Helvellyn Range Fells

Name of walk Helvellyn Range Fells
Date of walk 2022-03-01

I have been waiting for a sunny, blue sky day with light winds, to do this walk. It would include Raise, Whiteside, Helvellyn Lower Man, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, High Crag, Dollywaggon Pike, Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal. I made an early start and parked at the lay-by on the top of Dunmail Raise. Opposite the lay-by is a bus stop. I caught the bus to the turn off for St. Johns in the Vale. I would be walking up the Sticks Pass following the route above back to my car. I planned to keep to all the edges, avoiding all the boring paths. The walk would be ten miles and take me eight hours.

01

From the bus stop I cross the road and head up past the Village Hall and Stanah Farm. The Thirlmere water leat. The ground is very frosty.

02

Stanah Gill from the bridge.

03

I'd forgotten how steep the start of the Sticks Pass was. Views over to Thirlmere.

04

Stanah Gill.

05

Great views looking over High Rigg across to Bassenthwaite Lake, Dodd, Skiddaw and Lonscale fell.

06

Stybarrow Dodd.

07

I pass the large sheep fold, the path is less steep from here, just a gentle stroll now.

08

Raise on the right.

09

View back to a great view of the fells. Grisedale Pike above the path line.

11

At the top of Sticks Pass looking north to Stybarrow Dodd.

12

I head for Raise.

13

Raise Ski Lift.

14

View to Ullswater.

15

Raise summit.

16

My route to Whiteside and Helvellyn ahead.

18

Heading up to Whiteside.

19

Whiteside summit.

20

The steep route up to Helvellyn Lower Man.

22

Views down to Thirlmere.

23

Looking across to the route over Browncove Crags from Swirls.

24

I wore spikes for this ascent. Catstycam on the right.

25

Nearly up.

26

On the top of Helvellyn Lower Man. I skirt the edge towards the Swirral Edge exit.

27

View down the Browncove Crags route from Helvellyn Lower Man summit.

29

View back to Hellvellyn Lower Man and some ravens.

31

Catsycam and Swirral Edge.

32

Looking down the exit from Swirral Edge, Red Tarn on the right.

33

Panorama. Left click to enlarge, click again to return.

35

At the moment it's just me and the ravens heading for the ordnance survey post.

36

Soon a few other people turn up and we swap cameras.

37

There are a few people about now.

38

Panorama. Left click to enlarge, click again to return. The summit shelter, and my lunch spot, is on the far right.

39

I watch two guys coming up Swirral Edge. The snow shows the routes people had taken when the snow was frozen.

41

Lots of snow in the summit shelter, I sit on the other side that has less snow and is out of the wind. I drink some coffee and chat to three guys who have stopped for a break.

42

View back to the shelter as I keep to the edge.

43

Gough Memorial at the top of the exit of Striding Edge.

44

This is as near as I went. I continue down along the edge where the best views are.

45

I keep well away from the cornice.

46

I watch the guy on the left climb up using his ice axe.

47

A close up view. The exit is steep so you need to be suitably equipped to do this in winter. I met a couple who had climbed this without ice axes or crampons, or even microspikes. They said they were terrified and so glad that they had eventually got up safely. They said they didn't know it would be like that, but the Weatherline Mountain Forecast for Helvellyn had specified the need for ice axes and spikes today for tackling the exits, so there is really no excuse for stupidity.

48

A closer view of Striding Edge and Birkhouse Moor.

49

The way ahead.

50

Last view.

51

I continue to ignore the paths and follow the edge.

53

On Nethermost Pike looking back to Helvellyn.

54

Nethermost Pike summit looking to High Crag summit.

55

The ridge from Ruthwaite Cove looking down Grisedale towards Place Fell and Ullswater.

61

Hard Tarn below. On the right is High Crag, on the left Dollywaggon Pike.

62

Looking across to Fairfield, Cofa Pike and the route up to St. Sunday Crag. This is where I was on my birthday last month. Ruthwaite Hut at the bottom left.

64

Looking over to St. Sunday Crag.

65

Heading for High Crag.

66

View back from High Crag summit cairn.

67

The route ahead towards Dollywaggon Pike.

68

The view from the summit of The Tongue on Dollywaggon Pike.

69

View back the way I have come.

71

On the left is Great Rigg and Heron Pike, on the right is my next fell, Seat Sandal. I can also see Lake Windermere, Esthwaite Water and Coniston Water.

72

View down the Grisedale Valley.

73

The fence post labelled on the OS map.

74

I head down the zig zag path to Grisedale Tarn.

75

I finish my coffee next to the tarn.

76

I cross the stones and head for the steep route up to Seat Sandal.

77

View back to Dollywaggon Pike.

79

The route up was steep scree then rock and was quite icy, being in the shade. I take a photo from near the summit before the tarn disappears from view.

81

Summit of Seat Sandal. Fairfield on the right.

82

View to Grasmere from the West Cairn. From here I take the narrow track on the right which will lead me down.

83

Following the track. A good grassy path and preferable to going down Raise Beck again, as I was up and down it last month.

85

Good views up Thirlmere.

84

The view down to Dunmail Raise. The path gets steeper here, but I'm still wearing my spikes from the route up Seat Sandal, so I won't be slipping!

86

The path winds its way down.

87

I get a good view up the Raise Beck path, nothing I can do about my shadow! I'm soon down on the flat and I head back across the undulating grass to my car in the lay-by.

88

O'er, looks like the AA Tardis has had a bumpy landing!

An excellent walk on a gorgeous day! The only downside was that from this direction I was heading into the sun all day. If I were to repeat it on a sunny day I’d park at Stanah and catch a bus to Dunmail Raise instead, walking it in reverse.

Jo.

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