Readings | Glossary | Contact | Support us |

Readings 2013-14

Historical readings and fell top reports:

Date of report Location Temp Windchill Max wind Ave wind Wind direction Report
22nd Apr 2014 End of our season Hi! We've now finished for the season. We hope you've found our reports helpful this winter. A big thanks to all our sponsors who help make this service possible, and for all your kind remarks on Twitter and in person out on the fells. Met Office forecasts will continue to appear on this website, so make sure you keep checking them. Have fun on the fells and see you again in December!
20th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 6.3 -1.6 24. 12.1 The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 850m and now thawing fast. All these patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow but both Striding and Swirral Edges are now free of snow. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Although the wind on the summit topped at 24mph, on descent the gusts got up to 52mph. Despite Spring like weather in the valleys conditions on the summit are cool and windy and conditions can change quickly. Walkers should carry extra clothing and waterproofs. During this week the windchill has been as low as minus 6.5 degrees Celsius.
19th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 9.1 4.8 10.1 SE 2.3 The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow which is avoidable. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. It was noticeably milder on the summit today, however conditions can change quickly and walkers should carry extra clothing and waterproofs. During this week the windchill has been as low as minus 6.5 degrees Celsius. Sun cream maybe also be useful due to strong sunshine.
18th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit Conditions haven't changed much recently. The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow which is avoidable. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite spring like weather in the valleys, summit temperatures were noticeably well below zero with the windchill and conditions can change quickly therefore walkers should be adequately equipped with warm clothing and waterproofs. Sun cream maybe useful currently due to high winds and sunshine.
17th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit Conditions haven't changed much recently. The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow which is avoidable. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite spring like weather in the valleys, summit temperatures were noticeably well below zero with the windchill and conditions can change quickly therefore walkers should be adequately equipped with warm clothing and waterproofs. Sun cream maybe useful currently due to high winds and sunshine.
16th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 3.5 -4.1 24.1 20.0 S Conditions haven't changed much recently. The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow which is avoidable. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite spring like weather in the valleys, summit temperatures were noticeably well below zero with the windchill and conditions can change quickly therefore walkers should be adequately equipped with warm clothing and waterproofs. Sun cream maybe useful currently due to high winds and sunshine.
15th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.5 -6.5 24.7 20.1 Conditions haven't changed much since yesterday. The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite spring like weather in the valleys, summit temperatures were noticeably well below zero with the windchill and conditions can change quickly therefore walkers should be adequately equipped with warm clothing and waterproofs. Sun cream maybe useful currently due to high winds and sunshine.
14th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 2.2 -3.5 14 6.2 The majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some isolated patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are avoidable, in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge has a short stepped section of snow. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite spring like weather in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and conditions can change quickly therefore walkers should be adequately equipped with warm clothing and waterproofs.
13th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
12th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
11th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
10th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
9th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 3.4 -2.0 28.1 SW 18.3 The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
8th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.0 -5.8 20.0 W 13.8 The remaining snow is continuing to thaw and the majority of the fells are now snow-free, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These patches are generally avoidable and in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable compacted older snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and walkers should be adequately equipped for this.
7th Apr 2014 Helvellyn The thaw continues and the majority of the fells are now clear of snow, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These are mainly in avoidable sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable wet snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges.
6th Apr 2014 Swirral Edge 8.2 1.6 35.7 SW 20.6 The thaw continues and the majority of the fells are now clear of snow, although some large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These are mainly in avoidable sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow but Swirral Edge retains a short but steep patch of unavoidable wet snow. Trekking poles or an ice axe are recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges.
5th Apr 2014 Swirral Edge 5.0 -1.4 25.7 11.9 The thaw continues and the majority of the fells are now clear of snow, although large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These are mainly in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of around 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow. The exit from Swirral Edge, however, retains a deep patch of unavoidable old, harder snow which will take some time to thaw. Trekking poles or an ice axe are recommended for the safe negotiation of this short but exposed section. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges.
4th Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 6.1 1.2 14.5 SW 11.8 The thaw continues and the majority of the fells are now clear of snow, although large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These are mainly in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow. The exit from Swirral Edge, however, retains a deep patch of unavoidable old, harder snow which will take some time to thaw. An ice axe is recommended for the safe negotiation of this section as, although only a short pitch, it is not a place to slip without the means to stop yourself. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges.
3rd Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 7.8 4.2 15.5 S 11.0 The thaw continues and the majority of the fells are now clear of snow, although large patches of snow still remain above 800m. These are mainly in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 40cm exist - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge is now free of snow. The exit from Swirral Edge, however, retains a deep patch of unavoidable old, harder snow which will take some time to thaw. An ice axe is recommended for the safe negotiation of this section as, although only a short pitch, it is not a place to slip without the means to stop yourself. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so it's best to keep away from the snow along such edges.
2nd Apr 2014 Helvellyn summit 5.0 1.8 9.3 ESE 6.0 The thaw continues; the snow has now been thawing at all levels for five consecutive days. Although the majority of the fells are now clear of snow; above 800m large patches of snow still remain; these are mainly in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 40cm remain - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge itself is free from snow as is, if you pick your route, its exit. Conversely, Swirral Edge's exit retains a deep patch of unavoidable old, harder snow which will take some time to thaw owing to its depth, height and east facing aspect. An ice axe is strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this, albeit short, section as it is not a place to slip without the means to stop yourself. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so please keep on solid ground and off the unstable snow along such edges. The fell top assessing service continues until Easter, but this is my last day this season so I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you I've had the pleasure of meeting on the hill for your kind comments regarding the service. Wishing you all many enjoyable, memorable and safe days on the fells. Kind Regards Jon.
1st Apr 2014 Scafell Pike summit 4.2 0.7 10.4 SSE 4.4 The thaw continues; this is now the fourth day that the snow has been thawing at all levels. Although the majority of the fells are now clear of snow; above 800m large patches of snow do still remain mainly in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 50cm remain - although such depth is the exception. This remaining snow is now mostly wet simply making conditions slippery. Helvellyn, with its large east face, retains the greatest coverage of snow. Striding Edge itself is free from snow and, if you pick your path with care, there is now a snow free route on its exit. Conversely, Swirral Edge's exit retains a deep patch of unavoidable old, hard snow which will take some time to thaw owing to its depth, height and east facing aspect. An ice axe is strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this, albeit short, section as it is not a place to slip without the means to stop yourself. Should the snow refreeze, then crampons should also be carried. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so please keep on solid ground and off the unstable snow along such edges.
31st Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 8.2 3.9 19.6 SE 7.8 There has now been a significant thaw for the past 3 days, especially below 800m where there is now little snow on paths. Although large areas of the fells are now clear of snow; large patches of snow still remain above 800m especially in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 50cm remain - although such depth is the exception. The remaining snow is now mostly wet simply making conditions slippery. On Helvellyn, Striding Edge itself is lovely dry rock. If you pick your path with care, there is now a snow free route on its exit. Conversely, Swirral Edge's exit retains a deep patch of unavoidable old snow which will take a some time to thaw owing to its depth, height and east facing aspect. An ice axe is strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this section as it is not a place to slip without the means to stop yourself. Should the snow refreeze, then crampons should also be carried. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so please keep on the ground and off the snow along such edges.
30th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 8.3 3.9 16.2 S 6.4 There has been a significant thaw over the past 48 hours, especially below 800m where there is now little snow on paths. Large areas of the fells are now clear of snow; however above 800m large patches of snow remain especially in sheltered hollows and on north through to east facing aspects where drifts of over 50cm remain - although such depth is the exception. The remaining snow is now mostly wet simply making conditions slippery. On Helvellyn, Striding Edge was largely bare,dry rock. There is some wet, thawing snow on its exit but by Monday there may even be a snow free route. Conversely, Swirral Edge's exit retains a deep patch of unavoidable old snow which will take a long time to thaw. An ice axe is strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this section as it is not a place to slip. Should the snow refreeze, then crampons should also be carried. The milder temperatures have weakened the cornices and snow slopes that exist above some east facing slopes so please keep off the snow in these locations. For those interested in the weather stats - once again the wind was at least 10mph stronger on the way up and down!
29th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 2.9 -2.1 10.3 ENE 4.1 The snow is thawing at all levels - it was 3 degrees on the summit - with the thaw especially rapid below 800m. Below 750m, there is little snow on paths. Above 750m, snow depth rises with height although the actual depth varies enormously from nothing on windswept areas, such as large areas of the summit plateau, to drifts of over 60cm in sheltered hollows and on north to east facing aspects - although such depth is the exception. The snow is now mostly wet simply making conditions slippery. Above 800m, fresh, wet snow is often lying on top of older compacted snow - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the exits to both Striding and especially Swirral Edges. This deep snow with frozen patches is unavoidable and an ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of these sections especially on Swirral's exit; crampons should also be carried in case the snow refreezes. The milder temperatures will weaken the cornices that exist above some east facing slopes so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill remains below freezing so full winter clothing and footware are required for those venturing onto the high fells. With the forecasted milder temperatures, it is likely that the snow that has fallen over the past 10 days will thaw leaving the old snow in sheltered hollows and on east to north facing slopes with the Helvellyn range retaining most coverage. Owing to its depth and aspect, this will take some time to thaw. For those interested in the weather stats - the wind was stronger on the way up and down!
28th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -9.7 33.1 NNE 27.9 2-3 cm of fresh, wet snow has fallen overnight and settled above 750m adding to existing accumulations. Below 700m, there is little snow on paths. Above 700m, snow depth rises with height although the actual depth varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas, such as large areas of the summit plateau, to drifts of over 70cm in sheltered hollows and on north to east facing aspects - although such depth is the exception. Despite Saturday's forecasted milder temperatures, above 750m walkers should expect to encounter snow and also some ice on paths especially where the snow has been compacted on popular routes. Above 800m, fresh, loose snow is often lying on top of compacted older neve - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the exits to both Swirral and Striding Edges. This deep snow with frozen patches is unavoidable and an ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections especially on Swirral's exit. Cracks had appeared in the cornices that exist above some east facing slopes. Many of these cracks are now filled with fresh snow giving a false sense of security, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit temperature and windchill remain below freezing so full winter clothing and footware are required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential
27th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.0 -9.5 21.4 NE 17.5 Below 600m, paths are free from snow and ice. Above 600m, snow depth rises with height although the actual depth varies enormously from nothing on windswept areas, such as the summit plateau, to drifts of over 60cm in sheltered hollows - although such depth is the exception. Below 700m, the snow was thawing. Above 700m, walkers should expect to encounter snow and also ice on paths especially where the snow has been compacted on popular routes. Above 800m, fresh snow is often lying on top of compacted older neve - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the exits to both Swirral and Striding Edges. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections especially on Swirral's exit. Cracks had appeared in the cornices that exist above some east facing slopes. Many of these cracks are now filled with fresh snow giving a false sense of security, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit temperature and windchill remain below freezing so full winter clothing and footware is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential
26th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.5 -9.2 16.6 E 14.8 Snow and ice are lying on the fells above 600m in most areas of the park. The snow depth reaches around 10cm at 750m, with some deeper pockets in drifts and hollows. However, the coverage varies depending on the scouring action of the wind and large areas of ground are also free of snow. Above 800m, up to 50cm of looser snow is often lying on compacted older neve - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the eastern slopes of the Helvellyn range. Both Striding and Swirral Edge are holding large amounts of snow and the steep final exit ramps of both ridges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable steep snow and ice. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections both for ascent and descent. Above some steep east facing slopes - such as in Brown Cove - there are unstable cornices with deep cracks, which have been filled with fresh snow, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill is often well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
25th Mar 2014 Catstye Cam 2.2 0.7 3.2 1.8 Snow is lying on the fells above 600m in most areas of the park, but this is currently thawing slowly at all levels. The snow depth increases gradually with altitude to around 10cm at 800m, with some deeper pockets in drifts and hollows. However, the coverage varies depending on the scouring action of the wind and large areas of ground are also free of snow. Above 800m, up to 50cm of loose, wet snow is often lying on compacted older neve - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the eastern slopes of the Helvellyn range. Both Striding and Swirral Edge and the ridges of Blencathra are holding large amounts of snow. The steep final exit ramps of Striding and Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable steep snow. An ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of these sections both for ascent and descent. Above steep east facing slopes there are unstable cornices with deep cracks, which have been filled with fresh snow, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill is often well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe is essential and crampons should be carried in case the snowpack re-freezes.
