Jan 13 20

There’s been hardly any precipitation in Cumbria since Monday’s snowfall, but it’s been very cold so perfect conditions for an ice route.

We decided to keep it short and made our way up to Shelter Crag. We walked up the Band, the higher we got, the colder we got as the wind picked up. In the distance we were just able to make out the route through the low cloud, so we headed cross country towards it.

We were aiming for The Big Issue or Shelter Ice Fall, but we found ourselves at the bottom of Central Gully and being exceedingly cold we decided to just make our way up that.

Pete climbed the first pitch, just a scramble really with a couple of tricky moves.

Pete starting up Central Gully.

Pete starting up Central Gully.

By the time he’d belayed I was pretty well frozen. I started up and as I got closer to Pete the ice got more interesting but the wind got stronger as it funnelled it’s way up the gully. I got to Pete with frozen solid hands and saw that he was shivering as well. We looked at the ice, looked at the descent, looked at the ice, shivered, and promptly started on our way down. We realised the actual start of Central Gully was a very easy traverse from the right, so it made for a very, very easy descent.

The wind stayed strong until we escaped well away from Shelter Crag and back to the Band. At least by then we had warmed up a bit.

Frosty face.

Frosty face.

Shame we didn’t actually do the route in the end, but I think we are now acclimatised to warm weather. Should I sell my ice tools? Nooooo. Just need more perseverance.

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