/ Mixed Routes - Lake District Grade IV-VII

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jackob 11 Dec 2019

Does anybody have any reccomendations for routes in this range?

Preferably ones which come into condition quickly?

Thanks

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C Witter 11 Dec 2019
In reply to jackob:

> Preferably ones which come into condition quickly?

I'm not much of a winter climber, but even I know this is like asking if anyone knows any hens that are particularly adept at growing teeth...

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Dave Cumberland 11 Dec 2019
In reply to jackob:

99.9% weather dependent. It is binary. Anywhere and everything - or nothing at all.

Please don't climb starred rock routes with ice tools.

DC

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Exile 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Jackob:

The prerequisite for all this is you ideally need several days freeze followed by snowfall for anything in the Lakes to be worth a look.  You can get good conditions if snow and freezing weather arrive at the same time, but it will take longer, (up to a week in my experience,) and benefits from at least one slight thaw.

Often the routes at the crags from the top of the Band over to Bowfell Buttress have something going on if anywhere does.  There are lots of different crag aspects and both snowed rock routes and more traditional mixed routes to go at so early and semi early season conditions are catered for.  We managed BB itself last season in good condition in what was otherwise a write off winter.

Gable Crag is similarly catered for, but has some more icy mixed stuff (Summertime Blues as an example) if the buttresses are not white enough for the Engineer Slabs style snowed up rock. 

Ramps Ghyll Head is considerably further East than a lot of Lakes crags so can come in more quickly with the correct wind direction that the more popular venues further West - we found good conditions here in the 17 - 18 winter when climbers on Gable were reporting unfrozen turf. 

Scafell can be very good but to be really hoared up it needs damp air onto cold rock.  If you suspect that this might have happened then don't be put off by the valley feeling relatively mild, go and have a look.

Lastly the little buttresses on Dollywagon Pike, but be sure it is properly frozen.

Routes on these crags that I would say meet your needs that I've (mostly) done as follows.  (I've put my own grade in brackets following if I think the grade is different to the one in the guide book.)

Scafell:

Botterill Slab V 6 (VI 7, but we did it as snowed rock without the ice down the corner)

Moss Ghyll IV 5 (IV 6)

Pisgah Buttress V 6 (VI 6)

Gable:

Summertime Blues V 6

Engineer Slab VI 7 (I haven't actually done it yet, but its reprted to be excellent)

Ramps Ghyll Head:

South Pinnacle Ridge IV 6

North Gully IV 5

Heirloom Crag:

Heirloom VI 6 (V 6)

Scrubby Crag:

Juniper Groove V 6 (VI 6)

Dollywaggon North:

Thrash Corner IV 5

Rescue Groove IV 4

St Sunday's:

Slab Route Buttress IV 6 (needs a bit of freeze / thaw snow)

Bowfell area:

Bowfell Buttress V 6

Bowstring VI 6

Plaque Route IV 4  

Professor Rib V 5 (V 6)

Rib and Groove V 6 (V 7)

Post edited at 14:09
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TobyA 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Exile:

> St Sunday's:

> Slab Route Buttress IV 6 (needs a bit of freeze / thaw snow)

Where did you get the info on the buttress routes on St Sunday's? I once saw a lovely photo topo of it with loads of routes on it, but lost it and haven't been able to find it again. There isn't much in the guide book from memory.

> Bowfell area:

> Bowstring VI 6

Have you done this one? I can't work out why but it has disappeared from the newest guide and is not in the UKC database. But it is in a older guide and it turns out I did the crux pitch of it (with admittedly one small fall) when we were trying to do Ledge and Groove (IV 5) but it seemed to be missing some ice or snow build up, so we had to quest leftwards to find a way through a tier of rock.

> Plaque Route IV 4  

Is this any good? It's my sort of grade but the guide has very little info on it.

I would add for the OP,  North Buttress/Cambridge Crag is worth a look, it is a basically as high as Bowfell Buttress and has a more northerly aspect from memory.

