Journeys in the hills and mountains
I was able to attend the CUHWC new year trip to Seathwaite for the first time in three years. Once again we returned to High House in Seathwaite at the head of Borrowdale Valley. Although this trip has often been wet in the past (in my experience), this trip turned out to be a cold one. As we set off on Saturday morning the weather did not look like it was going to be great, but in the end we had breaks in the clouds that gave glimpses of the snow-coated fells all around.
We climbed up from Borrowdale up the flank of Glaramara, gaining the summit ridge in the mist. We continued along the ridge to Allan Crags, before descending to Esk Hause. From here we made an ascent of Great End, with the clouds parting for some great views down towards Langdale. Unfortunately, on the descent, I lost my BMC map that had served me so faithfully for over four years. Still, it did mean that someone else would get the chance to make use of it! On our descent we found several people attempting winter climbing routes on the north face of Great End; we know that at least one group was late getting back as Mountain Rescue were zooming up the valley later that evening.
Sunday morning looked great from the bunkhouse. Stuffing crampons into our rucksacks, we set off to do the standard Seathwaite round of Green and Great Gable. As we approached the summit ridge of Green Gable the snow became deeper and firmer to a point where we decided to attach crampons. These proved essential on the summit, where the wind had blasted the snow to form hard ice.
The views from Green Gable were stunning, with what I still think remains one of the best Lakeland views looking down from just off the summit into Ennerdale. The ascent from Windy Gap to Great Gable proved quite challenging, involving deep, loose snow. After much step kicking we eventually emerged on the summit. The descent proved very icy, and crampons were once again essential kit. Clearly a previous walker had left their crampons at home, and had had to cut steps in the ice heading down to Sty Head.
All in all, an excellent trip. Hopefully the dates will also work out for next year!