01 February 2012

3 wainwrights, 2 ridges, 1 cheese & onion pastie

the trouble with getting what you wish for is, it often leaves you hungry for more. after saturdays local snow show i needed something extra. something steeper, something higher, something with a little bit of added excitement. something like a winter ridge, an elevated crest running from peak to peak. wainwright describes striding edge as a "succession of jagged fangs ending in a black tower", with a sprinkling of the white stuff this was exactly what i was yearning for.
a late night preceded the early start but reaching helvellyn's plateau catching the last of the sunrise was worth it. supping a brew and contemplating swirral edge while the thick cloud in the distance squashed the sun into a dirty orange streak across the horizon. i wish all days could start like this. spikes on, probably a bit over cautious but suddenly i felt very alone. slowly i made my way down helvellyn's northern arm. pausing every few steps to take in the view and take in a deep breath.

the cold air was still and the heavy silence punctuated only by steel scraping on rock. looking around i couldn't believe that just 5 hours ago i was tucked up in bed. this was the stuff my dreams are made of.
at last
circling red tarn the full bulky mass of helvellyn comes into view. this is certainly its best side and like all good things it takes a little more effort to get. this might be the reason i love winter so much, views and hill tops are hard earned but the gains are immeasurably greater. everything looks more beautiful in the snow. everything.

counting striding edge's jagged fangs i knew what was coming. the final rocky tower is negotiated down a steep little chimney gully. a little more exposed than i remember from our summer outing but over all too quickly. just a short bank of ice to gain the top once more. lunch was had in white out conditions. the day just kept getting better and better.
striding edge exit/entry
a short stroll with map and compass in hand over to dollywaggon got me warm again. the snow was deep enough to run/slide straight down to grisedale tarn. another brew stop, another view stop. savouring the snow before the final descent back to the car, a cheese and onion pastie and a tired drive home.
striding edge #2


simondbarnes said...

Wow, good work :)

Derby Tup said...

Looks a stunning outing :-)

Ian W Charters said...

Great day out!

kate said...

simon- was defo worth the drive!

derby tup- stunning and a tad cold :)

ian- it was, wish every day could be like that.

Stu Stod said...

Good to see/read you having one of them brilliant days in the hills Kate.
Cheese pastie finishes the day off nicely too :-)

Dawn said...

Kate, I haven't seen ANY snow this year, and mostly that makes me happy. But a day of hiking on Striding edge with fresh white stuff...awesome. Almost makes me wish for more winter!

sbrt said...

Proper snow on a proper fell, cool!

I am not sure about those running shoes though.

jumbly said...

I am proper jealous! Great write up and photos.

Groover said...

... the thick cloud in the distance squashed the sun into a dirty orange streak across the horizon.

Very nice!

Now, enjoy your snow but tell it that it has to be gone come March1. Can you do this for me? ;)

Hayfella said...

Lakeland - land of wonders, summer or winter. You'll have to come and live here...

kate said...

stu stod- hope you've been able to get out too :)

dawn- though your sunny pictures look lovely, snow trumps everything ;)

sbrt- haha, bit slow and clumpy but warm, dry are a novelty i could get used to!

jumbly- thank you. bit of a drive but it was worth it. next time buddy... :)

groover- if i had my way it would never leave!....sorry ;)

hayfella- ha, i thought of you actually and was wondering if you were lying in a gully somewhere playing 'sleeping loins'.

ultra collie said...

what a day..beautiful
my only addition may have been a well earned pint at the end with the pasty

Dominic Rivron said...

Looks wonderful. Coincidentally, the last big hill I climbed, before Christmas, via Striding Edge.

Took me back years, too, to crampon-racing on a frozen Red Tarn. (Don't try this at home, etc. Sound faintly irresponsible, I know, but it was hard as a rock).

kate said...

uc- i bought a couple of bottles of lancaster amber, which were opened as soon as i got home :)

dominic- eeeeep! sounds like frightening fun. hope you manage to get out in the snow too.

Martin Rye said...

Superb. Always nice to do a mountain, or two in the snow.

kate said...

it certainly is and it was defo worth the early start!