Showing posts with label catstye cam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label catstye cam. Show all posts

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Helvellyn in Winter - A Video

            Helvellyn & Swirral Edge

This is a 10 minute video of my winter climb up Helvellyn last weekend. It's the classic horseshoe route from Patterdale up along Striding and Swirral edges. The route was in perfect winter condition. It was a real joy to be up there. 

Now there must be literally thousands of YouTube videos showing folk on this route. This is my take on it. I've been playing around with a Microsoft programme called 'hyperlapse' which speeds up and stabilises the sort of shaky videos commonly seen on hiking videos. I've used it on the sections when crossing the 2 'edges' but am yet undecided as to whether it's a useful tool or just good at inducing motion sickness! Judge for yourself.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral Edges in Winter

Date: 27th February 2016
Start/Finnish: Patterdale
Wainwrights: Helvellyn, Catstye Cam
Height Gained: 3140 feet
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Time Taken: 6 Hours

Striding Edge in Winter

       Social Hiking Route Map

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

Red Tarn

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.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mopping up the Eastern Fells

Date: 19th June 2015
Start/Finnish: Patterdale
Wainwrights: Arnison Crag, Birks, St Sunday Crag, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn,
   Catstye Cam.
Height Gained: 5224 feet
Distance: 12 Miles
Time Taken: 9 hours

The route - Clockwise from Patterdale

I had 3 Eastern Fells left to climb; Arnison Crag and Birks (simple enough), and then Catstye Cam (another 2 valleys away). It was going to take a long walk to link them all up. After parting with £4.50 to park at the Patterdale Hotel I headed up the steep path to Arnison Crag. My lack of fell time this year became obvious within about 20 minutes and I quickly realised it was going to be a long, tough day.

Arnison Crag view over Ullswater

Arnison Crag view up to Birks

Arnison Crag summit panorama east

Arnison Crag summit panorama west

From Birks I could see that St Sunday Crag was moving in and out of cloud but all the high fells around Helvellyn were fully shrouded. When I got up onto St Sunday Crag it was under cloud and there was a fierce wind. I headed over to a sheltered spot overlooking the Deepdale valley for a bite to eat and to wait and see if the summit cleared. The last time I was up here visibility was appalling and so I wasn't about to give up too easily. Luckily patience paid off and I was rewarded with a few fleeting views over both neighbouring valleys although all the higher fells remained under cloud. Satisfied, I headed off to Grisedale Tarn.

St Sunday Crag from Birks

St Sunday Crag summit just below the cloud base

Fleeting views over the Deepdale valley

The onwards path

Grisedale Tarn comes into view

Looking down the Deepdale valley

Seat Sandal, Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike

The path from Grisedale Tarn up onto Dollywagon Pike is a zig-zag upwards slog and it was near the top of this path that the cloud base was reached and visibility reduced to about 50 feet. After small deviations from the main path to bag Dollywagon and Nethermost Pikes I headed on up to Helvellyn. It was not pleasant up there. The wind was a steady 30mph and bitingly cold with occasional drizzle thrown in for good measure. It felt like November rather than June.

Seat Sandal over Grisedale Tarn

Fairfield making a momentary appearance

The last of the views for the next few hours

The stone tablet on Helvellyn summit commemorating the first plane landing on a mountain in 1926

The summit shelter

Helvellyn summit - nothing to see today

I carefully picked my way down onto Swirral edge with the wind showing no mercy. This was new territory for me and the ridge demanded full concentration. It is the equal of striding edge but seemed a lot shorter, but that could be deceiving as I could see nothing further than about 20 feet. I headed off up the short climb onto Catstye Cam but didn't linger as it was obvious that views would not be forthcoming and the wind was relentless.   

The uninviting way down onto Swirral Edge from the summit plateau

Somewhere on Swirral Edge

Somewhere else on Swirral Edge

Catstye Cam summit - imagination required

It was here that I made my mistake. Without checking the compass I followed the only obvious path down in the opposite direction to the one I came up. I inadvertently took the northern path down towards the steep northeast ridge. The path I intended to take was southeast from the summit and I obviously didn't notice it. It was only when I got under the cloud that I realised my mistake. I tried to skirt around the mountain to pick up the correct path but the crags soon became too steep and so I carefully picked my way down the rocky terrain. Ah well. It made for an interesting detour which my knees just managed to survive. It also added a good hour to an already long walk. 

Finally emerging from cloud and realising I'm on the wrong side of the mountain

Ah well, unexpected views of Keppel Cove Dam

Looking down the valley to Sheffield Pike and Glenridding

Heading back into cloud on the other side of Catstye Cam

Finally, the 'hole-in-the-wall'

The homeward path

Views over Grisedale valley to St Sunday Crag ...

... and Birks

Looking back up the Grisedale Valley ...

.... and back over to Arnison Crag, where I was 8 hours earlier

It was a weary hiker that plodded back to the car 9 hours after leaving. That was about the limit of my capabilities for a day hike. It will be a nice, easy stroll next time ....