We took a little time out of Chamonix and headed over (or should I say under) the border to Cogne for some ice climbing. More “A Quick Ice Fix in Cogne”
Last weekend’s adventure was judged “not nearly adventurous enough”, so Rachel insisted we do something more exciting this weekend. We were initially devoid of ideas, but eventually came up with the idea of a wild camp on Kinder Scout and the chance to recce some of the Edale Skyline route.
On saturday, we drove up to Hope, parked the car there and set off up the hill towards the low cloud and Mam Tor. The walk past Back Tor and Hollins Cross was nice enough, although as the picture of Rachel shows, we were in the cloud the whole way. Happily, after Lords Seat the cloud suddenly dropped into the valley below us and we found ourselves enjoying the last hour of the day in beautiful winter sunshine as we slogged across snow drifts and through the enormous bog that is Brown Knoll. The light was lovely as we headed to the top of Jacob’s Ladder, with a beautiful view along the ridge west to Mt Famine, south of Hayfield, and East across the top of the clouds to Gridslow Knoll.
As the light was fading, we opted to camp at one of my favourite spots on Kinder, Wool Packs, with great towers of rock on all sides. We set up the tent at the side of one of the rocks, and cooked in a sheltered spot between two of them. It was bitterly cold so Rachel stayed in her sleeping bag while I did the cooking. The clear skies were filled with stars and passing planes!
In the morning it was clear it had been very cold in the night—the tent was covered with ice crystals and all the water nearby had frozen. We were also back in the fog, which made the rocks looming out of the cloud very atmospheric. It was still bitterly cold so I stayed in my sleeping bag while Rachel did the cooking! The overnight cold had meant she had to melt snow for water in the morning, but she did a fine job, and we even had a glimpse of the sun during breakfast.
We opted to walk out to Kinder Downfall in the hope that the ice would be spectacular but sadly this year it wasn’t—just a huge solid ice bank under the fall. We then decided to walk the rest of the way around the plateau to make sure we had a proper day out. With the cloud down and very thick, we didn’t see a thing all the way around and missed our turning at the Western end, only realising we’d gone wrong when we ended up looking down the hill at the Youth Hostel at Edale. After a short relocation, we found the path off Kinder that runs out to Win Hill, and finished our route back to the car. A short stop at the Woodbine Café for sausage sandwiches and Yorkshire Curd Cake, and most importantly some time in front of their roaring fire finished off a lovely day.