His pix show the summit views:
http://www.leaney.org/lake_district_walk.php?walk_id=1068

Jo.

I hope Bill in 40C Melbourne now feels suitably chilled!

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