24th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.3 -8.0 22.5 SW 13.0 Snow and ice is lying on the fells above 500m in most areas of the park. The depth increases gradually with altitude to 5cm at 600m and around 10cm at 750m, although the coverage varies depending on the scouring action of the wind, with large areas of ground also free of snow. Above 800m, up to 60cm of windslab is often lying on compacted older snow - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes such as the eastern slopes of the Helvellyn range. Both Striding and Swirral Edge and the ridges of Blencathra are back in winter condition. The steep final exit ramps of Striding and Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections both for ascent and descent. Above steep east facing slopes there are unstable cornices with deep cracks, which have been filled with fresh powder, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
23rd Mar 2014 Helvellyn Fresh snow has fallen on the fells and is lying as low as 500m. The depth increases gradually with altitude to 5cm at 600m and a blanket covering of 10cm at 750m, with deeper pockets of up to 50cm. Above 800m, up to 60cm of loose windslab and powder is often lying on compacted older snow - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes. Both Striding and Swirral Edge and the ridges of Blencathra are back in winter condition. The steep final exit ramps of Striding and Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections both for ascent and descent. Above steep east facing slopes there are unstable cornices with deep cracks, which have been filled with fresh powder, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
22nd Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.1 -11.0 21.1 W 18.6 Fresh snow has fallen on the fells and is lying as low as 400m. The depth increases gradually with altitude to 5cm at 500m and a blanket covering of 10cm at 750m, with deeper pockets of up to 50cm. Above 800m, up to 60cm of loose windslab and powder is often lying on compacted older snow - particularly on steep east through to north facing slopes. Both Striding and Swirral Edge and the ridges of Blencathra are back in winter condition. The steep final exit ramps of Striding and Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these sections both for ascent and descent. Above steep east facing slopes there are unstable cornices with deep cracks, which have been filled with fresh powder, so please keep well back from the edge in these locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
21st Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -10.6 45.1 W 31.5 A dusting of fresh snow is lying on the fells above 750m, although this doesn't present any significant difficulties apart from making walking surfaces slippery. However, more fresh snow is expected - possibly as low as 400m - over the next 24 hours, so the following conditions will change. Although the majority of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do still remain in sheltered areas above 800m especially on north and east facing aspects. The largest coverage of snow is on the eastern side of the Helvellyn range with drifts of up to 50cm on sheltered slopes above 900m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and especially descent. There are unstable cornices with deep cracks above east facing slopes so please keep off any snow along the edges in such locations. Despite milder temperatures in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells.
20th Mar 2014 Red Tarn Cove (720m) 4.1 -2.7 54.2 25.4 The summit couldn't be reached today as the storm-force winds forced an early retreat from the fells. Although the majority of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do still remain in sheltered areas above 800m especially on north and east facing aspects. These consist of wet snow and have been thawing for the past few days. However, there may be fresh snow above 700m on Friday morning after today's cold front has past. The largest coverage of snow is on the eastern side of the Helvellyn range with drifts of up to 50cm on sheltered slopes above 900m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow. An ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and especially descent and crampons should be carried in case the snow has re-freezes . There are unstable cornices with deep cracks above east facing slopes so please keep off any snow along the edges in such locations. Despite the mild weather in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells.
19th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 3.0 -6.2 41.5 SW 34.7 Although the majority of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do still remain in sheltered areas above 800m especially on north and east facing aspects. These consist of wet snow and have been thawing for the past few days. Despite this, walkers should still expect to encounter some snow at altitude which, given the forecasted drop in temperatures, could be frozen. The largest coverage of snow is on the eastern side of the Helvellyn range with drfits of up to 50cm on sheltered slopes above 900m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow. An ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and especially descent and crampons should be carried in case the snow has frozen. Conversely, if you pick your route, there is now a snow free exit to Striding Edge. There are unstable cornices with deep cracks above east facing slopes so please keep off any snow along the edges in such locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath. Despite the mild weather in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below freezing (minus 6 degrees today) so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells.
18th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -8.0 53.9 SW 41.1 Although most of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do still remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. These consist of wet snow and have been slowing thawing for the past few days but this has been quicker during the past 24 hours owing to the rain - although it was also hailing on the summit today. Walkers should, therefore, still expect to encounter some snow at altitude which could be frozen should temperatures drop. The largest coverage of snow is on the eastern side of the Helvellyn range with drfits of up to 60cm on sheltered slopes above 900m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow which can be frozen - especially in the morning. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, if you pick your route there is now a snow free exit to Striding Edge. Although the cornices above east facing slopes have reduced in size they are extremely unstable with deep cracks so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath. Despite the mild weather in the valleys, the summit windchill is well below freezing (minus 8 degrees today) so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells.
17th Mar 2014 Scafell Pike Summit 1.3 -6.2 25.1 WSW 18.7 Although the majority of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do still remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. On Scafell Pike, some snow patches were unavoidable but consisted of wet snow. These were thawing, but slowly, so walkers should expect to encounter some snow at altitude which could be frozen should temperatures drop. The largest coverage of snow is on the eastern side of the Helvellyn range with drfits of up to 70cm on sheltered slopes above 850m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow which can be frozen - especially in the morning. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, Striding Edge is almost free from snow. There are deepening cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes - some 6m back from the edge - and the mild weather has further weakened such cornices to the actual point of collapse - especially in Brown Cove; so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath. Despite the mild weather in the valleys, the summit windchill is below freezing so full winter clothing is required for those venturing onto the high fells.
16th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 3.7 -2.4 20.6 WSW 16.5 Conditions underfoot have been fairly stable for the past few days with the continuing slow thaw of the remaining snow. Most of the fells are now free from snow and ice but large patches of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. The majority of these snow patches consist of wet snow, but frozen snow and ice can still be encountered especially a) in the morning, b) where it has been compacted and c) above 900m. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with drfits of up to 70cm on sheltered slopes above 850m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but there are unavoidable sections along Swirral Edge with the steep final exit ramp being covered with a considerable amount of deep snow which can be frozen - especially in the morning. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, Striding Edge is almost free from snow. There are deepening cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes - some 6m back from the edge - and the mild weather has further weakened such cornices to the actual point of collapse - especially in Brown Cove; so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath. For those interested in the weather stats - the wind was gusting far stronger on the way up and down than on the summit.
15th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 2.6 -5.4 31.8 W 24.8 Although most of the fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. This snow is thawing but this is a slow process as the remaining patches are often quite deep and at altitude. The majority of these snow patches consist of wet snow, but frozen snow and ice can still be encountered especially a) in the morning, b) where it has been compacted on popular routes and c) above 900m. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with drfits of up to 80cm on sheltered slopes above 850m, although such depth is the exception. Most of this snow is avoidable, but the steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which can be frozen - especially in the morning. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, Striding Edge is almost free from snow. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes - some 6m back from the edge - and the mild weather has further weakened such cornices to the actual point of collapse - especially in Brown Cove; so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath.
14th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.5 -7.3 39.4 WSW 29.6 Although most of the Lake District fells are now free from snow and ice, large patches of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. Most of these patches consist of wet snow, but frozen snow and ice can still be encountered especially a) in the morning, b) where it has been compacted on popular routes and c) above 900m. Often the remaining snow is quite deep so although it is thawing, this will be a slow process. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with drfits of up to 90cm on sheltered slopes above 850m. Most of this snow is avoidable, but the steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which can be frozen - especially in the morning. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, Striding Edge is almost free from snow. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes - some 6m back from the edge - and the mild weather has further weakened such cornices to the point of collapse - especially in Brown Cove; so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath.
13th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 7.8 3.4 15.6 WSW 13.1 Although many of the Lake District fells are free of snow and ice, large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 750m especially on north and east facing aspects. Many of these consist of wet snow, but frozen snow and ice can be encountered especially in the morning and also above 900m The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows on sheltered slopes above 850m. Most of this snow is avoidable, but the steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strongly recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. Conversely, Striding Edge is almost free from snow. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes - some 6m back from the edge - and the mild weather has further weakened such cornices to the point of collapse - especially in Brown Cove; so please keep well back from the edge in these locations and well away from the snow slopes beneath.
12th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 5.8 0.5 17.2 SW 14.9 The Lake District fells are largely free of snow and ice, but large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 800m and anyone going onto the high fells should be prepared to encounter the occasional deep patch of snow. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows on sheltered slops above 800m. Most of this snow is avoidable, but the steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe is essential, and crampons strong;y recommended, for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 5m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations.
11th Mar 2014 Whiteside 8.4 6.3 8.1 S 4.1 The Lake District fells are largely free of snow and ice, but large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 800m and anyone going onto the high fells should be prepared to encounter the occasional deep patch of snow. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows on sheltered slops above 800m. Most of this snow is avoidable, but the steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent, and crampons are also recommended as the upper few metres is often frozen. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations.
10th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 4.7 3.5 5.6 3.7 The Lake District fells are largely free of snow and ice, but large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 800m and anyone going onto the high fells should be prepared to encounter the occasional deep patch of snow. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows above 800m. The steep final exit ramp from Swirral Edge is still covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. An ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this section both for ascent and descent, and crampons are also recommended as the upper few metres were frozen solid today. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations.
