Author Topic: Skiddaw in December  (Read 815 times)

Jon71

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Skiddaw in December
« on: 13:18:31, 15/11/16 »
My son and I are going up Skiddaw beginning of December and was wondering what the path up is like in snowy weather just in case it's snowy up there. Or even how slippery does it become? Doing Skiddaw as we can walk from Keswick where we'll be based for the weekend and from what I see/hear it has a pretty decent path all the way up.

Percy

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #1 on: 13:29:15, 15/11/16 »
Until we know what the weather/conditions are like this is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question.

It's possible there will be no snow so you won't need anything beyond warm clothing.

It's also possible that conditions will demand crampons and ice axes.

And anywhere in between.

ninthace

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #2 on: 14:40:19, 15/11/16 »
Wot he said. I have been up there in winter in normal warm clothing and equally I have been up there in snowshoes. Intended route will also have a bearing, some ways up are steeper than others and some are more liable to accumulate snow than others. The last winter trip I did I went up via the Lonscale  valley to Skiddaw House then up via Sale How. I used spikes on the approach to the ridge as it is east facing but the ridge line itself was scoured pretty clear and I did not need any winter gear for the return via Little Man and the tourist route. The summit ridge can be very raw in winter even if there is no ice or snow.
Best advice is to be prepared with the kit but be guided by the forecast, especially the Weatherline fell conditions forecast that runs in winter.
In winter in Cumbria I would keep my micro spikes in my pack at all times but my ice axe, and crampons lived pretty much in the boot anyway so if there was any doubt at all I could take them.  Better to carry them and not need them rather than vice versa.
« Last Edit: 14:44:43, 15/11/16 by ninthace »
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Jon71

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #3 on: 15:31:33, 15/11/16 »
Don't have anything like spikes or crampons or will be able to get anything like that before going so may have to see how it is when there and either go up or don't I guess :(


We'll be walking from Keswick so coming round from Latrigg which I guess is the tourist route? But as we're walking and not wanting to drive to our start it's the one we're going up :)

ninthace

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #4 on: 16:38:18, 15/11/16 »
TBH if you are walking up from Keswick via Latrigg, it would not stop you going up via Skiddaw House and down by the tourist route or vice versa since both routes start in the same place past Latrigg. There are other routes too from the car park at the base of the tourist route, e.g. Up the flank of Lonscale Fell, across to Little Man, Skiddaw and down by the tourist trail. The tourist route up can be a bit of a plod and it would be good to vary it into a circular or figure of 8 if you can.
Spikes are easy to acquire especially in Keswick and would be an asset if you are thinking of doing winter trips, they are also on sale at present in a lot of outdoor shops not to mention Amazon. Personally, I would not dream of going up without poles either since they can help you recover from a nasty slip and give added support. If the conditions permit you can go without spikes and poles but please double check the weather and remember if it has been wet, and when isn't it in Cumbria at that time of year, then an overnight freeze could mean ice on paths even if there is no evidence of snow. Water likes to use footpaths as much as we do.
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henryb

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #5 on: 18:12:35, 15/11/16 »
Maybe this link may help: http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Skiddaw/forecasts/931. There is snow forecasted this week. Here's another useful link: http://www.yr.no/place/United_Kingdom/England/Skiddaw/long.html. Snow can last until March in the lakes. Check nearer the time - these forecasts can change overnight

Jon71

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #6 on: 12:32:06, 16/11/16 »
I've had a look on Amazon and can get some spikes for 13 and have good reviews so I'll get a couple of pairs of them, and I've been wanting to get a pole for a while now so will pick a couple up in Keswick :)

Thanks for those links henryb they'll be very useful :)

Darlingtom

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #7 on: 13:45:03, 17/11/16 »
I went up Skiddaw via the tourist route at the start of January last year. There were patches of snow and ice above around 600 metres. But once on the summit platform it got bitingly cold and incredibly windy - my wife was incredibly grateful for her walking poles! Not pleasant at all and not a place to hang around.
We came down via Bakestall and then back round via the Cumbria Way passing Skiddaw House. I think if you start to head up and notice that conditions aren't great, you have plenty of options - explore Latrigg, try for Skiddaw Little Man or Lonscale Fell, or have a wander around Glenderaterra Beck.

Jon71

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #8 on: 18:39:04, 17/11/16 »
Thanks for the feedback Darlingtom, that's just what we'll do see how it is going up and then if we decide not to chance it we'll have an explore around lower ground :D

Lakeland Lorry

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #9 on: 13:59:46, 18/11/16 »
You can always see what the conditions are like up on Skiddaw at any time of the year, by viewing the George Fisher webcam.

It's looking a bit wintry up there at the moment:

http://www.georgefisher.co.uk/webcam/


The Met Office Mountain Weather Forecast for the Lakes, will also give the temperature and conditions on the top of the fell.  Including the sunrise/sunset times, the temperature (taking account of the windchill) and (very importantly for Skiddaw) the wind speed.  Hope this link works.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gctybkmgn


Jon71

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #10 on: 12:24:01, 22/11/16 »
Great :) thanks for the links, definitely very 'alpine' up there at the moment! Got spikes and poles now along with the warm, waterproof clothes we already had so we'll see on the day how it is :)

Lakeland Lorry

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #11 on: 16:33:05, 24/11/16 »
The Keswick MRT are reporting that the slopes on the western side of Skiddaw have been avalanching.

http://keswickmrt.org.uk/skiddaw-92/


Innominate Man

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #12 on: 17:16:15, 24/11/16 »
What has been said already is great info and it sounds as though you are doing the right things with the additional gear.
It'll be like an insurance policy: Have them with you and you might not need them. If you don't have them and the conditions are bad you'd regret not having them !
Once saw a group going up Helvellyn and most of them had the right equipment but the guy at the back was wearing wellingtons !! 


The one other item (which you may have in your rucksack anyway) I would recommend is a headtorch - one each. Mid afternoon can get even duller/darker than normal if the conditions turn. A hand-held torch isn't advisable when you are grappling with either poles or axes - you need both arms free for balance.
From my point of view snow adds a whole new dimension to hill walking and (dare I say) more enjoyment   O0
Only a hill but all of life to me,
Up there, between the sunset and the sea.  Geoffrey Winthrop Young.

Jon71

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #13 on: 12:33:40, 30/11/16 »
Thanks all but I've had to call it off as my son has a knee injury from running (Bursa's?) which will put him out for a couple of weeks. Was really looking forward to my first winter 'expedition' too :)

ninthace

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Re: Skiddaw in December
« Reply #14 on: 16:27:27, 30/11/16 »
Thanks all but I've had to call it off as my son has a knee injury from running (Bursa's?) which will put him out for a couple of weeks. Was really looking forward to my first winter 'expedition' too :)


Go without him - call it a recce!  ;)
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