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Readings 2021-22

Historical readings and fell top reports:

Date of report Location Temp Windchill Max wind Ave wind Wind direction Report
18th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.9 -3.7 20.1 16.2 WSW A wet and cloudy start soon gave way to a fine day on the Lake District fells The hills are almost completely snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few small patches in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes, particularly on Helvellyn. The usual long lasting patch at the head of Brown Cove is thawing fast and will likely only survive a few more days. Striding and Swirral Edges are both in good condition at the moment and can be climbed and descended without setting foot on snow. Despite the arrival of spring the summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still frequently in single and minus figures. Therefore warm and waterproof clothing, including hat & gloves and a reliable way of navigating in poor visibility are all still essential. This is the final report of the Fell Top Assessor season. Thank you to everyone who reads our reports and to those who have stopped for a chat on the hill. Have a great and safe summer in the hills and we'll be back for the first snows of next winter.
17th Apr 2022 Seat Sandal summit 7.7 3.2 17.0 14.6 SSE A fine and mild day in the Lake District with hazy sunshine and light winds. The fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few small patches of snow in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes, particularly on Helvellyn. Striding and Swirral Edges were in good condition at the moment with dry rock and both can be climbed and descended without setting foot on snow. It is worth noting that these routes and Helvellyn are exceptionally busy over the Easter weekend. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still frequently in single and minus figures. Therefore warm and waterproof clothing, including hat & gloves and a reliable way of navigating in poor visibility are all essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday.
16th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 6.2 0.9 26.2 19.2 SSW A cloudy morning with moderate winds over high ground eventually gave way to a fine afternoon with cloud lifting and clearing most of the higher tops by mid-afternoon. The fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few patches of snow in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes, particularly on Helvellyn. Striding and Swirral Edges were in good condition today with dry rock and both can be climbed and descended without setting foot on snow Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still frequently around zero and into minus figures. Therefore warm and waterproof clothing, including hat & gloves and a reliable way of navigating in poor visibility are all essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday.
15th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 6.3 0.8 20.5 16.4 SSW A busy day on the fells with plenty of folk out enjoying the classic round of the Helvellyn Edges. The Lake District fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few patches of snow in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes, particularly on Helvellyn. Striding and Swirral Edges were in good condition today with dry rock and both can be climbed and descended without setting foot on snow Despite the milder temperatures today, the summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still around zero, therefore warm and waterproof clothing including hat & gloves and a reliable way of navigating are all essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday.
14th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 8.6 5.9 10.1 8.8 WSW A beautiful morning with a large blanket of cloud rolling in and engulfing the south of the county. Elsewhere summits were clear with light winds and dry conditions underfoot. The fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few patches of snow in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes (particularly on Helvellyn) where drifts of roughly 40cm can still be found. Striding and Swirral Edges were in great condition today with dry and grippy rock and both can both be done without setting foot on snow with careful route choice. Despite the milder temperatures today, the summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still frequently in the minus figures, therefore warm and waterproof clothing including hat & gloves and equipment including a map and compass and the ability to use them in poor visibility are all essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday.
13th Apr 2022 Grisedale Pike summit 4.4 -1.1 19.4 15.1 WNW An improving day with low cloud shrouding many of the fells to low levels this morning but this lifted during the day to bring bright sunny spells in the afternoon. The lakeland fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops, with the exception of a few patches of snow in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes (particularly on Helvellyn) where drifts of over 40cm can still be found. Yesterday there were unavoidable patches of snow on the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges (at the very top of both routes) and it would only take a slight drop in temperature for this to freeze hard overnight so anyone attempting these or similar routes are advised to take this into consideration (an ice axe and crampons/microspikes may be a sensible addition to your rucksack). Small cornices (snow overhangs) over steep north and east-facing slopes may also be present and fragile in the milder temperatures so please give them a wide berth. The summit windchill (feels like) temperature is still frequently below freezing, therefore full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves) and equipment including a map and compass and the ability to use them in poor visibility are all essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday.
