Planning another early start to beat the inevitable crowds, I couldn’t bring myself to stop hitting the snooze button this morning, so drove into Braithwaite later than planned.
Thinking I might get lucky, as there was only one car in the car park and I didn’t see anyone on the walk in, I was surprised to see three pairs ahead of me as I approached Force Crag Waterfall, Coledale.
The lower section looked in good condition from a distance, but the first pair led off tentatively on the lefthand side, whilst the others waited patiently for their turn. I stayed low out of the way, drank coffee and enjoyed the view.
Once I’d chilled off sufficiently, I geared up and had a gentle stroll up the first ice steps towards a now clear first steepening. There was a reasonable amount of water still flowing on the right, and the mid-section looked a bit delicate, so I followed the crowd and teetered up the lefthand side.
Above, an easier section led to the gully proper, and the impressive (if not quite fully formed) curtain on the right. Bypassing this, I met the crowd at the top of the gully, making slow progress through moderately angled but not great mixed ground (more crud covered heather). At least the turf was fully frozen, allowing some degree of security against the bombardment from above. I waited for the parties ahead to get fully clear, and followed on up.
Apart from the unconsolidated steep snow at the very top (by which time you’re well and truly committed anyway, so it’s irrelevant I suppose?!), the route made a pretty reasonable day out. It would be interesting to see what the main curtain would be like when fully formed, as it looks a lot steeper then Grade IV – given the forecast, maybe I’ll find out next week?!