Winter has well and truly arrived in the Lake District and conditions are very good indeed.
This afternoon I had a walk into the Brown Cove Crags to have a look at conditions. There was no intention to climb anything, just have a stroll and see if there were many folk about.
There were plenty out enjoying the good weather and conditions. And I couldn't resist a quick blast up one of the gullies as a fun way of getting onto the Helvellyn plateau.
The snow near the bottom of the gully (Left Parallel in Brown Cove) was a little soft, but this soon firmed up and from about 50m upwards it was bomber neve almost all the way. This made for really enjoyable and easy progress.
The crags had offered plenty of shelter, but upon topping out a very icy blast tore into me and I could feel a 'head-freeze' going on, so quickly put on more layers. The wind only lasted a few minutes, and the summit area of Helvellyn was actually much calmer.
The plateau is scoured of snow, with just compacted sections remaining, elsewhere there's plenty ice. So crampons and axe are essential at the moment. In fact I found the need for crampons really early into the ascent due to so much - hard to avoid ice - on the paths.
The weather forecast looks promising for the rest of the week too.
Our winter skills courses have started and can be arranged for midweek or weekends.