12th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 5.9 -0.3 23.7 17.6 SSE There is a thaw at all levels – it was raining and plus 6 degrees on the summit at midday – with a particularly rapid thaw below 800m. Having said that, large areas of the fells right up to and including summit level are now already free from snow. This is especially the case with south and west facing slopes and any other aspects that have caught the recent sun. Conversely, the greatest coverage can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes where drifts of over 40cm can be found – although such depth is the exception. The snowpack was soft and wet; even on popular routes where it has been compressed by walkers’ boots it was at worst firm and wet. Neither ice nor hard snow was encountered today. However, it would still only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to change and for the wet snow to refreeze. The only unavoidable snow encountered on paths today was on the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges – ie at the very top of both routes. Once again, the snow was soft and wet. However, as this could easily change and both snow patches are on steep slopes where a slip on ice/hard snow could have serious consequences, it remains highly recommended for walkers attempting the edges to carry an ice axe and microspikes – especially for descent. Far better to carry them and not need them than the other way around! There are cornices (snow overhangs) over steep north and east facing slopes. Although now very small they are extremely weak in the milder temperatures so please keep off the snow along such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise as there were footprints far, far too close to the edge of Helvellyn’s corniced east face. There is currently a significant contrast between the warmth of the green sheltered valleys and the exposed high fells where the summit windchill temperature (what the temperature actually feels like) at midday remained just below freezing. Thus for those venturing on the high fells full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves) and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility – all remain essential. The Fell Top Assessing service continues until Bank Holiday Monday; however this is my last shift so may I take this opportunity to wish all our followers many memorable, enjoyable and safe days out on our magnificent fells. Kind Regards and hoping to meet you in the hills. Jon
11th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 3.0 -3.8 26.2 12.2 E - ENE There is currently a significant contrast between the warmth of the green sheltered valleys and the exposed snow covered high fells with sub zero windchill temperatures (what the temperature feels like - which was minus 4 degrees at midday). The snowline is around 700m and there is also a contrast in coverage with significantly less snow, or even none, on sunny south facing aspects right up to summit level whereas shady north and east facing slopes have been more resistant to the slow thaw. Where undisturbed, the snow is now soft; however on popular routes, where it has been compacted by walkers’ boots, it is firmer and, in some cases, icy. The deepest drifts are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north & east facing slopes above 900m where depths of over 50cm can be found – although such depth is the exception. There are cornices (snow overhangs) over steep north and east facing slopes. Although very small they are weakening in the milder temperatures so please keep well back from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise as there were footprints far, far too close to the edge of Helvellyn’s corniced east face. Exposed routes above the snowline are in mixed condition and require extreme care. For example the crests of both Striding and Swirral edges were both bone dry grippy (if that’s a word!) rock. However, this lulled walkers into a false sense of security as both exits are guarded by steep, deep unavoidable snow. Today the snow was mostly soft to firm although there was ice in the steps cut into Striding’s snowy exit. It would only take a marginal drop in temperature for this snow to harden. Therefore anyone attempting such routes should have an ice axe in case they slip on the steep snow and microspikes/crampons in case harder snow/ice is encountered. As mentioned, there is a marked difference in conditions between the valleys and the high fells as those dressed in shorts quickly discovered! Thus for those venturing on the high fells full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves) and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility – are all essential. This is not just for safety but also for enjoyment as the summit today was a place to don extra clothing and linger to savour the spectacular vistas! Come properly dressed and equipped and enjoy!
10th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.9 -5.1 11.9 7.7 SW Areas of the high Lake District fells are still in winter condition and the correct equipment, experience and mindset are essential for a safe and enjoyable day. The snow cover is very varied having been affected by the sun over the last few days. The snow is slowly thawing and starts around 650m although some aspects & mountains are now clear to summit level. Generally the snow is soft but popular paths including Striding & Swirral Edges are now hard, icy and serious where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet. Anyone venturing onto the snow on exposed terrain should be equipped with microspikes and an ice axe as a minimum. Swirral Edge is currently a lot more wintery & challenging than Striding Edge so don't relax when you get to the summit. Keep the microspikes on and carefully enjoy the spectacular & exposed descent. Many of the 'easier' paths on the flanks of the ridges are still snow covered and the easiest and safest route is usually along the crest. Small unstable cornices (snow overhangs) are present above steep north through east aspects. Please give them a wide berth as they are unlikely to support your weight in the current conditions. Despite the warm spring sun in the valleys, the summit windchill was still -5ºC. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential as the weather deteriorates over the next few days
9th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.2 -5.2 11.5 5.2 NW The high Lake District fells are still in winter condition and the correct equipment, experience and mindset are essential for a safe and enjoyable day. The snow cover is very varied having been affected by the wind and sun over the last few days. The snow level is around 600m although some aspects are now clear to summit level. Generally the snow is soft but popular paths including Striding & Swirral Edges are now hard, icy and serious where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet. Anyone venturing onto the snow and or exposed terrain should be equipped with microspikes / crampons and an ice axe. Descending hard icy snow above a large drop on your bottom and wearing trainers is a very high risk activity! Small unstable cornices are also present above steep north through east aspects. Please give them a wide berth as they are unlikely to support your weight in the current conditions. Despite the warm spring sun in the valleys, the summit temperature was below freezing today and windchill was a biting -5ºC. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential.