9th Mar 2014 Helvellyn The Lake District fells are largely free of snow and ice, but large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 800m and anyone going onto the high fells should be prepared to encounter snow and sub-zero windchill temperatures. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from Striding Edge and especially Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Excellent low-visibility navigation skills are needed to avoid walking too close to the edge in these areas, as following footprints alone could take you far too close to unstable snow. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
8th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 2.8 -5.5 39.9 SW 29.7 The Lake District fells are largely free of snow and ice, but large areas of snow do remain in sheltered areas above 800m and anyone going onto the high fells should be prepared to encounter snow and sub-zero windchill temperatures. The eastern side of the Helvellyn range retains the largest coverage of snow, with up to 90cm in drifts and hollows above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from Striding Edge and especially Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Excellent low-visibility navigation skills are needed to avoid walking too close to the edge in these areas, as following footprints alone could take you far too close to unstable snow. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
7th Mar 2014 Catstye Cam (890m) -1.0 -11.9 53.5 W 38.9 Although Spring is in the valleys, the high fells still retain a considerable amount of snow on sheltered east through to north facing aspects. There is no snow below 600m and isolated patches below 700m. Above 700m, the depth of snow increases with height although actual depth varies enormously from nothing at all on windswept aspects (often west and south facing slopes) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on east and north facing slopes above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from Striding Edge and especially Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Excellent low-visibility navigation skills are needed to avoid walking too close to the edge in these areas, as following footprints alone could take you far too close to unstable snow. There is already evidence of avalanche debris from slides off both the main face and Brown Cove. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
6th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 4.7 2.8 20.8 SW 11.5 Although Spring is in the valleys, the high fells still retain a considerable amount of snow in places, although there has been a thaw in the last 48 hours especially below 750m. There is no snow below 600m and isolated patches below 700m. Above 700m, the depth of snow increases with height although actual depth varies enormously from nothing at all on windswept aspects (often west and south facing slopes) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from Striding Edge and especially Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Exposed routes such as these should, only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Excellent low-visibility navigation skills are needed to avoid walking too close to the edge in these areas, as following footprints alone could take you far too close to unstable snow. There is already evidence of avalanche debris from slides off both the main face and Brown Cove. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
5th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -7.7 30.1 SSW 25.4 Although it feels like Spring in the valleys, the fells retain a considerable amount of snow; although there has been a thaw in the last 24 hours especially below 750m. There is no snow below 600m and isolated patches below 700m. Above 700m, the depth of snow rises with height although actual depth varies enormously from nothing at all on windswept aspects (often west and south facing slopes) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. On popular paths the snow has been compacted so walkers should expect to encounter ice on such routes especially in the morning. The steep final exit ramps from Striding Edge and especially Swirral Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which has frozen in places, especially right at the top. Whereas Striding Edge has patches of snow and ice, Swirral Edge is covered in wet, loose snow. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. There are deep cracks in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations ignoring footprints that are far too close to the edge as, with milder temperatures, there is a real danger of cornices collapsing. There is already evidence of avalanche debris from slides off both the main face and Brown Cove. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
4th Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -9.2 32.2 SW 25.7 Despite the Spring-like conditions in the valleys, above 600m to 700m the fells retain a considerable amount of snow; the snow level varying depending on aspect although below 700m it is thawing. Above 700m, the depth of snow rises with height although actual depth varies enormously from nothing at all on windswept aspects (often west and south facing slopes) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. The summit plateau had everything today - dry bare rock, wet rock, ice, soft and frozen snow! On popular paths the snow has been compacted so walkers should expect to encounter ice on such routes especially in the morning. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which has frozen in places, especially near the top. Swirral Edge in particular is covered in snow and this is often loose. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. Cracks are reappearing in the cornices above east facing slopes, some of these 5 to 6m back from the edge, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations especially as there is evidence of snow slides off the main face and particularly in Brown Cove. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
3rd Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -4.3 7.5 W-NW 5.2 The fells retain a considerable amount of snow despite the Spring-like conditions in the valleys. The snow level varies between 600m and 700m depending on aspect. Above these snow levels, the depth of snow rises with height although actual depth varies enormously from nothing at all on windswept aspects (often west and south facing slopes) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. A daytime thaw was occuring mainly affecting snow below 750m and south facing slopes. The snow has been compacted on popular routes so walkers should expect to encounter ice on such routes. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which had frozen in places. Swirral Edge in particular is covered in snow and this is often loose. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. There are cornices above east facing slopes with cracks reappearing, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Indeed, there was evidence of snow slides off the main face and also in Brown Cove. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
2nd Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -7.9 44.3 SSW 35.4 Despite the Spring-like feel in the valleys, the fells retain a considerable amount of snow. The snow level varies between 600m and 700m depending on aspect. Above these snow levels, the depth of snow rises with height although actual depth varies considerably from nothing at all on windswept (often west and south facing aspects) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. Light rain was falling at all levels, thawing the snow especially below 750m and making the remaining snow very wet. Should the freezing level drop, as forecast, walkers should expect to encounter ice on paths on Monday as well as fresh snow. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep wet snow. Striding and especially Swirral Edges are covered in snow which was wet and loose. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. There are cornices above east facing slopes; owing to lack of visibility on the summit today it was impossible to see if there are cracks in the cornices, but they will be weakening with the milder weather, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
1st Mar 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.2 -8.7 14.1 SW 10.4 It's a tale of two halves with Spring in the valleys whilst winter remains on the fells. The snow level varies between 550m and 700m depending on aspect. Above 550m snow depth rises with height although actual depth varies considerably from nothing at all on windswept (often west and south facing aspects) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. On popular routes, the snow has been compacted, so walkers should expect to encounter some frozen snow and ice above 550m, especially in the morning. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which is frozen in places and covered in loose snow and windslab. Striding and especially Swirral Edges are covered in snow which again was loose. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. The large cracks that had appeared in the cornices above east facing slopes have now been filled with spindrift and fresh snow giving a false sense of security, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Upland Tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered in snow but are unsafe to walk on. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
28th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.5 -6.3 9.7 WSW 7.7 Although it feels like Spring in the valleys, above 550m the fells retain a significant amount of snow. Fresh powder snow has fallen overnight adding to existing accumulations. Above 550m snow depth rises with height although actual depth varies considerably from nothing at all on windswept (often west and south facing aspects) to 90cm in drifts and hollows on north and east facing slopes above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow which is frozen in places. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges are covered in snow which especially on Swirral was loose. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. The large cracks that had appeared in the cornices above east facing slopes have now been filled with spindrift and fresh snow giving a false sense of security, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Upland Tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen but are unsafe to walk on. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
27th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.4 -10.7 27.5 WSW 22.3 Although it feels like Spring in the valleys, above 600m the fells retain a significant amount of snow. Overnight, fresh snow has added to existing accumulations. Between 600 and 700m, the snow was wet and thawing. Above 700m snow depth rises with height although actual depth varies from nothing on windswept (often west facing aspects) to 80cm in drifts and hollows on east facing slopes above 800m. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep, frozen snow. Indeed, both Striding and especially Swirral Edges are covered in, often loose, snow. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions, including the ability to assess the stabilty of the snow. The large cracks that had appeared in the cornices above east facing slopes have now been filled with spindrift giving a false sense of security, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
26th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -9.0 30.9 W 25.2 Despite the milder conditions in the valleys a significant amount of snow remains on the high fells. The actual snowline varies throughout the park depending on aspect, with sheltered east through to north-facing coves and slopes holding the most snow. To the east of Helvellyn, large areas of snow are encountered on paths above 700m. The depth can reach up to 80cm in hollows and drifts above this level, although there are also large areas where the snow has thawed completely, including the summit plateau and west-facing aspects. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Large cracks are present in the cornices above east facing slopes, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
25th Feb 2014 Raise summit (883m) 0.1 -9.9 43.3 SW 36.1 Despite the milder conditions in the valleys a significant amount of snow remains on the high fells. The actual snowline varies throughout the park depending on aspect, with sheltered east through to north-facing coves and slopes holding the most snow. To the east of Helvellyn, large areas of snow are encountered on paths above 600m. The depth can reach up to 80cm in hollows and drifts above this level, although there are also large areas where the snow has thawed completely, including the summit plateau and west-facing aspects. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Large cracks are present in the cornices above east facing slopes, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
24th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.7 -8.4 31.3 SW 27.9 There has been a rapid thaw at all levels but a significant amount of snow remains on the high fells. The actual snowline varies throughout the park depending on aspect, with sheltered east-facing coves and slopes holding the most snow. To the east of Helvellyn, large patches of compacted granular snow are encountered on paths above 600m. The depth can reach up to 80cm in hollows and drifts above this level, although there are also large areas where the snow has thawed completely. The steep final exit ramps from both Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Large cracks are present in the cornices above east facing slopes, so do keep well back from the edge in these locations. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
23rd Feb 2014 600m on the path to Red Tarn 5.6 -0.1 54.2 SW 29.4 The assessor made an early retreat from the fells today due to the strong winds and swollen becks on the way up Helvellyn. The snowpack is thawing rapidly at all levels and there is now little snow on paths below 600m. The remaining snow is heavy and wet and, although the thaw is expected to continue overnight, a substantial amount of snow does remain above 800m, which could take some time to thaw. In steep east-facing gullies and slopes, such as the east face of Helvellyn, the rapid thaw of a considerable amount of windslab could create avalanche conditions. Likewise, the cornices above these gullies would be expected to slump at the very least. The exit ramps from Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe is essential and crampons should be carried in the event that the snowpack refreezes.
22nd Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.3 -7.7 33.9 SW 28.1 The high fells are in full winter condition but the actual snowline varies throughout the park.To the east of Helvellyn snowline starts at around 550m. The depth varies considerably depending on aspect, but above this level walkers should expect to encounter patches of deep, soft snow on most routes. 30cm depth at 700m is common, with much deeper patches of up to 1m in drifts and hollows on east-facing aspects. Fresh loose windslab has accumulated on northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on compacted older snow and is very unstable. The exit ramps from Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Distinct cracks have appeared in the large cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes and there is a considerable amount of near-vertical windslab on the headwall at the top of Red Tarn Cove, particularly above Viking Buttress and Gullies 1 & 2. Milder temperatures on Sunday will make these areas extremely unstable and avalanches may occur. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
21st Feb 2014 Red Tarn Cove - 700m 1.3 Fresh snow has fallen, driven by strong westerly winds but the snowline remains at around 550m. The depth varies considerably depending on aspect, but above this level walkers should expect to encounter patches of deep, soft snow on most routes. 30cm depth at 700m is common, with much deeper patches of up to 1m in drifts and hollows. Good navigation skills are essential, as even the most popular routes are covered with deep snow and footprints cannot be relied on to lead you in the correct direction! Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Distinct cracks have appeared in the large cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes. Milder temperatures will further weaken such cornices, so keep well back from the edge. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
20th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.1 -7.8 23.0 W 18.8 The snowpack has undergone a thaw at all levels and the snowline is now around 550m. The depth varies considerably depending on aspect, but above this level walkers should expect to encounter patches of deep, soft snow on most routes. 30cm depth at 700m is common, with much deeper patches in drifts and hollows. Although the snowpack is now soft and wet, above 800m patches of ice and frozen snow can be encountered, and with the freezing level falling there will be much more ice on the fells on Friday morning. Good navigation skills are essential, as even the most popular routes are covered with deep snow and footprints cannot be relied on to lead you in the correct direction! Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with a considerable amount of unavoidable deep snow. Indeed, both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra remain in winter condition and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter mountaineering conditions. Distinct cracks have appeared in the cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes. The milder temperatures will further weaken such cornices, so keep well back from the edge. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
19th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.2 -5.5 18.5 SW 15.8 The thaw continues, it was plus 1 degrees on the summit. There is now little snow below 550m. Above 550m, there remains a substantial amount of snow. The depth of which, though, varies considerably from nothing at all on large areas of fellside to drifts of over 100cm above 900m in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from bare paths to energy sapping deep soft wet snow; a depth of 30cm at 700m still being commonplace, although this has been compacted on popular routes. Although the snowpack is now soft and wet, above 800m patches of ice and frozen snow can be encountered and walkers should be prepared for this and expect to encounter more should the freezing level fall. Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with loose soft snow and windslab which has not bonded to the surface beneath making such slopes unstable. Milder temperatures are helping to consolidate it, but it needs another freeze to stabilise this snowpack; in the meanwhile such slopes must be treated with extreme caution. A second line of cracks, some 3-4m from the edge, have now appeared in the cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes. The milder temperatures will further weaken such cornices, so keep well back from the edge and advise others with less experience to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have partially frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra remain in winter condition; although some of the snow covering them has thawed, it remains necessary to cross and climb over soft, wet snow. Exposed routes such as these should, therefore, only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential. Good navigational skills are also essential for those going above the snowline as deep snow hiding landmarks combined with low cloud make route finding challenging and white-outs a possibility; eg the Gough Memorial marking the exit to Swirral Edge is covered by snow.
