Wainwrights: Helvellyn, Catstye Cam
Height Gained: 3140 feet
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Time Taken: 6 Hours
|Striding Edge in Winter
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This is the classic route up Helvellyn from Patterdale via Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. The forecast was great, cold and clear with plenty of snow above 1500 feet. It was a perfect day to tackle this famous Lakeland route in full winter conditions. I set off at first light so as to avoid the usual congestion on striding edge. This decision paid off as I only passed one other person until reaching Helvellyn summit.
|A Bright Moon over the Helvellyn Range
|Sunrise over High Street
|First light falls onto Dollywagon and Nethermost Pikes
|Reaching the Snow Line
|The view back over Birkhouse Moor
|A great view of the whole route ahead with Helvellyn centre and Catstye Cam far right
From the 'hole-in-the-wall' the snow became hard packed and frozen. It was time to get the crampons on and the ice axe out.
|The onwards view from near the 'hole-in-the-wall'
|First glimpse of Striding Edge
|A Frozen Red tarn
|The start of Striding Edge - What a sight!
The best route across is to keep to the very highest part of the ridge wherever possible and take things slowly and carefully.
|Views over to Nethermost and Dollywagon Pikes
|Looking across to Catstye Cam
|Looking back along the ridge ...
|... and onwards from halfway across
|The final scramble up to the summit plateau
|Views back along Striding Edge
|Helvellyn summit Plateau
|The summit shelter
|The summit trig point
|The onwards route along Swirral Edge towards Catstye Cam
|Views back towards Helvellyn
|Catstye Cam summit view over to Ullswater
|Helvellyn from Catstye Cam summit
|The route back down from the 'hole-in-the-wall'
This was a superb day in the fells. The conditions were perfect (for a change!) with very little wind, clear blue skies and a pleasantly cold -7 on Helvellyn summit. The snow was firm, frozen and stable which made it easy going. Overall perfect, just perfect.