8th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.9 -10.1 19.1 14.8 NE A stunning day to be out in the fells with blue skies and light winds, however, winter is not over just yet and anyone heading out is urged to check condition reports and weather forecasts frequently and pack appropriately. The snow line this morning started at around 750m, however, ice was present at lower elevations, especially around any drainage lines. Above the snowline, the average depth is a couple of centimeters, but ankle-deep drifts are not infrequent, and drifts up to 50cm have accumulated around corrie rims in some places. The summit plateau is largely snow-covered with ice present on popular paths, particularly where snow has been compressed by walker's feet, and verglas is covering exposed rock in many areas. Microspikes are very useful in the current conditions. It is worth noting that navigation could become challenging if visibility deteriorates in the coming days and goggles may be a sensible addition to your rucksack in the event that it is windy. Exposed routes such as Striding and Swirral edge are in winter condition and both are serious propositions at the moment with a mixture of snow, ice and exposed rock to negotiate. An ice axe and crampons are essential for anyone attempting these or similar routes in the area. Despite the warm spring sun, the summit temperature was below freezing today and windchill was a biting -10ºC. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential.
7th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.0 -11.8 33.3 12.7 NW Fresh snow has fallen overnight and this morning and settled above 600m. There were further showers as the Assessor left the hill and also in the forecast, so walkers out on Friday should expect to encounter more snow than described here. The snow depth rises with height; it has been deposited on a strong and gusty predominantly NW wind so coverage varies from little on windswept areas to drifts easily able to swallow a 55cm ice axe – although such depth is the exception – with a very rough average of around 4cm at 900m. The deepest drifts can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east facing aspects where, above 900m, the fresh snow can lie above patches of old, harder snow. The snowpack was soft and, especially below 800m, wet. However, with a frost forecast to valley level tonight, walkers out on Friday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, harder frozen snow and ice. Cornices were forming over steep east facing slopes. Although small they will be weak so please keep well back from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Exposed routes above the snowline – such as Striding and Swirral Edges – are covered in soft snow. There was little ice on Striding whereas many of Swirral’s rocks were already covered in verglas (thin ice). Again, as temperatures fall overnight, with the ground currently either wet or covered in snow, there is likely to be far more ice around so walkers attempting such routes should be familiar with winter mountaineering techniques and carry ice axe and crampons or at the very least microspikes. There is now a huge difference in conditions between the green valleys and the alpine scene and freezing temperatures above the snowline. Thus for those going on the high fells full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves) and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility – are all essential. Owing to the likelihood of encountering more ice on Friday, microspikes and walking poles are highly recommended for anyone venturing above the snowline. Goggles are highly recommended to lessen the sting of windblown horizontal hail. (I was certainly glad to be wearing them today!)