18th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.5 -7.3 27.7 SW 21.2 The thaw continues; light rain was falling at almost all levels with some sleet above 900m. Below 600m are patches of generally avoidable thawing wet snow. Above 600m, the fells remain covered by a substantial amount of snow. The depth of which rises with height with an average of around 25cm at 900m. The actual depth, though, varies considerably from nothing at all on large areas of fellside to drifts of over 100cm above 900m in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from wet, bare rock to energy sapping deep soft wet snow, although this has been compacted on popular routes. Above 800m are patches of ice and frozen snow which walkers should expect to encounter above the snowline. Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with windslab which has not yet bonded to the surface beneath making such slopes unstable. Milder temperatures are helping to consolidate it, but it needs another freeze to stabilise this snowpack; in the meanwhile such slopes must be treated with extreme caution. Cracks had appeared in the cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes which have been filled with fresh snow; milder temperatures will weaken such cornices, so keep well back from the edge and advise others with less experience to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in full winter condition being covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential. Good navigational skills are also essential for those going above the snowline as deep snow hiding landmarks combined with low cloud make route finding challenging and white-outs a possibility.
17th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit plateau 1.3 -7.0 26.8 SSE 22.0 Light rain was falling at all levels causing a particularly rapid thaw below 500m. Above 500m, the fells are covered by a substantial amount of snow. The depth of which rises with height with an average of around 25cm at 700m. The actual depth, though, varies considerably from nothing at all on windblown aspects to drifts of over 100cm above 900m in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from wet, bare rock to frozen snow and ice to energy sapping deep soft wet snow, although this has been compacted on popular routes. Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with loose spindrift and windslab. This is lying on top of compacted neve so such slopes are currently unstable. Hopefully, today's light rain and milder temperatures if combined with another freeze will help to stabilise this snowpack; in the meanwhile such slopes must be treated with extreme caution. Cracks have appeared in the extensive cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, and milder temperatures will weaken them further, so keep well back from the edge and advise others with less experience to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in full winter condition being covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential. Good navigational skills are also essential for those going above the snowline as deep snow hiding landmarks combined with low cloud make route finding challenging and white-outs a possibility. Eg the Gough Memorial marking the route to Striding Edge is completely covered by snow and the assessor turned back today before reaching the trig point owing to the total lack of visibility.
16th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.3 -10.4 18.2 W 15.4 Above 400m, the fells are covered by a substantial amount of snow. The depth of which rises with height with an average of around 25cm at 700m. The actual depth, though, varies considerably from only a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects, which has often turned to ice, to drifts of over 100cm above 900m in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from frozen snow and ice to energy sapping deep soft snow, although this is being compacted on popular routes. Some northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, such as the exits to Swirral and Striding Edges, are covered with loose spindrift and windslab. This is lying on top of compacted neve so such slopes are currently unstable and must be treated with caution. Cracks had appeared in the extensive cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, although some have now filled with spindrift, so keep well back from the edge and advise others with less experience to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in full winter condition being covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the substantial amount of frozen snow and ice on the summit plateau. Good navigational skills are also essential for those going above the snowline as deep snow hiding landmarks combined with low cloud make route finding challenging and white-outs a possibility. Eg the Gough Memorial marking the exit to Striding Edge is completely covered by snow.
15th Feb 2014 Swirral Edge c810m -1.2 -11.2 39.6 20.8 Above 400m, the fells are covered by a substantial amount of snow. Below 500m this is mainly wet. Above 500m, snow depth rises with height with an average of around 25cm at 700m. The actual depth, however, varies considerably from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects - such as large areas of the summit plateau - to drifts of over 100cm above 900m in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from energy sapping deep soft snow, sometimes with a frozen crust, to frozen snow and ice. On northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m is a large amount of loose spindrift and windslab. This is lying on top of compacted neve so such slopes are currently extremely unstable and must be treated with extreme caution. Cracks have appeared in the extensive cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge and advise others with less experience to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the substantial amount of frozen snow and ice on both the approach to as well as the summit plateau itself. Deep snow hiding landmarks combined with low cloud make navigation challenging and white-outs a possibility; indeed the assessor turned back on Swirral Edge owing to lack of visibility and concern over the stability of the snowpack.
14th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.0 -12.2 35.2 S 22.5 Snow is falling and is forecast to be persistent during the afternoon so walkers should expect significant accumulations of fresh snow driven in on strong S to SE winds on Saturday. On Friday, prior to this fresh snow, there were only patches of wet snow below 400m. Above 400m, snow depth rises with height although actual depth varies considerably from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects - such as large areas of the summit plateau - to drifts of over 100cm in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions therefore vary from energy sapping deep soft snow, sometimes with a frozen crust, to frozen snow and ice. A large amount of loose spindrift and windslab up to 60cm deep has accumulated on northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on top of compacted neve. Such slopes are currently extremely unstable and must be treated with extreme caution. Cracks have appeared in the extensive cornices that exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge and advise others to do likewise. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the substantial amount of frozen snow and ice on both the approach to as well as the summit plateau itself.
13th Feb 2014 Summit of Catstye Cam -2.3 -14.3 59.9 W 33.4 A substantial amount of fresh snow has fallen in the last 24 hours blown in on gale force westerly winds. The snow level starts at 300m, although is mainly wet below 400m. Above 400m, snow depth rises with height although actual depth varies considerably from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects, that has often turned to ice, to drifts of over 100cm in hollows and especially on east facing aspects. Ground conditions vary from energy sapping deep snow - drifts of 50cm can be encountered at 500m - to frozen snow and ice. A large amount of loose spindrift and windslab up to 60cm deep has accumulated on northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on top of compacted neve. Such slopes are currently extremely unstable and the assessor turned back today on Swirral Edge because of the danger of such a slope sliding. Extensive cornices exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge. Upland tarns, such as Red Tarn, have frozen and are covered with snow but are extremely unsafe to walk on. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of deep (sometimes loose) snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for full winter mountaineering conditions including the ability to assess the stability of the snow. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
12th Feb 2014 Browncove Crags, Helvelyn Fresh snow is still falling and lying as low as 300m on the central fells. This snow is very wet resulting in slippery paths. The depth of snow increases to around 10cm at 500m and an average of 20cm at 700m, but with much deeper patches of up to 90cm in drifts and hollows above this level.The strong winds with falling snow make for very unpleasant walking conditions. A large amount of loose, unstable windslab up to 60cm deep has accumulated on northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on top of compacted neve. Extensive cornices exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge above these slopes. Exposed wind-scoured areas are often free of snow, but the ground is covered with large amounts of ice instead. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of deep snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for full winter mountaineering conditions. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells and going above the snowline. For those going onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
11th Feb 2014 Swirral Edge -1.6 -6.2 18.3 6.6 Fresh snow has fellen and is lying as low as 350m to the east of Helvellyn, although this level does vary throughout the park. The depth of snow increases to around 10cm at 500m and an average of 20cm at 700m, but with much deeper patches of up to 90cm in drifts and hollows above this level. A large amount of loose, unstable windslab up to 60cm deep has accumulated on northeast through to southeast facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on top of compacted neve. The assesor had to turn back on Swirral Edge today due to the considerable amount of steep windlab, creating dangerous conditions. Extensive cornices exist above northeast through to southeast facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge above these slopes. Exposed wind-scoured areas are often free of snow, but the ground is covered with large amounts of ice instead. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of deep snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for full winter mountaineering conditions. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells and going above the snowline. For those going onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
10th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.0 -9.2 18.3 W 13.5 The snowline varies considerably depending on aspect, with a dusting of snow down to 400m to the east of Helvellyn but the majority of snow and ice on the fells is above 500m. The depth increases rapidly with height and above 500m there is a large of amount of ice on paths overlain by fresh, loose snow. At 600m the depth averages 10-20cm, but with much deeper patches of up to 90cm in drifts and hollows. A large amount of loose windslab up to 30cm deep has accumulated on east through to north facing aspects above 800m, where it is lying on top of compacted neve. The strong SW winds have also resulted in some large cornices above east through to north facing slopes, so keep well back from the edge in these areas. Exposed wind-scoured areas are often free of snow, but the ground is covered with large amounts of ice instead. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the ridges of Blencathra are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of snow and ice. Exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for full winter conditions. Full winter clothing, footwear and equipment - including ice axe and crampons - are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells and going above the snowline.
9th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.6 -10.1 41.9 22 There is no snow below 500m. Between 500m and 600m the snow is wet and thawing on the paths. Above 600m the snow is soft and varies in depth from 5cm at 600m up to 20cm at 900m although there are patches of very deep snow in hollows and drifts. The soft snow underfoot results in some effort required. There is also some windslab on the edges. The strong SW winds have resulted in some large cornices on the summit edges so please keep well back. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are in winter condition and covered by a substantial amount of snow, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for full winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing steep ground an ice axe and crampons are essential. Crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level as there is frozen snow on the summit plateau. The conditions currently make navigation challenging and white outs are a possibility.
8th Feb 2014 Green Gable -0.2 -19.2 31.2 S 65.3 The Lakeland fells, generally, have snow cover above 650m. Today the fells had blizzard conditions. The assessor (citing Health and Safety) ‘bottled it’ at Green Gable with the wind gusting at over 60mph with driving snow and poor visibility. The strong southerly wind was dropping substantial amounts of windslab onto north through to north western aspects which was up to 1.5m deep in places. The average snow depth was about 10cm. On exposed higher level areas above 800m the ground is often scoured of snow and is icy. On Helvellyn, large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges and the edges of Blencathra are covered with a substantial amount of snow and ice and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramp of Swirral Edge in particular has a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of this.
