Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Winter Skills Weekend #2

Sunday morning and we had crisp clear air, perfect conditions for a walk. The plan for today was to go up Raise from Glenridding to try and find an area to practise ice axe arrest and crampon work. We set off up the road which leads to Greenside mine. After passing the mine and YHA we started on the zigzags and Catstye Cam came into view. A fantastic sight it was as well, covered in snow almost looking like an alpine scene. It wasn’t long before we reached the start of the chimney a remarkable man made piece of engineering, it served as a stone smelter flue for the mine below. The flue ran over half a mile up Stang to a stone chimney at about 2,250 ft. It was at this point that we stopped for a quick bite to eat and warming brew. From here we surveyed the slopes of Raise in front of us and picked out what looked like a good spot to have a play. When we arrived at the said location it was indeed perfect, an untouched slope of frozen snow. We did ice axe arrest work and practiced walking in crampons before we packed up and set off for the summit. Although the ground conditions where not bad enough to necessitate the permanent use of crampons, it was still good to get them on and have a walk around in them. I have to say the axe arrest work was fun, I really enjoyed that. It was like being a kid again, sliding down the slopes on the snow / ice.

Cracking on, the wind picked up as we approached the summit but no-one cared as the vista was stunning. In all directions the snow capped peaks of the Lake District laid out before us, the clarity of the air gave superb visibility and we could easily see over to Cross Fell in the North Pennines, again capped with snow. From Raise we descended via the zigzags above Keppel Cove giving terrific views across to Catstye Cam & Swirral Edge leading onto Helvellyn, in fact they where that good we stopped here sheltered out of the wind and had lunch. After being suitably refreshed it was an easy walk back past Greenside Mine to Glenridding.

Raise Summit Panorama
Catstye Cam from near Greenside Mine

Heading up the Chimney towards Raise

Playtime Panorama
Not a bad place for Lunch

Catstye Cam, Swirral Edge & Helvellyn


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