6th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.6 -8.4 30.3 22.6 WSW There is a skittering of fresh soft snow above 850m with the majority settling above 900m. It has been deposited on strong and gusty W to WSW winds. As such, there is nothing on windswept areas and only a light covering in sheltered spots and on north and east facing aspects – where it can lie over some old snow patches that have been present for months. The vast majority of Lakeland paths, though, remain completely free from snow. However as temperatures drop, the forecast is for any further showers to fall as snow on higher ground, so walkers out on the high fells on Thursday should expect to encounter more snow. In addition, the present soft snow could become icy and damp rocks gain a covering of verglas (thin ice). Neither of these issues was encountered today but could well be a hazard on Thursday as temperatures drop. As on Tuesday, the main hazards today were the gusty nature of the wind, low cloud and the wet, slippery nature of the paths and rocks. Thus exposed, rocky routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, require care and thoughtful foot placement especially above 900m where there is snow on them. With a summit temperature at midday of zero degrees and a summit windchill (what the temperature actually feels like) well below freezing full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves) and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility – remain essential. It is worth noting how waterproofs are always worth carrying even when no rain is forecast as they double as extremely effective windproofs. Those without them today (mainly overtrousers) were certainly feeling the minus 8 degrees windchill. As temperatures drop, walkers out on the higher fells on Thursday are highly recommended to pack walking poles and microspikes owing to the possibility of encountering ice - the latter are especially important if venturing onto exposed routes - such as the Helvellyn edges. Similarly goggles are helpful to lessen the sting of windblown hail. For those interested in the weather stats, there were significantly stronger gusts of wind on the ascent and descent!
5th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.9 -5.5 38.1 26.6 WSW The weekend’s thaw has continued. It was plus 3 degrees C, raining and, to be frank, thoroughly miserable on the summit around midday! Last week’s snow has now completely disappeared. Neither snow nor ice was encountered on any path up to and including summit level. The only snow remaining on the fells are a few surviving old patches that have been around for months and can be found on steep north and east facing aspects above 900m. As such, they represent no hazard to walkers. The main hazards today were the gusty nature of the wind, low cloud and the wet, slippery nature of the paths and rocks; which is also likely to be the case for Wednesday. Thus exposed, rocky routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, require care and thoughtful foot placement. Despite the return to a positive summit temperature, the summit windchill (what the temperature actually feels like) remains well below freezing so for those going onto the fells it remains essential to pack waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility. At the time of writing, the forecast is for temperatures to drop so with the fells currently very wet there is a possibility that walkers out on the higher fells could encounter ice and possibly fresh snow so do keep up-to-date with the latest forecast and plan routes accordingly.
4th Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit 5.0 -2.5 36.4 29.8 WSW The vast majority of last weeks snow has now melted with just a few small patches at altitude in hollows and on paths where it has been compressed by walkers feet. There are also still a few patches of older snow to be found on steep north through east aspects above 900m but these are easily avoided. Striding & Swirral Edge are now both snow free Snow is again forecast to fall on the hills in the latter part of the week so please continue to check the forecasts and altered your plans accordingly. Temperatures are forecast to be well below the seasonal average so go prepared with plenty of warm and waterproof layers, hats & gloves and a map & compass for navigation.
3rd Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.3 -5.1 13.7 9.3 W A fine morning with winds building during the afternoon and deteriorating conditions forecast into the evening and overnight. The snow level starts at around 650m, however, distribution varies considerably from very little or nothing on south-facing (sunny) slopes to an inch or two on many north through east-facing slopes. Ankle-deep drifts are present in these areas but are the exception rather than the norm. Snow was generally soft today except on popular routes where it has been compressed and frozen. This includes routes such as Striding and Swirral edge which were a mixture of exposed dry rock, compressed snow, and ice today. These (and similar) routes are serious in the current conditions and good care is required to negotiate them safely. Microspikes and an ice axe are strongly recommended (and crampons carried in case deeper ice/hard snow is encountered). Plenty of warm and waterproof layers, hats & gloves, and a map and compass are all essential. Winter is again forecast to return next week with snow to low levels so please continue to check the forecasts and adjust your plans accordingly..
