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Fell Top Conditions on Monday 19 February

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 13:00

Temperature plus 4.2°C Maximum wind speed 10.1mph Wind chill minus 0.3°C Average wind speed 4.0mph Wind direction NNW

There is a thaw at all levels – it was plus 4 degrees on the summit today – and this is especially rapid below 700m. There is now little snow below 400m. Above 400m there are areas of ground devoid of snow up to, and including, summit level. However a substantial amount of snow remains especially above 700m where deep drifts can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on lee slopes, in exceptional cases of over 100cm. Although such depth is the exception, drifts well above the ankles and occasionally up to the knees are fairly commonplace. Sinking this deep happens more frequently as the snowpack has become wetter and softer over the past 48 hours. Harder patches of snow do remain, however, mainly where the snow has been compacted on popular routes creating challenging conditions.

Exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, require extreme care and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering. Conditions along Striding Edge were mixed with bare rock interspersed with patches of ice and hard and soft snow. Conversely there is a more comprehensive covering of snow along Swirral Edge. Both exits, though, are guarded by unavoidable steep banks of hard snow and, given their altitude, these will not thaw during this brief period of milder weather. Hence the need for crampons and ice axes remain as it is no place to slip without the means to stop yourself.

Cornices exist on S to E to N facing aspects. These have weakened over the past 24 hours and look very unstable. Owing to poor visibility today, it was not possible to ascertain whether any have actually collapsed but please don’t take the chance and keep well back from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise.

Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are snow covered but are not safe to walk on.

Climbers. Snow in the gullies was far softer. In addition, please be aware of potential damage to rare alpine plants undertaking winter climbs that are not now in condition.

Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing out into the fells. For those attempting, or traversing, steep slopes above the snowline crampons and ice axe remain essential as there is still plenty of hard snow and ice plus it would only take a slight drop in temperature for the soft snow to harden. Excellent navigational skills are also required especially when snow is falling and/or in cloud as the deep snow obscures all landmarks creating challenging route finding.

For those interested in the weather stats, the wind was stronger lower down than on the summit!

Lake District Forecast for Wednesday

Dry and bright with sunny spells. Well broken cloud expected early and late in the day. Isolated mist and freezing fog patches possible in the valleys.


Mainly very good or excellent, but poor or very poor in any mist or freezing fog.

Hill cloud

70 to 90%, only patches 600 to 900m, clear at times.


East or NE 5 to 15mph


  • Valley: Minus 2 Celsius rising to 5 Celsius
  • At 800m: Minus 1 Celsius
  • Freezing level: Surface to 600m

Outlook for next few days

Thursday 22 February

Mainly dry and bright with some sunny or clear spells possible. However, isolated light wintry showers are possible. Moderate south or southeast winds at height. Freezing level around 600m around the middle of the day.

Friday 23 February

Mainly dry with variable cloud, best of any sunny or clear spells expected over the northern and northwestern fells. Fresh to strong southeast winds at height with a significant wind chill. Freezing at most levels.

Saturday 24 February

Dry with variable cloud, sunny or clear spells expected. Fresh to strong southeast winds at height with a significant wind chill. Freezing at most levels.

An overview to the weather in the Lake District


The summer season in the Lake District actually runs from March to October. The driest period runs between March and June.

The weather is renowned for changing rapidly and rainfall is a predominant feature. The wettest area in the Lake District is known as Sprinkling Tarn which receives approximately 5000mm of rainfall every year!


The wettest months run from October to January.

Snowfall typically falls from November to March. The valleys of the Lake District receive around 20 days of snow and 200 days of rain per year.

Winter is actually a beautiful time of year to enjoy the spectacular views.

It’s important to stay safe during the Winter period, especially if you are considering exploring the fells. If you’re a fan of the Lake District in Winter, why not register on one of our Winter Skills Courses? Learn more