Friday 5 April 2013

5th April 2013

After running the Dalesway 4 weeks ago I have built up my running again after the recovery period nicely to have a good 4 days of activities.

This as included a ski touring session near Yad Moss, Alston which was out with Morecambe kite surfing club who were snow kiting. This was a nice day out with just under 10km travelled and about 400m of ascent.
Ascending up Winder

The next session was a day out in the Howgills. As there was allot  of snow about in the lakes and Dales, I was surprised to see that a lot of snow had shifted on the Howgills. This was a great day out but the wind made it hard work and it was very cold, biting wind.
Descending from Bram Rigg Top

this was a nice steady day completing 18.7 km and 1200 meters of ascent. It was great to be running on grass for a change with just a few bits that were covered in snow.

The route took in Winder, Arant Haw, crossing to Calders and Brim Rigg Top before descending down the ridge to the bottom of the gill before taking the path to ascend up on to White Fell Head and to the Calf before returning back over Calders etc back to the car at the bottom of where I started at the Pennine Cycleway road. 

Me on the Summit of The Calf

Howgills part 2

After a rest day and the promise of good weather again, I had to get back to the Howgills. Knowing that there was good running conditions and great weather. I decided to start the route the same as the other day but extend it so I could do some more climbing.
Ascending Arant Haw

I made better progress than the other day due to the wind not been as strong, once back in the bottom of  Calf Beck I had a quick in take of food and started the climb up on to White Fell Head. You could feel the warmth in the sun, but this was spoilt by the very cold wind chill. Back on to the route across to Busk Howe descending slightly before a small climb onto Cobbles, before a very steep descent in the valley below, Middle Grain. A very steep sided valley only meant one thing, a very steep climb up the other side onto the top of Hazelgill Knott. I followed Hazel gill down off the summit, to the main path, which I ran along to the ascent up onto the Calf and the return back to the car
Starting the snowy descent from Bram Rigg Top

Another great out in the Howgills just over 25km was ran and 1800 meters of climbing in 4 hours. One thing I did notice was looking over to the  West side of Whernside and the North West side of Great Coum was the amount of snow that needs to melt before the Fellsman which is only now 3 weeks away.

Climbing up on to Hazelgill Knot

Ski Tour to High Street

As Rachel and Paul were going to go Ice climbing at Blea Water, I was going to walk with them to Blea water and then continue on to High Street to do some ski touring and see what the snow conditions were going to be like.
Rachel & Paul ascending towards Blea Water

I decided to walk up in my fell shoes and had my boots in my bag, which was a good move as it certainly made walking up to Blea Water easier with only the odd patch of snow to walk over.
Leaving Rachel and Paul to walk round to the far side of Blea Water to the start of their 300m ice climb, I set off on the path to ascend up Stile High, deciding to continue in my fell shoes and change into my boots on the summit. 
Climbing Long Stile Ridge

As I started the climb up Long Stile Ridge the wind was starting to increase and was whipping up spin drift which was quite painful across the face. The grip on the snow and ice wasn't a problem but if I was going to descend this way I think crampons would be a good idea and safer!
Near the summit of High Street

Once on the top the cloud was still hanging on the summit making it feel rather gloomy on top. Not wanting to keep too still for long and I had very cold toes (again), I quickly changed into my very warm ski boots complete with dry socks. The surface of the snow on the summit was very icy and very slippery making skiing very hard to ski. In fact with the very strong wind it was pushing me along with out having to move my ski poles.
Near High Street summit before heading to Mardale Ill Bell

The wind seem to be getting stronger, but it did manage to lift the cloud to open up stunning views of the lakes mountains
Harter Fell in the background and the descent to Small water

I skied towards Thornthwaite Crag before returning back towards High Street and then I decided I was going to Ski to Mardale Ill Bell and return to Mardale Head via Small Water. The skiing was fast on the icy surface and the cross wind was so strong that it blew me other near the summit or Mardale Ill Bell. Slightly un-nerved by this and the fact that i didn't want to get blown down over an edge I decided to take the skis off and put my crampons on to descend downwards and pick up the snow filled gully towards Small Water. This was a great descent on ice and the crampons did there job to get me lower so I could put the skies on for the last part until I reached the end of the snow line.
Back on my Skies below Small Water

A great day out, with mixed feelings at times due to the strength of the wind and the conditions of the snow making it very hard to ski. About 17km covered and just short of 800 meters of climbing. It was worth getting up at 05:30!
Feeling good after a good day out below Small Water

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