Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Aconcagua Training

 Good neve on the slopes of Catsycam

Just another alpine day in the Lake District fells! Today I was working for Activius with Alison who's away to attempt Aconcagua in the new year.Today was all about fine tuning her crampon work and looking at some of the strategies she could use on this very big and very cold mountain. a brisk walk up to Red Tarn was followed by a spot of self arrest on the slopes of Catsycam. We eventually topped out before following the ridge along to Swirral Edge and the summit of Helvellyn. There were some great views across to the Central Fells but while the Keswick and Penrith were basking in the sunshine the Southern Lakes were hidden under a cloud inversion. We descended the same way dropping south in to the snow bowl and to the shores of Red Tarn.

The soggy snow pack from earlier in the week has refrozen giving some great conditions in the easier gullys. There was ice on the paths above 400m but the watercourses were all still running. The mixed routes on Viking Buttress looked very bare to half height but then there was a wee build up of rime, probably not enough to tempt me but plenty of other teams were out and about and most of the routes on the East face were climbed today. A couple of more mature gentleman reported a large cornice overlooking Nethermost Gully although it received a number of ascents yesterday. The ridges were in great condition with perfect neve over all the difficulties. With a thaw and gales forecast to arrive on Friday tomorrow could be the last opportunity to enjoy the current good conditions.

 Ullswater & the Northern Lakes in the sun

 Cloud inversion over the Southern Lakes with Steel Fell & Coniston Old Man breaking through

Plenty of climbing teams topping out on Helvellyn

Some cornicing above the East Face but everything well frozen

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