7th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit There has been a slight thaw at all levels, but a significant amount of snow remains on the fells above 600m.The depth increases with height but varies depending on the scouring on the wind, with exposed ground holding a couple of centimetres whereas sheltered east through to north facing slopes have depths of up to 90cm in drifts and hollows. Large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are covered with a substantial amount of snow and ice and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramp of Swirral Edge in particular has a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of this. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
6th Feb 2014 Swirral Edge 0.8 -2.3 5.1 3.8 With more snow expected on Thursday night above 700m, the following conditions could change markedly, with windslab expected on east facing aspects: There has been a slight thaw at all levels, but a significant amount of snow remains on the fells above 600m.The depth increases with height but varies depending on the scouring on the wind, with exposed ground holding a couple of centimetres and sheltered east through to north facing slopes with depths of up to 90cm in drifts and hollows. Large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are covered with a substantial amount of snow and ice and exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramp of Swirral Edge in particular has a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of this. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going onto steep or technical ground, an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
5th Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -10.8 38.5 SSE 15.4 There has been a thaw below 600m leaving only patches of wet snow below this height and since rain was falling as the assessor left, these could be gone by Thursday. Above 600m, snow depth increases with height although the actual depth varies enormously from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects to 90cm in drifts on east through to north facing slopes. An average would be around 20cm at 900m. Below 900m, the snowpack is mainly soft making trudging through it laborious, although it has been compacted on popular routes. A hazard on such routes are weak snow bridges over drainage channels that can drop you up to 60cm if they give way. Above 900m, were increasing patches of neve, especially on the exit to the edges; although windslab was also in evidence on such north to east facing aspects. Snow was falling on strong SSE winds as the assessor left the summit. Large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are now in winter condition covered by a substantial amount of snow and ice, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, full winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the fact that the summit plateau was covered in frozen snow. Deep snow combined with low cloud and high winds make navigation challenging and white-outs a possibility. For those interested in the weather stats, the wind was far stronger (c60-70mph) on the way up & down. On the summit plateau the winds were rotaring and coming from the S to the NE (hence low average speed)
4th Feb 2014 On the ridge between Low and High Spying Howe approaching Striding Edge -0.9 -11.2 49.2 S 34.7 There is little snow below 450m. Between 450m and 550m there are only patches of wet snow on paths. About one to two cm of fresh snow has fallen above 550m adding to existing accumulations. Above 550m, snow depth increases with height although the actual depth varies enormously from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects to 90cm in drifts on east through to north facing slopes. An average would be around 20cm at 900m. The snowpack is mainly soft making trudging through it laborious, although it has been compacted on popular routes. As the freezing level rises and falls, also expect to encounter ice on paths. With the recent snow being deposited on strong SW to SE winds, there is windslab which was especially noticeable on east through to north facing slopes. Similarly large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are now in winter condition covered by a substantial amount of snow, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, full winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the amount of frozen snow on the summit plateau on Monday. Deep snow combined with low cloud and high winds make navigation challenging and white-outs a possibility; indeed the fell top assessor turned back on the ridge before High Spying Howe owing to lack of visibilty.
3rd Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.6 -11.5 51.6 SSE 28.6 There is little snow below 400m. Between 400m and 550m there are only patches of wet snow on paths. Above 550m snow depth increases with height although the actual depth varies enormously from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects to 90cm in drifts on east through to north facing aspects. An average would be between 15 and 20cm at 900m. Below 800m, the snowpack is mainly soft and wet making trudging through it laborious, although it has been compacted on popular routes. Above 800m along with soft snow were patches of neve. However, the snowpack is not that stable with windslab especially noticeable on east through to north facing slopes. Similarly large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. The summit plateau was covered with frozen snow. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are now in winter condition covered by a substantial amount of snow, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in, and equipped for, full winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential; indeed crampons are strongly recommended for anyone going above the freezing level owing to the amount of frozen snow on the summit plateau today.
2nd Feb 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.4 -11.2 32.7 WSW 27.9 There has been an overnight thaw so there is now little snow on paths below 400m. Between 400m and 550m the snow is very wet and thawing. Above 550m the fells are covered with a substantial amount of snow. The depth of which varies enormously from a couple of centimeters on windblown aspects to 90cm in drifts on east through to north facing aspects. An average would be between 15 and 20cm at 900m. The snowpack is mainly soft often with a frozen crust making trudging through it laborious. The recent snow has not bonded to previous accumulations; this was especially noticeable on east through to north facing slopes where the top 3 - 5cm was windslab, making the snowpack unstable. Similarly large cornices exist above east to north facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are now in winter condition covered by a substantial amount of mainly soft snow, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for full winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential as are good navigational skills. Deep snow obscuring features, combined with low cloud and high winds will make navigation challenging above the snowline. Climbers: please note that the gullies are full of loose snow topped with unstable cornices so are not in condition.
1st Feb 2014 Near the top of Brown Cove Crags c750m -1.8 -10.8 30.3 SSE 16.6 There is fresh snow above 250m which was thawing below 350m. Above 550m this fresh snow has added to existing accumulations. Snow depth increases with height to reach up to 90cm in drifts on east through to north facing aspects. Although such depth is the exception, above 700m the snow is regularly between 15 and 25cm with occasional deeper drifts of up to 50cm; even at 500m there were drifts of 40cm. The composition of the snowpack varies although generally it is soft often with a frozen crust making trudging through it laborious - extra Cream Eggs are required (other calorific snacks are available!). Below 500m, there had been a thaw freeze with frozen snow and ice on paths. Both Striding and Swirral Edges on Thursday were already covered by a large amount of snow, including loose windslab. There will now be substantially more, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for full winter conditions. Cornices exist above east-facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential as are good navigational skills. Deep snow obscuring features, combined with fresh powder snow, forecasted low cloud and high winds will make navigation challenging above the snowline with white-outs a distinct possibility. The Assessor turned back on Saturday at 750m before reaching the top of Brown Cove crags owing to total lack of visibility and the proximity of steep cliffs! For those interested in the weather stats, the wind was measured in a relatively sheltered area at around 750m.
31st Jan 2014 Near Low Spying How on the ridge approaching Striding Edge -2.8 -15.3 SSE 77.1 48.3 At the time of writing (1-45pm), fresh snow is falling and settling at all levels although it is readily turning to slush below 250m. Saturday's conditions will be different from the following report depending upon how much of the forecasted heavy precipitation falls as snow or rain. On Friday, above 550m the fresh snow is falling on a considerable amount of existing snow the depth of which increases with height to reach up to 80cm in drifts on east facing slopes. Although such depth is the exception, above 700m the snow is regularly between 10 and 20cm with occasional deeper drifts of up to 40cm. The composition of the snowpack varies with compacted snow and ice on popular paths although the majority was soft snow often with a frozen crust. Both Striding and Swirral Edges on Thursday were covered by a large amount of snow, including loose windslab which on Saturday will be covered with a potentially large amount of fresh powder, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for full winter conditions. Cornices exist above east-facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential. On Saturday it is likely that there will be a large amount of fresh powder, so walkers going above the snowline should allow for the extra time, and energy, that plodding through this requires. Deep snow combined with fresh powder snow, forecasted low cloud and high winds will make navigation challenging above the snowline with white-outs a distinct possibility. The Assessor turned back on Friday at 750m before reaching Striding Edge owing to lack of visibility and gusts approaching 80mph.
30th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -4.7 -13.1 15.3 E 5.7 There is no snow on paths below 500m. Above 500m the fells are covered with a considerable amount of snow the depth of which increases with height to reach up to 80cm in drifts on east facing slopes. Although such depth is the exception, above 700m the snow is regularly between 10 and 20cm with occasional deeper drifts of up to 40cm. The composition of the snowpack varies from compacted snow and ice on popular paths to patches of neve with the majority being soft snow often with a frozen crust. Both Striding and Swirral Edges are covered by a large amount of snow, including loose windslab - especially on the final east facing exits, so exposed routes such as these should only be tackled by those experienced in and equipped for winter conditions. Cornices exist above east-facing slopes and gullies, so please keep well back from the edge. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential. Climbers: unfortunately, the snowpack has not yet consolidated and with east facing slopes and gullies also topped with unstable cornices, such routes are not in condition.
29th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.9 -10.2 26.9 E 22.9 There has been a slight thaw, but this has made little overall difference to the snowpack and there is a considerable amount of snow on the high fells. Above 500m the depth increases gradually with height, with a blanket coverage of 5-10cm at 600m and 10-20cm above 700m, with occasional deeper drifts of up to 40cm. The deepest accumulations are on sheltered east-facing aspects, where depths of 80cm in drifts and hollows above 800m are common and extensive cornices exist above east-facing slopes and gullies. West-facing aspects were more windswept when the snow was falling and the snowline starts at around 600m with the coverage varying between exposed, ice-covered ground and deep banks and drifts up to 50cm deep. With the freezing level expected to drop to around 200m on Thursday, walkers should expect to encounter large amounts of ice on paths above this level. With the east-facing slopes and gullies loaded with considerable amounts of unstable windslab, often topped with substantial cornices, these areas should be avoided until the snowpack stabilizes. Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are holding large amounts of deep windslab and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exits from both ridges are guarded by steep, unavoidable ramps of snow. An ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these ridges. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
28th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.7 -4.8 14.7 SE 7.4 More snow has fallen, and is continuing to fall, adding to the already substantial amounts on the fells . Above 450m the depth increases gradually with height, with a blanket coverage of 10-20cm at 600m and 20-30cm above 700m. The deepest accumulations are on sheltered east-facing aspects, where depths of 80cm in drifts and hollows are common and extensive cornices exist above east=facing slopes and gullies. At present, on more exposed west-facing aspects the snowline starts at around 600m and the coverage varies between exposed, ice-covered ground and deep banks and drifts up to 50cm deep. However, with the wind changing to easterly and strong winds expected with more snow, winter conditions should be expected on all aspects down to around 300m on Wednesday. With the east-facing slopes and gullies loaded with considerable amounts of unstable windslab, often topped with substantial cornices, these areas should be avoided until the snowpack stabilizes. Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are holding large amounts of deep windslab and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exits from both ridges are guarded by steep, unavoidable ramps of snow. An ice axe is essential - and crampons recommended - for the safe negotiation of these ridges. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
27th Jan 2014 Helvellyn Lower Man -0.2 -9.1 29.7 W 24.7 More snow has fallen, and is continuing to fall, adding to the already substantial amounts on the fells. The coverage and snowline varies depending on aspect, with the snowline down to 450m and more extensive coverage on east-facing aspects. On more exposed wet-facing aspects the snowline starts at around 600m and the coverage varies between exposed, ice-covered ground and deep banks and drifts up to 50cm deep. On the eastern side of the Helvellyn range drifts of up to 80cm are commonplace above 600m. East-facing slopes and gullies are loaded with considerable amounts of windslab, often topped with substantial cornices and these areas should be avoided until the snowpack stabilizes. Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are holding large amounts of deep windslab and névé and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exits from both ridges are guarded by steep, unavoidable ramps of snow and ice. Ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these ridges. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
26th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.2 -10.6 30.2 SW 24.1 A significant amount of fresh snow is lying on the fells above 450m. The depth increases with height to around 5cm at 600m and drifts of up to 30cm are common at 750m. The fresh snow has been blown in on strong southerly winds and the largest accumulations are on northwest through to northeast facing aspects. The snowline on southwest through to southeast facing aspects is around 600m. Above 800m a considerable amount of loose windslab (up to 80cm) has accumulated on leeward slopes where it is lying on compacted old snow making the snowpack very unstable. Large cornices have also formed above northwest through to northeast facing slopes. Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are holding large amounts of deep windslab and névé and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exits from both ridges are guarded by steep, unavoidable ramps of snow and ice. Ice axe and crampons are essential for the safe negotiation of these ridges. There has been a slight thaw below 600m, which is expected to refreeze and walkers should be prepared to encounter large area of ice on paths on Monday. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
25th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.3 -8.7 54.5 NW 34.9 There has been an extensive thaw at all levels and below 800m there are only isolated and generally avoidable patches of snow. Above 800m some deep drifts of up to 50cm still remain, particularly on east facing slopes and gullies. Striding Edge retains occasional patches of wet snow with larger areas of deeper snow on the final exit ramp. Swirral Edge is holding sigificantly more snow, with the final exit ramp covered with a steep and unavoidable section of deep snow, for which an ice axe is essential. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, especially on east facing slopes, an ice axe is essential and crampons are strongly recommended in case the snowpack re-freezes overnight.
