Lake District - Blown back on Striding Edge 17/12/2011

Distance - 5.8 miles
Ascent - 2351 feett
Time - 5hrs 40mins

Route - Parked in Glennridding - LIttle Cove - Birkhouse Moor - Hole in the Wall - Striding Edge - Back to the car via the same route missing out Birkhouse Moor

After spending all week watching the weather forecasts in Wales and the Lake District for the best area to make my first winter mountain ascent. By the middle of the week the most of the snow was falling over the Lake District and was looking good to do the Striding Edge round. Friday night we checked the weather forecast it was looking fantastic bright blue sky even advice to take sun glasses for the sun glare. We started to think it was going to be a day to remember.

Arriving in Glennriding to be faced with all the mountains to be covered with the white stuff, this brought a smile to our faces as this is what we made the long journey for. We quickly got changed and by 9am we was on our way into a whole new world of walking, heading over Rattleback Bridge towards Little Cove where the deep snow started, leaving no path for us to follow. We made are own path kicking steps into the deep snow. I was finding it really tough going and we was only half way up are 1st Wainwright of the day Birkhouse Moor. 

 From the summit of Birkhouse Moor the weather looked like it was going to clear out and let in the blue sky. Heading over to the Hole in the Wall with only the very tops of the wall showing to let you know its still there.

Here we look shelter from the wind for 5mins to get some food and water. Striding Edge was are next target we put on the extra layers for the slow crossing. A few groups of walker were catching us up by this time. As we got closer to Striding Edge Mark lost a glove in the wind that we had to fetch, with out his glove there would be no way of carrying on with out his hand getting frost bite. The 1st group of walkers had passed us while we was doing this. 

With the soft snow turning into a sheet of ice we decided it was time to gear up. The wind was blowing so hard we had to sit on are rucksacks to stop them been blown down the mountain side, a few more groups passed us. Puting my crampons on my hands started to freeze, we set of on are way passing the 1st group on there way back saying it was to bad to get across, we carried on anyway. Then my crampon came of so we had to stop and see what the problem was, in the time it was taking to sort the fault i lost all the feeling in my hands with them turning blue and freezing solid unable to bend my fingers i started to panic and was very worried. Mark could see how bad my hands were, so he told me to put my gloves back on and try to warm them up. He tied them back on so we could get moving and get warm then 5 mins later they came off again, by this time i just wanted to leave them up there was not happy. I started to re-fit them, getting hit my high winds and ice, shivering hands which frozen sold again unable to bend them. Two walkers that had turned back on Striding Edge asked if we was ok, lucky for me when i asked him to help me with my crampons he did, giving me some tips to get warm. He tied them both up telling me what i was doing wrong. All four of us getting covered in snow in ice we were starting to turn into ice sculptures. Eventually we were on are way again finally making it onto Striding Edge.

A short away across Mark got blown over lucky he didn't fall off the edge. It was at this point we decided to do what the rest had done and turn around as the mountains will be there another day. We retraced are steeps with every part of us covered in a layer of ice.

We went back the same way as we came missing out the summit of Birkhouse Moor. On the way down Little Cove me practised a few self arrests.

A fantastic day where i learnt two very valuable lessons that i will never forget.     


  1. nice write up, Ive done striding edge in the summer and well fear of exposure I wouldn't attempt it in the winter very brave, best part of this read is the fact you had the sense to turn back as hard as it is to give up you did the right thing, shame though.

  2. thanks, was had to cool it a day as we worked so hard to get there but like you say it was the right thing to do. looking forward to the next one.

  3. The best lessons are those learnt in the hard times on the hills. The right choice to turn around. To the next time and nice photos btw.

  4. Thanks there only from my mobile but had a camera the x-mas so hoping the next lot of pics will be better. There was some good lessons learnt ready for the next lot of snow.