Mountain Journeys

Helvellyn in the snow

Today I was out on Helvellyn and quite shocked by how much of the snow had disappeared during the overnight rain. Some aspects now have now snow at all, but there is still plenty out there, just takes a bit more searching for.

There was some keenness to climb a gully in Brown Cove, but they weren't looking too appealing (or safe)! We dug an inspection pit at the base of 'left parallel' and found an unstable layer about 15 inches down. The level of instability made us walk away from the gully.
We did thankfully find a much safer alternative close by. A vague gully broken up by small rock outcrops all the way up, perfect and now back to a very low avalanche risk. The gully provided some interest, although the snow a bit too soft to be really fun.
Higher up the final snowfield gave us the firmer snow we'd been hoping for and a nice steep exit, with a few cornices around too, we did manage to avoid these and suspect they too would be unstable.

Once on the plateau there was no need for crampons as the snow is mostly gone, only an icy ribbon where the path usually is remains. A quick visit the the summit and a bite to eat before a rapid walk back to Swirls to escape the by now very high winds, which were bitterly cold.
A good day out. A freeze tonight will bring better conditions tomorrow, fingers crossed.




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