24th Jan 2014 Catstye Cam 0.2 -9.4 39.7 S 31.7 The snowpack is thawing at all levels today but a substantial amount of snow remains above 450m. There is a patchy covering of up to several centimetres at 500m and a blanket of around 5cm at 750m with up to 20cm in drifts and hollows at this level. Above 750m there are drifts of up to 60cm on east facing aspects and fresh windslab has accumulated on east through to north facing aspects. Cornices have bult above these slopes so please keep well back from the edge. Both Striding and Swirral Edge are hoding large amounts of snow. The final exit ramps from both ridges onto Helvellyn are covered with steep and unavoidable sections of deep snow and these routes such only by tackled by those experience and equipped for winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, especially on east facing slopes, an ice axe is essential and crampons are strongly recommended in case the snowpack re-freezes overnight.
23rd Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.1 -12.9 36.5 NW 29.7 Fresh snow is lying on the fells above 400m and at the time of writing this report snow is continuiing to fall. The depth increases with height to several centimetres at 500m to a blanket covering of up to 10cm at 750m. Above 750m drifts of up to 60cm are lying on frozen older snow and the snowpack is currently very unstable. Strong westerly and northwesterly winds have blown large amounts of windslab onto east through to south facing slopes and cornices are developing above these slopes. Both Striding and Swirral Edge are hoding large amounts of snow and ice, with exposed rocks coated with verglas. The final exit ramps from both ridges onto Helvellyn are covered with steep and unavoidable sections of deep windslab and ice and these routes such only by tackled by those experience and equipped for winter conditions. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground, especially on east facing slopes, an ice axe is essential and crampons are also essential.
22nd Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.9 -6.7 25.7 SW 20.7 There is no snow on paths below 750m. Above 750m, snow depth increases with altitude although the actual depth varies enormously from a light covering to drifts of up to 40cm in sheltered hollows and on east facing aspects. The snow was thawing at all levels - it was raining and just above zero degrees on the summit today. Although the snow is mostly wet, patches of compacted snow and ice can be encountered, especially on popular routes. Today, the wet snow made routes simply slippery; however a slight drop in temperature - which is currently forecasted - will make conditions very different as the wet snow freezes. As a result exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter conditions. The small cornices at the tops of east facing slopes were weakening, so please keep well back from the edges. There is currently a marked difference between the Spring-like conditions found at low level and those experienced above the snowline, which walkers should be prepared for. These differences are compounded by the low cloud making navigation above the snowline challenging. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground especially on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow and ice - an ice axe is essential and crampons strongly recommended.
21st Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.0 -13.0 52.6 S 33.3 There is little snow on paths below 750m. Above 750m, snow depth increases with altitude to reach up to 45cm in drifts in sheltered hollows and on east facing aspects. The actual depth, though, varies enormously depending on aspect with an average of around 5cm at 950m. Popular routes are covered with compacted snow and ice making the going treacherous - walking poles are useful here. Elsewhere, colder temperatures have hardened the snowpack, although there was evidence of windslab on north through to east facing slopes. Exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter conditions. There are small cornices at the tops of east facing slopes, so please keep well back from the edges. There is currently a marked difference in conditions between the valleys and the alpine nature above the snowline; this is compounded by the low cloud making navigation above the snowline challenging. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground especially on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow and ice - an ice axe is essential and crampons strongly recommended.
20th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -7.2 15.2 SW 12.7 A light dusting of snow has fallen overnight and settled above 750m adding slightly to existing accumulations. There is little snow on paths below 750m and what remains is thawing. Above 750m, snow depth increases with altitude to reach up to 45cm in drifts on east facing aspects, although actual depth varies enormously depending on aspect with an average of around 5cm at 950m. Above 800m there were patches of compacted snow and ice on paths. Striding Edge had a mixture of compacted snow, rime ice, soft snow, verglas (thin ice) and puddles of water on rocks! Basically, everything! However, owing to the icy conditions exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter conditions. There are small cornices at the tops of east facing slopes, so please keep well back from the edges. There is currently a marked difference between the Spring-like valleys and winter conditions above the snowline, which walkers should be prepared for. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground especially on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow - an ice axe is essential and crampons strongly recommended.
19th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -6.6 12.1 WSW 9.8 Fresh snow has fallen above 700m. There is little snow on paths below 700m. Snow depth increases with altitude to reach up to 45cm in drifts on east facing aspects, although actual depth varies enormously depending on aspect. The snowpack is mostly wet making paths and routes simply slippery; however be prepared to encounter ice and frozen snow should temperatures at altitude drop slightly - which they are currently forecasted to do; this will make conditions very different. For this reason exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter conditions. There are small cornices at the tops of east facing slopes, so please keep well back from the edges. There is now quite a marked difference in conditions above and below the snowline, which walkers should be prepared for. Unfortunately, several were not on Sunday. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground especially on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow - an ice axe is essential and crampons should also be carried in case this snow refreezes.
18th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.4 -8.1 49.3 S 31.5 There is little snow on paths below 800m and what remains is wet and thawing. Above 800m, the snow is also mainly wet but thawing more slowly (it was plus 1.4 degrees on the summit today). The snow's depth increases with altitude although coverage varies from a light dusting to drifts of up to 40cm in hollows and on east facing aspects. Being wet, the snow largely makes paths and routes simply slippery; however be prepared to encounter ice and frozen snow should temperatures at altitude drop slightly, making conditions very different. There are small cornices at the tops of east facing slopes, so please keep back from the summit edge. Despite the mild conditions in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below zero (it was minus 8.1 degrees today), so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground especially on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow - an ice axe is essential and crampons should also be carried in case this snow refreezes.
17th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -7.8 21.1 SW 16.7 As the assessor left Helvellyn, fresh snow and sleet was falling above 750m, although was only settling above 850m since between 750m and 850m precipitation altered between snow, sleet and rain. The fresh snow has added an average of 1 to 2cm at 900m. There is little snow on paths below 750m. Above 750m, the snow is mainly wet and its depth increases with altitude although coverage varies from a light dusting (which was often thawing) to drifts of up to 40cm in hollows and on east facing aspects. Some of the fresh snow, especially above 900m, lies on top of patches of hard, frozen snow - making the snowpack unstable. One such place is the exit to Swirral Edge. The summit plateau was covered in a mainly thin layer of soft, wet snow. This will be treacherous should it freeze overnight Despite the mild conditions in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below zero (it was minus 7.8 degrees today), so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of deep, unavoidable snow - an ice axe is essential and crampons should also be carried in case this snow refreezes.
16th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -8.7 33.2 SSE 20.9 There is no snow on paths below 700m. Above 700m, snow cover varies from nothing at all on windswept areas and many south facing slopes, to large patches of mainly wet snow to drifts of up to 30cm in hollows and on east facing aspects. Although most of the snow was wet, above 900m there were also patches of hard, frozen snow. One such place was the exit to Swirral Edge, where conditions were different compared to Striding Edge where the snowpack was softer and thinner. This illustrates how conditions can vary within a few meters depending upon how the snow has settled and when the temperature hovers around zero - as it was on the summit today. There were patches of verglas (thin ice) on the summit plateau together with soft snow. Despite the milder conditions in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below zero (it was minus 8 degrees today), so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground - such as the exit to Swirral Edge where there is a section of unavoidable snow, which was frozen today - an ice axe is essential and crampons should also be carried in case more frozen snow is encountered.
15th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 4.8 -0.2 28.0 SW 18.4 Sadly, the Alpine conditions of Tuesday were short-lived and the snow and ice has been replaced by rain, slush and saturated ground. The snowpack was thawing rapidly at all levels today and there is no snow below 700m. Above this level, large patches of wet snow remain reaching up to 30cm depth in hollows and drifts on east-facing aspects, interspersed with exposed wet ground . Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge still have large pockets of snow between rocky outcrops and the final upper section of Swirral Edge retains a large amount of steep unavoidable snow which will take some time to thaw. An ice axe is strongly recommended for the safe negotiation of this section. Despite the milder conditions summit temperatures are often well below zero with the windchill and full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells.
14th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.8 -9.6 17.5 NW 14.8 A significant amount of fresh snow is lying on the fells above 500m. The depth increases with height to 10cm at 600m and up to 20cm at 800m. This is a blanket covering on all aspects, although northwesterly winds this morning have deposited considerable amounts of windslab onto south through to east facing slopes, adding to the overall snow depth. On these slopes - such as the east face of the Helvellyn range - loose windslab up to 80cm deep is lying on compacted neve and ice, creating very unstable conditions underfoot. On windswept aspects, such as the summit plateaus, the coverage alternates between around 30cm of windslab and bare ground which is covered with ice. Both Swirral and Striding Edge are covered with a significant amount of snow and ice and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone heading onto the fells and going above the snowline. For those going onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
13th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.8 -7.0 34.2 18.4 The snowline has retreated to 750m and even above this level the coverage is patchy. However, there is a large amount of ice on footpaths above 500m. Although the snow coverage is patchy at most heights, the depth can reach up to 40cm in drifts and hollows, particularly at the top of east facing slopes. Both Swirral and Striding Edge still retain a significant amount of snow and ice and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the fells and above the snowline. For those going onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
12th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.4 -10.8 35.8 S 27.8 Snow and ice is lying on the fells above 450m. At most levels, the snow is just a few centimetres deep but can reach up to 40cm in drifts and hollows above 750m and is often lying on more compacted older snow and ice. There is currently a large amount of ice on footpaths above 450m. Both Swirral and Striding Edge have significant accumulations of snow and ice and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the fells and above the snowline. For those going onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
11th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -2.3 -10.8 19.5 NW 17.6 More fresh snow has fallen overnight and is lying on the fells above 450m. Below 750m the depth of the snow is just a few centimetres and does not present any particular difficulties other than making walking surfaces slippery. Above 750m the fresh snow is lying on older more compacted snow and ice, with a total depth of up to 40cm in drifts and hollows. Exposed rocks above 750m are also covered with verglas. Both Swirral and Striding Edge have significant accumulations of snow and ice and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. An ice axe and crampons are essential in current conditions for these ridges. The summit plateau of Helvellyn has an intermittent covering of large snow patches, with bare ground where the snow has been stripped by the wind. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the fells and above the snowline.
10th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.3 -8.1 37.5 W 29.5 The recent snow was thawing at all levels today and the snowline has receded to 750m. At this level there is just a patchy covering of wet snow. Above 850m there are still some large areas of snow with looser and wet material lying on top of more consolidated neve from previous accumulations. The summit plateau of Helvellyn has an intermittent covering of large snow patches, with bare ground where the snow has been stripped by the wind. With the freezing level expected to drop to low levels overnight and through Saturday, walkers should be prepared to encounter large areas of ice on the fells as the thawing snow and rain saturate the ground and walking surfaces. Both Swirral and Striding Edge have significant accumulations of snow and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. An ice axe and crampons are essential in current conditions for these sections. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the fells and above the snowline.
9th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -0.9 -9.8 26.8 NW 21.7 Fresh snow is lying on the fells above 600m. Below 750m the snow is thawing and wet and does not reach any significant depth. Above 750m there is a blanket covering of around 10cm, which increases with height to reach up to 50cm in drifts and hollows above 800m. Above 850m this fresh loose snow is often lying on patches of compacted older snow and is very unstable. Both Swirral and Striding Edge have significant accumulations of fresh snow and should only be tackled by those experienced and equipped for winter conditions. The final exit ramps of both edges - but particularly Swirral Edge - are covered with sections of steep, unavoidable snow and ice where recent accidents have occurred. An ice axe and crampons are essential in current conditions for these sections. Full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the fells and above the snowline.