2nd Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.3 -6.3 9.4 6.7 NE A couple of days of sun following Thursdays snowfall has left a very varied snowpack. The snow level is around 600m on north through east slopes but many southerly aspects are now clear to summit level. Blencathra and Skiddaw were almost totally clear but the Helvellyn range and to a lesser extent the Scafell massif had a good covering of snow A hard frost overnight meant that much of the remaining snow had a crust this morning but this soon softened in the sun and in general the snow was soft and thawing. However many paths are now icy where walkers feet have compressed the fresh snow. Rime & graupel were also in evidence above 800m. Exposed routes above the snowline – such as the Helvellyn Edges - require extreme care. Similar to the footpaths, they were in mixed condition with dry rock, soft snow covered rock and some ice. Microspikes and an ice axe are strongly recommended to negotiate such routes safely and crampons carried in case deeper ice/hard snow is encountered Swirral Edge was far more wintery and icy than Striding Edge today and shouldn't be underestimated especially in descent. After a pleasant morning Sundays weather is forecast to deteriorate significantly so please be conservative with your plans and make an early start. Plenty or warm and waterproof layers, hats & gloves and a map and compass are all essential while sunglasses and then goggles may be very useful. Winter is again forecast to return next week with snow to low levels so please continue to check the forecasts and adjust your plans accordingly. To quote one well known Mountain Guide "Winter isn't over until all the daffodils are dead!"
1st Apr 2022 Helvellyn summit -3.6 -10.2 14.1 6.0 NNE - NE The amount of snow cover is similar to Thursday; differences being a thaw on aspects catching the sun and less on exposed ground where the hail and soft snow has been redistributed to more sheltered areas – where there is slightly deeper cover. There is a skittering of snow in shady areas from 400m with the main snowline being at around 500m. It was deposited, and subsequently been blown about, on predominantly northerly winds. Depth rises with height although the actual depth encountered varies from little on exposed ground to drifts in sheltered spots and hollows of 50cm (although such depth is definitely the exception) with a very rough average of only around 3 to 4cm at 900m. The snowpack is very soft and often settled on what was dry ground and rocks. Footpaths were a mixture of dry rock poking above soft snow with some patches of ice mainly across drainage lines, where there had been a thaw/freeze, and on popular routes where snow has been compressed. Some snow was thawing in the afternoon sun so walkers out on Saturday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, more ice should this refreeze tonight (as is currently forecast at altitude). Exposed routes above the snowline – such as Striding and Swirral Edges - require extreme care. Similar to the footpaths, they were in mixed condition with dry rock, soft snow covered rock and some ice. Microspikes and an ice axe are strongly recommended to negotiate such routes safely and crampons carried in case deeper ice/hard snow is encountered – which it wasn’t today on the edges. Conditions are now very different to last week with today’s summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) at midday being minus 10 degrees C ; an incredible 24 degrees lower than last Friday; thus anyone wearing the same as last week will get very cold, very quickly! It is, therefore, essential for anyone venturing out on the fells that they have full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment. This includes map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility such as in low cloud and during hail/snow showers. Goggles are also recommended to lessen the sting of any windblown hail/spindrift. Microspikes and walking poles are also recommended for anyone going above the snowline on Saturday in case there is more ice on paths. Also, don’t forget your sunglasses when leaving the green valleys as the sun’s reflection on the snow is dazzling!
31st Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -4.6 -15.7 42.9 26.7 N There were further snow/hail showers as the Assessor left the hill and during the afternoon, so walkers out on Friday should expect to encounter more snow than described here. Fresh snow/hail has fallen in the past 24 hours virtually to valley level although it has only settled higher up. There is a skittering from 400m with the main snowline being at around 500m. It has been deposited, and subsequently blown about, on gusty northerly winds. Depth rises with height although the actual depth encountered varies from little on exposed ground to drifts in sheltered spots and hollows of 50cm (although such depth is the exception) with a very rough average of only around 4cm at 900m. The snowpack is very soft and often settled on what was dry ground and rocks. However, there were also patches of ice on rocks and paths especially across drainage lines and on popular routes were the snow had been compressed. Walkers out on Friday should expect to encounter more ice at all levels given the fact that a hard overnight frost is forecast and Cumbria is currently under a Met Office Yellow warning for ice from 9pm on Thursday until 10am on Friday. A particular hazard today on paths was isolated patches of ice hidden under fresh snow/spindrift and this could also be the case on Friday. Exposed routes above the snowline – such as Striding and Swirral Edges - require extreme care. They were in mixed condition with dry rock, soft snow covered rock and some ice. Microspikes and an ice axe are strongly recommended to negotiate such routes safely and crampons carried in case deeper ice/hard snow is encountered Conditions are now very different to last week with today’s summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) around midday being minus 16 degrees C ; this is a full 20 degrees lower than last Thursday! Therefore it is essential for anyone venturing out on the fells that they have full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment. This includes map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility such as in low cloud and during hail/snow showers. Goggles are also recommended to lessen the sting of windblown hail/spindrift. Microspikes and walking poles are also recommended for anyone going above the snowline on Friday owing to the amount of ice that there is likely to be on paths.
