Another stunning day in the Lakes! I went up to Gable with Mike and Dylan Johnson on Wednesday. I’ve only ever climbed on Gable in summer and was really excited to see what winter climbing up here is about. Many of the classic summer routes in the area around Engineers Slabs are sought after as hard mixed winter climbs. Ascents of some of these routes in winter have been scrutinised by some members of the climbing community for the damage caused to rock and vegetation by axes and crampons. The recent publication of the Lake District White Guide outlines areas (crags and specific routes) where agreements have been made to prohibit winter climbing in order to preserve the rock and rare vegetation for future generations. For a brief summary of what we did and the conditions, see below.
North Westerly winds through the week have scoured many of the slopes facing into the wind. As a result snow cover on the walk in was quite variable. The crag was well coated with rime, especially on its upper half. The lower section around engineers slabs looked a bit bare from a distance, but on closer inspection, it looked good with plenty of ice in the cracks and turf well frozen. Overall, conditions seemed a bit lean with temperatures having been persistently below freezing for quite a few days. Slightly warmer temperatures are forecast early next week which may give things a chance to build up a bit. Dylan and I decided to do Engineers Chimney which was really good and felt quite stiff.. A really good effort from Dylan on what was his first mixed climb.
Looking down the first pitch of Engineers Chimney.
Sunset over Kirk Fell