8th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.6 -7.5 23.7 SW 15.7 There is now little snow below 875m; thus, although the thaw continues it is at a much slower rate as the remaining snow is not far off summit height. Above 875m the remaining snow is mostly wet, although especially above 900m, patches of compacted snow and ice can be encountered and these, obviously, will take longer to thaw. The depth of snow varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 35cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. Although much of the snow has gone, some routes still require the use of an ice axe. An example of such a location is the exit to Swirral Edge which is covered by a bank of steep, unavoidable compacted snow, where recent accidents have occured. Crampons should also be carried here in case this snow refreezes.
8th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.6 -7.5 23.7 SW 15.7 There is now little snow below 875m; thus, although the thaw continues it is at a much slower rate as the remaining snow is not far off summit height. Above 875m the remaining snow is mostly wet, although especially above 900m, patches of compacted snow and ice can be encountered and these, obviously, will take longer to thaw. The depth of snow varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 35cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. Although much of the snow has gone, some routes still require the use of an ice axe. An example of such a location is the exit to Swirral Edge which is covered by a bank of steep, unavoidable compacted snow, where recent accidents have occured. Crampons should also be carried here in case this snow refreezes.
7th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.8 -8.2 50.9 SW 40.4 The bad news (for those who like winter conditions) is that there has been an extensive thaw over the past 48 hours. The good news (for those who do not like the snow) is that there has been an extensive thaw. There is now little snow on paths below 850m. Above 850m the remaining snow is mostly wet, although patches of compacted snow and ice can often be encountered as these, obviously, take longer to thaw. In addition it was sleeting as the assessor left the summit. The depth of snow varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 35cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. The small cornices that have formed over north through to east facing slopes have further reduced in size and weakened, so please keep well back from the edges. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. Although much of the snow has gone, there is quite a difference in conditions above and below the snowline. Some routes still require the use of an ice axe. An example of such a location is the exit to Swirral Edge which is covered by a bank of steep, unavoidable snow. Crampons should also be carried here in case this snow refreezes.
6th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 1.8 --8.4 50.3 SSW 39.8 There is a thaw at all levels - it was 1.8 degrees and raining on the summit today. Little snow now remains below 800m. Above 800m the remaining snow is now mostly wet, although patches of compacted snow and ice can be encountered. The depth of snow varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as large areas of the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 45cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. Above 800m paths are either wet or covered in wet snow, so do expect to encounter ice should this refreeze overnight. The small cornices that have formed over north through to east facing slopes are weakening, so please keep well back from the edges. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe is essential. An example of such a location is the exit to Swirral Edge which is covered by a bank of steep, unavoidable snow. Crampons should also be carried here in case this snow refreezes. For those interested in the readings - it certainly seemed windier on the way up than the summit figures suggest!
5th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit -1.3 -10.3 36 S 26 At the time of writing (3pm) fresh snow is falling and settling on the fells above 600m. Below 750m there is currently just a skittering of snow. Above 750m the total snow depth, though, varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as large areas of the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 60cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. The snowpack is now mainly dry and slowly consolidating although there is also windslab on east facing slopes. The snow has been compacted on popular paths, so do expect to encounter ice on such routes. The summit plateau is covered in verglas (thin ice) and this will be treacherous when combined with stronger winds. Cornices are forming over north through to east facing slopes, so please keep well back from the edges. Conditions are now very different above and below the snowline. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe is essential. Crampons should also be carried in case frozen or consolidated snow is encountered. Exposed routes, such as Swirral and Striding Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equiped for, winter conditions.
4th Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.1 -6.9 26 16 Fresh snow has fallen and settled on the fells above 600m, adding on average 2-3cm at 900m. Below 750m, this is thawing. Above 750m, the fresh snow has added to existing accumulations. Total snow depth, though, varies enormously from virtually nothing on windswept areas - such as large areas of the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 60cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. The snowpack is mainly wet and there is also windslab on east facing slopes. The summit plateau is covered in verglas (thin ice) and this will be treacherous when combined with stronger winds. Cornices are forming over east facing slopes, so please keep well back from the edges. Conditions are now very different above and below the snowline. Full winter clothing and footware are required for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe is essential. Crampons should also be carried in case the snow freezes overnight. Exposed routes, such as Swirral and Striding Edges, should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equiped for, winter conditions.
3rd Jan 2014 By the Bad Step on Striding Edge 820m 1.8 -7.3 53 27 The thaw continues, although since the remaining snow is above 750m it is a very slow thaw. The snow depth varies enormously from hardly anything on windswept areas, to drifts of up to 40cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. The remaining snow is mainly wet, slippery and unstable, although occasional patches of harder snow and ice can be encountered on paths. The summit plateau on Thursday was a mixture of bare, wet ground and wet snow and from conditions encountered today it can be assumed that this is still the case. So expect to encounter ice should this refreeze overnight. The Assessor turned back on the "Bad Step" along Striding Edge (just short of the summit) owing to the gusty winds emanating from the rota after the SSW winds had hit Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike. This created winds along the top of Striding Edge varying from a gentle breeze to sudden gusts exceeding 50mph and it was obviously a lot stronger on the summit (as were some of the gusts on the way up!) Although it continues to be mild in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below zero (minus 7.2 degrees today at 820m), so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground - such as the final exit ramp to Swirral Edge which has a section of deep, unavoidable snow and ice - an ice axe is essential and crampons should be carried in case the snow has refrozen overnight.
2nd Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.9 -7.8 45 34 There has been an overnight thaw and this is continuing. There is now little snow below 750m. Above 750m, coverage varies enormously from hardly anything on windswept areas, to drifts of up to 40cm in sheltered hollows and on east through to north-facing aspects. This snow is mainly wet, slippery and unstable, although patches of harder snow and ice can be encountered such as on the final exit ramp from Swirral Edge. The summit plateau is a mixture of bare, wet ground and wet snow. Should this refreeze overnight it will be treacherous when combined with the forecasted strong winds. Although it feels quite autumnal in the valleys, the summit windchill remains well below zero (minus 7.8 degrees today), so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground - such as the final exit ramp to Swirral Edge which has a section of deep, unavoidable snow and ice - an ice axe is essential and crampons should be carried in case the snow refreezes.
1st Jan 2014 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -5.0 24.8 S 39.8 More fresh snow has fallen on the fells and the snowline is currently 600m. However, the snowpack is currently wet and thawing at all levels. Between 600m and 800m this wet snow does not present any particular difficulties other than making walking surfaces slippery. Above 800m, however, there are drifts of up to 50cm with the largest deposits on east through to north-facing aspects such as the final exit ramps from Striding and Swirral Edge. This will take some time to thaw and anyone heading onto the high fells on Thursday should be prepared to encounter snow and ice above 800m. Striding Edge and Swirral Edge should only be tackled by those who are suitably equipped and experienced for winter conditions. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge in particular is guarded by a steep section of unavoidable deep snow and ice and an ice axe and crampons is essential for the safe negotiation of this. Although it remains relatively mild in the valleys and the recent strong winds have eased, gale-force winds are still common on the summits and the windchill is well below zero, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
31st Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -0.5 -10.0 50.2 SW 39.8 Fresh snow is lying on ground above 500m, albeit wet and currently thawing. This wet snow does not present any particular difficulties other than making walking surfaces slippery. Above 800m, however, several centimetres of fresh windslab is lying on top of previous accumulations, with the largest deposits on east-facing aspects where depths of up to 40cm can be encountered. Anyone heading out onto the fells on New Years Day should be prepared to encounter snow and ice above 800m and be suitably equipped for winter conditions. The freezing level is forecast to fluctuate above and below the high summits, so there are likely to be large areas of ice on walking surfaces and rocks. Striding Edge and Swirral Edge should only be tackled by those who are suitably equipped and experienced for winter conditions. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge in particular is guarded by a steep section of unavoidable deep snow and ice and an ice axe and crampons is essential for the safe negotiation of this. Although it remains relatively mild in the valleys and the recent strong winds have eased, gale-force winds are still common on the summits and the windchill is well below zero, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
30th Dec 2013 No observations were taken from the fells today due to the adverse weather conditions. The heavy rain today is expected to thaw most of the snow lying on the fells. However, anyone heading out onto the fells on Tuesday should be prepared to encounter snow and ice above 800m and be suitably equipped for winter conditions. The freezing level is forecast to drop below the high summits, so there are likely to be large areas of ice on walking surfaces and rocks. Striding Edge and Swirral Edge should only be tackled by those who are suitably equipped and experienced for winter conditions. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge in particular is guarded by a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this. Although it remains relatively mild in the valleys and the recent strong winds have eased, gale-force winds are still common on the summits and the windchill is well below zero, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
29th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -1.2 -8.0 24.2 W 20.8 Snow and ice is lying on the fells above 600m. Below 800m, the snow is only a few centimetres deep at most and does not present any significant difficulties, above 800m the depth varies considerably depending on aspect, with sheltered east-facing aspects holding the greatest accumulations where drifts of up to 40cm may be encountered in hollows. Above 800m exposed ground is also extensively covered with verglas making conditions extremely slippery, especially on technical ground such as Striding Edge and Swirral Edge and these edges should only be tackled by those who are suitably equipped and experienced. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge in particular is guarded by a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this. Although it remains relatively mild in the valleys and the recent strong winds have eased, gale-force winds are still common on the summits and the windchill is well below zero, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
28th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -1.5 -10.0 46.3 W 31.5 Snow and ice is lying on the fells above 600m. There is a combination of ice, re-frozen older snow and an upper layer of fresh graupel (soft hail). The depth varies considerably depending on aspect, with sheltered east-facing aspects holding the greatest accumulations where drifts of up to 40cm may be encountered in hollows. Above 700m the ground is extensively covered with verglas making conditions extremely slippery, especially on technical ground such as Striding Edge and Swirral Edge and these edges should only be tackled by those who are suitably equipped and experienced. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge in particular is guarded by a steep section of unavoidable snow and ice and an ice axe is essential for the safe negotiation of this. Although it remains relatively mild in the valleys and the recent strong winds have eased, gale-force winds are still common on the summits and the windchill is well below zero, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also essential. May we take this opportunity to wish all our readers/followers a very Happy Christmas and many safe, enjoyable and memorable days out on the fells.
27th Dec 2013 Glenridding You'll be unsurprised to read that the fell top assessor did not venture onto the fells today to experience the storm force winds. A thaw of the lying snow and ice at most levels is expected today, but more snow is expected overnight down to around 600m. Therefore, based on the conditions on the 26th of December anyone heading onto the fells on Saturday should be prepared to encounter snow and ice above around 600m. Although it remains quite mild in the valleys, the summit windchill is below zero so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also strongly recommended. May we take this opportunity to wish all our readers/followers a very Happy Christmas and many safe, enjoyable and memorable days out on the fells.
26th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -1.1 -6.0 16.9 W 9.3 Snow and ice are lying on the fells above 500m and more snow is settling above 750m at the time of writing this report, so the following snow depths will increase over the next 24 hours. The current snow cover was blown in on strong southwesterly winds and the coverage varies in depth from hardly anything on windswept areas - such as the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 40cm on east facing slopes. The final exit ramp from Swirral Edge onto Helvellyn has a covering of steep, loose snow and ice. In addition, walking surfaces above 500m have large areas of ice, including the summit plateau of Helvellyn. Although it remains quite mild in the valleys, the summit windchill is below zero so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground - such as Striding and Swirral Edge - an ice axe and crampons are also essential. May we take this opportunity to wish all our readers/followers a very Happy Christmas and many safe, enjoyable and memorable days out on the fells.