30th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -3.2 -12.2 22.2 20.1 NNE All change overnight as a cold northerly airmass brings snow and subzero temperatures to the fells once again. Despite being a relatively cosmetic dusting of new snow, the high fells feel very different in character compared to the last couple of weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures. The snowline this morning started at roughly 500m and depth increases with height. Over the summit plateau, the average depth of snow was around one to two inches, however, boot deep drifts were accumulating in many dips and hollows. Rime ice and verglas were also present on exposed rock and paths were completely covered in snow in some places making them difficult to follow in poor visibility. Striding and Swirral edge are in winter condition being a mixture of snow and exposed rock. Further snow showers continued into the afternoon down to low levels today and similar conditions are forecast tomorrow with terrain widely frozen from the valleys upwards. Anyone heading out into the fells tomorrow should expect more snow and ice than described here and be prepared for winter conditions. An ice axe and crampons are recommended for anyone planning routes on steep terrain although microspikes may be more useful generally in the current conditions. The summit windchill (feels-like) temperature was around -12°C today and anyone dressed for the conditions that we experienced last week would get very cold very quickly. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch (despite the longer days) are all essential. Goggles are also recommended for navigating in windy conditions.
29th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 5.2 2.5 5.6 3.8 NNE The good news (for those who dislike snow and ice) is that all Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. The bad news (for those who love winter conditions) is that all Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. In addition, the vast, vast majority of the Lakeland fells themselves are now free from snow. The only old snow remaining now lies above 900m on steep north and east facing aspects, has further thawed over the past 24 hours and represents no hazard to walkers. At the time of writing, however, the current forecast is that any showers falling later on Tuesday and overnight will be of snow on the higher fells. Thus walkers out on the higher fells on Wednesday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, fresh snow and/or ice so it could be advisable to pack microspikes. Not surprisingly, temperatures are also forecast to fall so for those going out on the fells full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment, including map and compass and the ability to use them in potentially poor visibility are essential.
28th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 5.0 2.6 8.6 5.0 N The good news (for those who dislike snow and ice) is that all Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. The bad news (for those who love winter conditions) is that all Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. In addition, the vast, vast majority of the Lakeland fells themselves are now free from snow. The only old snow remaining now lies above 900m on steep north and east facing aspects and represents no hazard to walkers. Last week’s summer-like temperatures and sunny conditions came to an end today with low cloud and drizzle. Paths and rocks were wet and slippery so exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral Edges require care. Despite very light winds, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was still only plus 3 degrees around midday quickly chilling those not carrying extra layers; so for those going onto the fells it remains essential to pack waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves and equipment - including a map and compass and the ability to use them. There is a possibility of a return to winter conditions this week, so do keep up-to-date with the latest forecast and plan routes accordingly.
27th Mar 2022 Skiddaw Summit 13.2 13.2 7.1 5.0 SE The current high pressure weather system which has brought sunshine and light winds to the Lake District fells has now been has now been in place for 10 days. Unfortunately the end is now in sight and conditions are forecast to turn more wintery from Wednesday afternoon with snow on the summits Ground conditions remain largely dry and the fells and paths are almost entirely snow-free with the exception of a few small patches which can be found dotted around north and east-facing corrie rims above roughly 900m. Suncream and plenty of fluids are recommended for anyone heading out into the fells in the next couple of days. There is also a heightened fire risk so please take extreme care with any BBQs, camping stoves or cigarettes. Please continue to check the weather forecasts as conditions begin to deteriorate this week and go prepared with the correct warm & waterproof clothing and a map & compass for navigation.
26th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 11.0 11.0 3.1 2.1 S Stunning high pressure weather brought the crowds out onto the fells with hundreds of folk enjoying the classic Helvellyn horseshoe via Striding and Swirral Edges. Ground conditions remain largely dry and the fells and paths are almost entirely snow-free with the exception of a few small patches which can be found dotted around north and east-facing corrie rims above roughly 900m. There is also a heightened fire risk so please take extreme care with any BBQs, camping stoves or cigarettes. Despite the current settled and spring-like conditions, it's important to remember we could still get significant snowfall on the fells through to Easter and beyond. Please continue to check the weather forecasts and go prepared with the correct warm & waterproof clothing and a map & compass for navigation. Suncream and plenty of fluids are also recommended for anyone heading out into the fells in the next couple of days.