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Exile 11 Dec 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Slab Route Buttress

> Where did you get the info on the buttress routes on St Sunday's? I once saw a lovely photo topo of it with loads of routes on it, but lost it and haven't been able to find it again. There isn't much in the guide book from memory.

To be honest I'm a bit bias in relation to this route as I did the first ascent!  This route is pretty well described in the newest guide, but I can't remember ever seeing a topo.  To be honest though I would think a topo of St Sundays is only any use from the other side of the valley; because of the large sprawling nature of the crag one would be hard to use close up.

(It takes a bit more to come in but the girdle traverse of St Sundays is another worthwhile, if somewhat esoteric, route.)

Bowstring

> Have you done this one? I can't work out why but it has disappeared from the newest guide and is not in the UKC database. But it is in a older guide and it turns out I did the crux pitch of it (with admittedly one small fall) when we were trying to do Ledge and Groove (IV 5) but it seemed to be missing some ice or snow build up, so we had to quest leftwards to find a way through a tier of rock.

Yes I have.  We were doing Bowfell Buttress as Steve Ashworth and Brian Davidson were doing the first ascent, so we went back and did it the following winter.  We just went where they went, but again I think it is in the newest guide.

Piaque Route

> Is this any good? It's my sort of grade but the guide has very little info on it.

Yes it is a good / worthwhile route, but overshadowed by Bowfell Buttress somewhat.  It is a lot more turf dependant that BB.  From memory the guide is a bit vague, but you just follow an obvious groove on the left side of the buttress for the majority of the route before ending up on a snow slope with a chimney / grove at the back of it that you climb to the top.

> I would add for the OP,  North Buttress/Cambridge Crag is worth a look, it is a basically as high as Bowfell Buttress and has a more northerly aspect from memory.

Agreed. This is one of the crags I was referring to as 'between the Band and BB'.

Post edited at 16:04
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Fergal 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Exile:

heirloom is a great route, thought grade wise it more Vl than V not long but pretty sustained a lot harder than V 6 in Scotland, no usable ice in the conditions we had, this was feb 2018.

Oh and Viking Buttress is one of the higher mixed routes to come in, still confused as to which is the better finish, the arete variation was nice. Blade runner on the buttress to the left is really just a single pitch but offers a fantastic icy mixed turf groove, toffee like first time placements when we did it, would recommend if you are on Helvellyn. 

Post edited at 16:25
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Exile 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Fergal:

> heirloom is a great route, thought grade wise it more Vl than V not long but pretty sustained a lot harder than V 6 in Scotland, no usable ice in the conditions we had, this was feb 2018.

It is a great route isn't it?  I did it without ice, (I'm not sure that it would ever form ice?) and thought it was pretty standard Scottish V 6 and not as hard as other routes in the Lakes that get V in the guide book - Pisgah Buttress and Rib and Groove for example, but that's the vagaries of winter climbing conditions, weather conditions and how well you are going on the day. Somebody will be along shortly to tell me that Pisgah Buttress is never VI in a month of Sundays!

Post edited at 16:40
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Fergal 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Exile:

thought you may get a little snow ice in the back of the groove, as we had to clear semi frozen crud, it was a pretty wild day and i hadn't climbed anything that year so you may well be right.

Come to think of it, i have found all Lakes winter climbing harder for the grade, i soloed south east gully on Great end and thought this felt sketchy, out of condition lll, it's given ll in the new guide!!??  

Post edited at 16:55
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LakesWinter 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Fergal:

Ah yes SE Gully becomes II in half decent nick or a snowier winter as any pitches bank up to short steps. E.g in 2010. 

I thought Heirloom was nails seconding but maybe i need to climb more harder mixed before giving an opinion.

The Snow Badger on St Sunday is another good one - see the frcc site for a description. IV 6 or so, maybe IV 5

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Exile 11 Dec 2019
In reply to Fergal:

I think many of the classic Lakes snow / ice routes appear to be graded for excellent / exceptional condition in the present guide, rather than usual / good condition.  Dove Crag Gully at IV 4 is the one that leaps out to me, but there are others.

Anyway, we digress - I'm awaiting early season mixed suggestions that I haven't thought of!

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