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English Lake District: Scafell

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English Lake District: Scafell

Postby edhyatt » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:30 am

Fear, loathing and camping on Scafell

Date: November 6-7
Participants: Me
Weather: Cold and bright, hail, wind, snow, and sun
Distance: 12km and 12km
Ascent: 1200m and 500m

The route:

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A quick foray into the rocky part of the Lakes was in order to establish sanity following a (rare :wink: ) bout of work. Some air was needed so a summit camp seemed like a good idea, especially with a forecast that promised some sun....yet hinted at snow. Snow, pah!

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The ‘tourist trudge’ up to Styhead is not a favourite – but you get a lot for your money, arriving at a pass with a choice of rocky excrescences upon which to play. My choice today is Sca Fell.

An obvious path would be the Corridor Route, a fine traverse of the mountainsides that leads up to Lingmell col and the delights of Scafell Pike. But there is another way, the dank and foreboding Piers Ghyll; a cavernous gash that bars entry to Lingmells Eastern slopes for all but the bold (or stupid). It passes under still sombre skies.

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The first hail of the new season hits me as I top the col, it is swiftly replaced by snow. I think about a waterproof as it is fast and thick - but a luminescence behind the flurry promises brighter weather. Sun even, which hits just as I find the climbers traverse towards Mickledore.

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As water is taken from a seep below the bivvy boulders under the main face of Sca Fell the sun even makes an appearance – lighting up the fells to the North.

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I have chosen doom and gloom; Lords Rake…a former fine line to Sca Fell summit, now fallen (literally) into disrepute. The National Trust (who own the land) used to advise against ascending it – not sure if they still do (?).

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From the bottom it looks screeish and bouldery and much like the last time I went up (two years ago).

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The former gendarme is a sleeping policeman these days, resting on a few boulders – it’s all going to come down one winter; but not today one hopes 8O

Sticking to the Right-hand wall has always been best, but it is still necessary to jink left and then back across the boulders to pass to the right of the tilted block :(

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Once past this a nice traverse to the shoulder of Sca Fell and up, looking for a pitch on the lightly snow-dusted summit; well nearby in reality as the summit itself is pretty much rock.

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The tent goes up relatively quickly in a fairly exposed position, yet the winds are light. Inside it is the usual bordel. The ‘impulse’ blackcurrant pie from Booths in Keswick looks inviting 8)

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Coffee precedes dinner; although early I want to dine in the light if possible. While awaiting rehydration I head off to the summit for a few pictures and some mobile reception, returning to take a final shot of the bivvy before retiring for the looooong evening.

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One can only blame the 33cl bottle of Cote de Rhone I imbibed as a nightcap for this debacle of a picture :oops:

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I doze for a bit (wine-induced coma) then pop outside – the tent is covered in snow...as is the fell; hmmm, interesting. Back in for an OK night’s sleep broken now and then by buffeting as the wind swings Northerly.

Dawn brings a very cold outside and this vista.

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Dressed in everything I have I wander around the summit area taking sundry snaps as the sun comes up – amazing how much difference it quickly makes to the temperature of me :D

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Coffee and stollen make for breakfast and then descent is necessary; Foxes Tarn route seems logical as I now fancy going over Scafell Pike as it looks so good across the way.

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I head for the descent cairn and a small section of pitched path.

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The Foxes tarn descent is stony, rough, iced over in places and steep; the ‘tarn’ is a puddle. Then the fun begins, this too was the site for a big rock slip a couple of years ago and some ‘interesting’ lumps remain, made more fun by the occasional verglassed passage. Looking back though it seems relatively benign.

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What follows is unadulterated fun, sunshine, fresh snow, far horizons and nobody else for a couple of hours.

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The summit of Scafell Pike is attained quickly; I am upset that someone has been here before me though...

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The same ‘someone’ who seems to ‘work, rest, and play’...

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Usually never one to tarry - ‘hills to climb’ and all that, I stick around on the summit in the sunshine for quite a while; pleasingly warm in just a couple of Ts.

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Needs must though (and breakfast proper) so down Grains Ghyll it goes – still in stunning sunshine, meeting many people on the way who ask ‘is there snow on top’ – my grin is yay wide :D

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And breakfast at last....

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edhyatt
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Re: English Lake District: Scafell

Postby rlown » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:07 pm

snow and cold. Actually, I get that. It's a mindset and skill-set you have in your mind when you set out at a certain time of the year.

Was that some weird Shepard's pie you had in your inside tent pic?

And what stove are you using?

Russ
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