Sunday, 22 March 2015

21st March ...Scafell Pike and Great End

A superb day to be on the fells today, patches of snow in the sheltered spots but no more winter conditions. None of the gullies on Great End are complete so it looks like winter climbing is now restricted to the Helvellyn range with just a few of the easy gullies having enough neve for some climbing.  If the daytime temperature doesn't get too high and it freezes every night we may be lucky and get another couple of weeks out of the season....fingers crossed

 Central Gully and South East Gully 
Great End 
Great Gable and Lingmel
Great Gable
Esk Pike and Bowfell
Top of Central Gully
Top of Central Gully

Top of Central Gully

15th March ........Nethermost Gully

a poor forecast which proved to be right, unfortunately meant that the there weren't any great views from the summit of Helvellyn, but the winter conditions are hanging in there and superb neve all the way to the top of Nethermost Gully made for a lovely ascent.

March 31st 2103
Nethermost Gully

Striding Edge

The descent from Swirrel Edge

Red Tarn

Monday, 16 February 2015

15 February...Window Gully, Great End

It was without any great expectations after the warmer temperatures of the past few days that we headed up towards Great End with the intention of climbing Central Gully and doing the Left Branch finish.  As we entered the gully the snow was soft and deep making progress difficult, so we decided to retreat and take a look further round the crag for some ice to play on for the day.

There was plenty of small pitches to climb and as we progressed up, we entered the bottom of Window Gully which looked very climbable and joined Will and Simon who had just started the first pitch.

The ice and neve  improved with height, still thick enough to take a 16mm screw in a lot of places.  The snow and turf was pretty solid and very avoidable when it wasn't.

I'm not sure how long it'll hold on in these temperatures but yesterday was a great day to be in Window Gully.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

27th January ...Olympus 9mm fisheye test

The new (to me) 9mm Olympus fisheye is a fun piece of kit, giving 140 degree field of view its the widest lens I have ever used.  Its definitely not made of top quality glass (plastic) and is only sold as a body cap, so expectations from Olympus are kept deliberately low.  As a novelty it's great,  and hopefully will produce some interesting images and the more I get used to the output the more versatile I'm sure to find it.
It won't be in the bag when I'm out doing any of my pro stuff, but when I'm out climbing and  I have my compact with me it'll definitely be coming along for the ride.

I'll put more images up here  as I explore its possibilities.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

24th January...Red Screes

A quick dash up the lovely Kilnshaw Chimney today, soft snow all the way and its not looking like it'll survive the coming thaw.  I will do this route again when its back in condition though.

The Kirkstone Pass from the chimney
Looking a bit thin at the start
Getting better with height

Near the top 

Friday, 23 January 2015

22nd January..Brown Cove Crags

It was great to be back climbing in the Lakes again, shorter 'walk ins" and some nice conditions.  BCC were in fine fettle with many teams out enjoying themselves.  We zipped up Central Gully for our warm up then moved onto Left Branch,  some nice neve and small ice pitches made for a very enjoyable ascent but with gear placements hard to find some longish run outs were necessary.

Brown Cove Crags 22-01-2015
Brown Cove Crags, Central Gully

Brown Cove Crags, Central Gully

Taken from Central Gully 22.1.2015
A climber had fallen into Broad Gully about 30mins before we arrived at the crag. Mountain Rescue were in the area at the time so were on the scene very quickly, the climber was airlifted out as we ascended Central Gully and taken to hospital.
The top of Left Buttress

From Central Gully

Friday, 16 January 2015

13th January.......Scotland, Aonach Mor and the Western rib

Whenever I go for a winter climb in Scotland I seem to pick the most extreme weather of the winter and this year was no different.  The highlands were experiencing some of the highest wind speeds on record with over 115mph being recorded on Ben Nevis.
I was climbing with guide and mountaineer Ken Applegate whose knowledge of the mountain was priceless.
And so we ventured out on Tues into the white to climb Western Rib on Aonach Mor.  After an hour or so we arrived at the foot of the rib and set off up the 400m climb, it was in great winter condition with plenty of neve, ice and frozen turf to keep us moving quickly up the towards the summit.
A rubbish image but shows the condition (Tues), Western Rib just left of centre 
After 3 hours we topped out onto the plateau in the full force of the storm and battled our way back to the top ski station to catch the gondola back down.

Ken on the second (?) pitch

PH on belay duty
Ken Applegate mountaineering

The usual mountain from the usual viewpoint

Sunday, 4 January 2015

4th January 2015....The Moon....

The snow has disappeared from the mountains for the time being but the clear cold nights have given me the chance to start a bit of night photography, not having taken any moon or star trail shots befoer its going to be a steep learning here goes....

 From the  back garden...well you've got to start somewhere.!!
Canon 6d  :  200mm plus 2x convertor 
ISO 100  :  f6.3  :  1/320
ISO 100  :  f5.6  :  1/250

Lessons learned tonight ....
1.    The moon moves very fast, so make sure you check the view finder before pressing the shutter.
2.    Use spot metering, it's very bright compared to the rest of the sky....doh...
3.    Use the biggest lens you've got and then some..

Monday, 29 December 2014

27th December ......Fairfield round

With a  dusting of fresh snow and a reasonable forecast our objective of the day was the classic Lakeland walk "The Fairfield Round".  At 10 miles in length and over 2800' of ascent its no push over for a winter walk, and while its hard to get lost on the way up the ridge towards the summit of Fairfield, once on the summit plateau good navigation skills are needed when the cloud and mist is shrouding the tops.

Photographic conditions on the day were superb, the cloud stayed off the tops for most of the time and  shafts of light dappled the fell sides, making some lovely images.

Unnamed tarn nr Heron Pike
South to Windermere 
Seat Sandal, Grisedale Tarn, and teh Helvellyn Range
Black Buttress, Fairfield