A night-time blizzard on Helvellyn.

Robin and I went on a night-time winter walk over Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Swirral Edge. A good deal of fresh snow had fallen in the Lakes which made it hard going on the way up to the long and narrow ridge of Striding Edge. The ridge itself was quite straightforward and the adventure really began once we were in the full force of the wind near Helvellyn’s summit. The visibility was very low, around five metres, and the blizzard was blowing snow everywhere. We found the summit shelter after a little searching and crouched below its wall to gain a brief rest from the cold wind and eat some food.

Some compass work and pacing brought us to the start of Swirral Edge. It is important to get this right in such poor visibility when the eastern edge of the mountain is covered in snow and bordered by a cornice. The initial descent to Swirral Edge drops off quite steeply and we didn’t want to drop into one of the steep corries either side of the ridge. Once on the ridge the navigation eased and a straightforward bearing from the col below Catstye Cam brought us to Red Tarn and lots of thigh-deep snow on the way back to Glenridding and the Traveller’s Rest.

It was a great opportunity to practice our navigation in difficult conditions before getting up to Scotland this winter…

Robin through the snow by Red Tarn.

Robin through the snow by Red Tarn.

Posted: December 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Lake District, Mountain Walking, Navigation, Winter Walking | No Comments »

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