Jan 12 29
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langdale

Saturday morning dawned bright, clear, and cold. Plus it had snowed a lot up high on Thursday and Friday. This was the weather I had been hoping for for some time to get out and climb Bowfell Buttress in winter-nick. Bowfell Buttress is probably the best hard-ish winter classic mixed route of the Lake District…

The scene above, walking up The Band on Saturday morning, was promising too!

bowfell climbers approach

Laetitia on the climber's approach traverse towards Bowfell Buttress

However, as we gained height the temperatures rose! Not sure why – there was a possible forecast for a warmer Atlantic front to come in on Sunday (although that was unlikely), so I reckon that simply the colder air had sunken in to the valleys and up high was warming a little with the glorious sunshine.

Unfortunately this meant that when we got to Bowfell Buttress despite it being coated in promising ice and snow, this was totally detached form the rock with free running water behind. There was nothing for it but to accept that mixed climbing wasn’t realistic – we headed up the easy snow gully to the south of Bowfell Buttress to enjoy the sun and views on top.

Pete at the bottom of the snow gully (the summer descent after climbing on Bowfell Buttress)

bowfell buttress south gully

Laetitia at the top of the snow gully, skirting the cornice on the right bank.

At the top of the gully we had plenty of time to enjoy the views from the top of Bowfell as we’d hiked in to Bowfell Buttress as fast as we could to give us enough time to get the route done and get back down to the Wayfarer’s hut (RLH) in time for the joint CC accord meet – dinner was promised so it was an appointment we couldn’t miss.

The view out towards Eskdale and the sea were fabulous!
We could easily see the Isle of Man...

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