Dec 09 23
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…a days winter climbing in the Lakes scuppered by too much snow! Shouldn’t complain though, blue skies all day, light winds and the place to ourselves – apart from the very friendly/hungry robin that followed us most of the way in.

Myself, Craig and Tim had planned to walk in to the back of Blea Water to try a route called Birkett’s Gully, which I’ve wanted to do for a while. It hasn’t held enough snow during the normal excuses for winters that we’ve had over recent years, but no need to worry about that this time!

Having got to the roadhead without bottoming out (Craig’s gas-guzzler earning itself a good drink!), we broke trail through knee to thigh deep powder, generally swimming as best we could through anything deeper. Suffice to say, it was slow going, but the scenery more than made up for it, and we were happy to stop regularly to take it all in.

Blea Water Beck

Back o' Blea Water

Almost Alpine...

Piot Crag

The north/northeasterly wind we’ve had of late had swung ’round to a westerly, redepositing a not inconsiderable amount of snow where we were wanting to climb. With the excellent visibility, we could easily spot a number of debris fans from previous slides, and various parts of various cornices above our route missing. Given my near miss last Saturday, I was keen to avoid anything approaching windslab, so we agreed to a change of plan and headed right to play on a couple if iced up buttreses.

To be honest, it’d taken us long enough to get to these, and with Craig and Tim needing to get back in reasonable time for Daddy duties, a quick play was in keeping with the relaxed atmosphere of the day.

A happy Tim and Craig

The forecast is for a bit of a thaw over the next few days, which should consolidate things nicely, before getting cold again after Boxing Day – I can’t wait!

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