25th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 0.2 -7.5 29 SSW 21 Fresh snow has fallen and settled above 550m, although it is slowly thawing below 700m. It is soft snow, much of it fell as hail/graupel, and so has been subject to the recent strong/gale force S-SW winds. Coverage, therefore, varies from hardly anything on windswept areas - such as the summit plateau - to drifts of up to 35cm on east facing slopes. Similarly in sheltered spots above 800m and on east facing slopes - such as the exit to Swirral Edge - some old snow has thawed and frozen; sometimes this is covered with fresh loose snow. In addition, paths above 600m, and especially above 700m, have patches of ice. Although it is still quite mild in the valleys, the summit windchill is below freezing (minus 7.5 today), so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venuring out into the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing steep - especially east facing - slopes, an ice axe should be carried and crampons may also be useful. May we take this opportunity to wish all our readers/followers a very Happy Christmas and many safe, enjoyable and memorable days out on the fells. For those pulling your Christmas crackers before your festive lunch today....you missed a cracking day out in the hills!
24th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -2.3 -14 72 SW 56 Small amounts of fresh hail / graupel were falling and settling on the fells above 600m. This was being blown by the gale force SW winds (stinging anyone out in it!) such that it only settles in sheltered spots and on easterly facing aspects. Much of the old snow has thawed; the small amounts remaining, mainly above 900m again on east facing slopes, have frozen; care needs to be taken here. Above 800m there were intermittent patches of verglas (thin ice) on rocks and paths. Should either the fresh hail/graupel thaw and then refreeze or the heavy rain forecasted Christmas Eve afternoon/evening also freeze at altitude you should expect to encounter ice on paths on Christmas Day depending, obviously, on the freezing level. Full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Although only small amounts of frozen old snow remain - such as on the exit to Swirral Edge - those attempting to climb, or traverse them, should carry an ice axe. For those interested in the wind measurements, the gusts were stronger! With the biting hail, I only measured the wind for a short time to avoid the hail damaging the anemometer (as well as me!)
23rd Dec 2013 Striding Edge near the Headwall 2.2 -6.7 58 SE 20.3 There is a substantial thaw at all levels, especially below 700m. Below 600m there is hardly any snow. Above 600m snow depth rises with height to reach up to 25cm in drifts on east facing slopes. On Sunday, the snow was very soft; owing to today's rain, the snow is now extremely wet. Should the milder temperatures continue, there will be little snow left. Conversely, if temperatures should drop tonight, expect a lot of ice on paths on Christmas Eve owing to the large amount of slush present today. Full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing onto the fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground, an ice axe and crampons should be carried in case the snow has refrozen. Owing to the strong, and more importantly, gusty winds today, the Fell Top Assessor turned back on Strding Edge just before reaching the headwall - so the summit winds would probably have reached 70 to 80 mph.
22nd Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -2.7 -13.2 38.4 WSW 29 Fresh hail and graupel has, and is, falling on the fells. Below 500m is a light dusting that is thawing. Above 500m the snow depth increases with height. However since the snow consists of graupel it is like polystyrene balls and subject to the prevailing wind; actual snow depth, therefore, varies from nothing at all to drifts of up to 30cm on east facing slopes, where it is loose. Above 750m there is extensive verglas (thin ice) on rocks and paths, sometimes this is covered by a layer of graupel making for very slippery conditions. The summit plateau is covered with verglas and this, combined with forcasted strong winds, will make for a treacherous combination. It should be noted that any fresh snow may settle on a layer of graupel, making for an unstable snowpack. Full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing out onto the fells. For those going above the snowline, an ice axe is strongly recommended and crampons carried in case the snowpack thaws and refreezes. Walking poles are also helpful when on icy paths.
21st Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 1.5 -8.5 55.9 SW 40 What a difference 24 hours makes! There has been a dramatic thaw overnight. The only snow remaining is soft and located on sheltered east facing slopes above 900m. Many such patches are avoidable; one exception to this is on the exit to Swirral Edge, so this requires caution, especially should it refreeze. Despite the mild conditions in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below freezing - minus 8.5 degrees C today - so full winter clothing and footware remain essential for those venturing on to the high fells.
20th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 0.7 -10 53.5 WSW 42.1 Below 500m is only a skittering of snow that is rapidly thawing. Between 500m and 700m the light covering is also thawing. Above 700m the snow depth increases with height, although the actual depth varies considerably from nothing at all on aspects subject to the strong westerly winds, such as on the summit plateau, to up to 30cm in east facing drifts. The exits to both Swirral and Striding Edges are covered with loose snow containing spindrift and hail/graupel; in addition many rocks are covered in verglas (thin ice) so care needs to be taken here. Although the summit plateau is largely free of snow, a slight lowering of temperature will create verglas, this combined with the forecasted continuing strong winds would make for a treacherous combination. Although it remains mild in the valleys, the summit windchill is significantly below freezing so full winter clothing and footware is essential for those venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground an ice axe is essential and crampons should be carried in case the snow freezes.
19th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -1.7 -11.0 59.1 37.5 Fresh snow is currently settling on the fells above 400m. The depth of the snow increases gradually with height to drifts of up to 30cm above 700m, but this varies considerably according to the action of the wind. The strong westerly wind means that west-facing aspects have only limited snow but east-facing aspects are receiving large accumulations. As a result the final exit ramps of both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge are covered with large amounts of loose snow, often lying on verglas resulting in very slippery conditions. At lower levels, the fluctuation of the freezing level means that walking surfaces could become very icy over the next 24 hours. The continuing strong winds, which are forecast to continue for at least the next 4 days, mean the windchill is well below zero on higher ground. Full winter clothing and footwear is essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and onto steep or technical ground an ice axe and crampons are also essential.
18th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -6.0 44.3 32.7 There has been light a dusting of snow on the fells above 800m, mainly on east-facing aspects. The depth increases with altitude to several centimetres where it has accumulated in hollows above 900m. Although this snow was slowly thawing tooday, conditions are very sliipery underfoot, especially where the snow is combined with verglas on rocks. The upper sections of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge are particularly hazardous at present and an ice axe is strongly reccomended for traversing any steep or technical ground above the snowline. Continuing strong winds mean the windchill is usually well below zero on higher ground. Full winter clothing and footwear is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
18th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -6.0 44.3 32.7 There has been light a dusting of snow on the fells above 800m, mainly on east-facing aspects. The depth increases with altitude to several centimetres where it has accumulated in hollows above 900m. Although this snow was slowly thawing today, conditions are very slippery underfoot, especially where the snow is combined with verglas on rocks. The upper sections of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge are particularly hazardous at present and an ice axe is strongly recommended for traversing any steep or technical ground above the snowline. Continuing strong winds mean the windchill is usually well below zero on higher ground. Full winter clothing and footwear is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
17th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -0.3 -9.0 36.8 31.2 There is a dusting of snow on the fells above 850m, mainly on east-facing aspects. This doesn't, however, present any particular difficulties for walkers except for making some paths above this level a little slippery, especially on steeper ground such as the exit from Swirral Edge onto Helvellyn. The biggest challenge is the strong winds that mean the windchill is usually well below zero on higher ground. Full winter clothing is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
16th Dec 2013 Raise Summit (883m) 2.3 -5.0 34.6 28.8 There is a fresh dusting of snow on the fells above 850m, mainly on east-facing aspects. This doesn't, however, present any particular difficulties for walkers, except for making some paths above this level a little slippery. The biggest challenge is the strong winds that mean the windchill is usually well below zero on higher ground. Full winter clothing is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
15th Dec 2013 Swirral Edge (830m) 3.2 -3.0 55.4 24.1 There is a lot of water on the Lake District fells, but none of it is in the form of snow or ice. However, despite the continuing mild weather, strong winds mean the windchill is often sub-zero on higher ground, so full winter clothing is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
14th Dec 2013 600m on Birkhouse Moor 4.9 -3.0 54.3 44.3 Strong, gusting winds forced an early retreat from the fells today and more strong winds are expected through the weekend. Although there is a lot of water on the fells, none of it is in the form of snow or ice. Despite the continued mild weather, strong winds mean the windchill is often sub-zero, so full winter clothing is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
13th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 5.8 -0.1 34.3 29.4 Although there is a lot of water on the fells today, none of it is in the form of snow or ice. Despite the continued mild weather, strong winds mean the summit windchill is often sub-zero, so full winter clothing is strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
12th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 5.3 -0.9 35 SW 28 Although there is a lot of water on the fells today, none of it is in the form of snow or ice. Despite the continued mild weather, the summit windchill remains below freezing, so full winter clothing and footware are strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells. For those who like quiet fells, now is the time to come! I did Helvellyn via the edges today and only saw one other person all day!
11th Dec 2013 The Lakeland Fells are still free of snow. Owing to this the Fell Top Assessor did not ascend today, so there are no summit readings. Although there are autumnal conditions in the valleys, the summit windchill remains below freezing so full winter clothing and footware are strongly recommended for those venturing onto the high fells.
10th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 4.2 -3 44 31 There is neither snow nor ice on the Lakeland Fells; indeed some of the paths were even dry today! Despite autumnal conditions in the valleys, lower temperatures at altitude combined with the strength of the wind means that the summit windchill remains below freezing so full winter clothing and footware are strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells. Summit readings :- Max wind speed 44mph, Av wind speed 31mph, Direction SSW, Temp 4.2 degrees C, Windchill minus 3 degrees C
9th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 4.3 -2 33 26 There is neither ice nor snow on the Lakeland fells, although after Sunday's rain there is plenty of water! Although the summit temperature is above freezing, the wind chill remains below freezing, so full winter clothing and footware are strongly recommended for those venturing onto the high fells. Summit readings : Max wind 33mph, Ave wind 26mph, Direction SSW, Temp 4.3 degrees, Wind Chill minus 2 degrees
8th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 4 -3.5 36.1 27.5 The tiny amount of remaining ice has now thawed and the Lakeland Fells are now free of ice and snow. Despite autumnal conditions in the valleys, the wind chill on the summits is below freezing so full winter clothing and footware are essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells. Summit Readings :- Max wind speed 36.1mph, Av wind speed 27.5mph, Wind Chill minus 3.5 degrees, Temperature 4.0 degrees
7th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit 1.3 -7 30.7 25.2 Apart from a few, sheltered, isolated spots Friday's skittering of snow and ice has thawed. The good news, for those who do not like snow and ice, is that the fells are virtually clear of snow and ice. The bad news, for those who like winter conditions, is that we will have to wait! Despite autumnal conditions in the valleys, the windchill on the summit today was minus 7 degrees, so full winter clothing, foootware and equipment are essential for enyone venturing onto the high fells. Summit readings : Max wind speed 30.7mph, Av wind speed 25.2mph, Wind Chill minus 7 degrees C, Temp plus 1.3 degrees
6th Dec 2013 Helvellyn summit -3.4 -11.2 28.1 NW 16.2 There is a skittering (light dusting) of snow on sheltered aspects of the fells, that does not present any problems. There is, however, ice at all levels on any wet paths, although this was thawig below 500m. Despite the mild conditions in the valleys, the windchill on the summits was well below freezing, so full winter clothing and footwear are essential for anyone going onto the high fells.