25th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 14.0 14.0 3.5 2.1 E Similar conditions to the preceding week remain in place with high pressure dominating and a fair forecast for the weekend with plenty of sunshine and relatively light winds. Suncream and plenty of fluids are recommended for anyone heading out into the fells in the next few days. Ground conditions remain largely dry and the fells and paths are almost entirely snow-free with the exception of a few small patches which can be found dotted around north and east-facing corrie rims above roughly 900m. Striding and Swirral edge are in great condition at the moment with dry and grippy rock and these routes are also snow-free with just a couple of small patches on their final slopes which are easy to avoid. Despite the current settled and spring-like conditions, it's important to remember we could still get significant snowfall on the fells through to Easter and beyond. Please continue to check the weather forecasts and go prepared with the correct warm & waterproof clothing and a map & compass for navigation
24th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 8.6 5.2 14.2 11.0 SW The current high pressure system, responsible for the stunning weather we've been having, is forecast to hang around over the weekend so conditions should remain broadly similar for the next few days before a return to cooler and wetter weather The fells and paths are almost entirely snow-free with the exception of a few small patches of snow which can be found dotted around north and east-facing corrie rims above roughly 900m. Striding and Swirral edge are in great condition at the moment with dry and grippy rock and these routes are also snow-free with just a couple of small patches on their final slopes which are easy to avoid. Despite the current settled spring like conditions it's important to remember we could still get significant snowfall on the fells through to Easter and beyond. Please continue to check the weather forecasts and go prepared with the correct warm & waterproof clothing and a map & compass for navigation
23rd Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 9.4 6.9 13.7 10.8 SSE The run of fine weather continues and today was another beautiful day in the lakeland fells with light winds and expansive views. The fells and paths are almost entirely snow-free with the exception of a few small patches of snow which can be found dotted around north and east-facing corrie rims above roughly 900m. Striding and Swirral edge are in great condition at the moment with dry and grippy rock and these routes are also snow-free with just a couple of small patches on their final slopes which are easy to avoid. Despite the warm and sunny weather, the temperature in the shade is often markedly cooler and windchill (feels-like) temperatures are frequently still in minus figures. As such, warm and waterproof clothing including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing into the fells.
22nd Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 7.9 3.3 20.4 9.0 SSE - SE The good news (for those who dislike snow and ice) is that the Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. The bad news (for those who love winter conditions) is that the Lakeland paths up to and including summit level are now free from snow and ice. This now includes the exits to both Striding and Swirral edges. Both have been possible to climb without setting foot on snow for a while but only with careful route choice. Now, both normal paths/routes are free from snow. In addition, the vast majority of the Lakeland fells themselves are now free from snow. The only old snow remaining now lies above 900m on steep north and east facing aspects. With a summit temperature around midday of plus 8 degrees, the old snow was softening and thawing and, given the forecast, will probably not last much longer. Despite the daffodil filled valleys, and a hot ascent in the sun, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was only plus 3 degrees around midday quickly chilling those not carrying extra layers; so for those going onto the fells it is essential to pack waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them. Once again, hopefully sunglasses and sun screen will also be essential equipment! Come properly equipped and enjoy these conditions – as many were doing today! For those interested in the weather stats, the predominant wind direction was SE to SSE but there was also a strong rota coming from the NNW on the summit.
21st Mar 2022 Blencathra summit 10.2 10.2 4.3 2.5 S Classic high pressure inverted conditions today with warmer temperatures on the summits than down in the valleys, plenty of sunshine but a lot of haze restricting the views. The fells and paths are now snow-free up to and including the highest summits, apart from a few small patches of old snow that are generally found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 900m. This old snow is still present around the exits to Striding and Swirral edges, however, with careful route choice, both can be done without setting foot on snow. Despite the current settled spring like conditions it's important to remember we could still get significant snowfall on the fells through to Easter and beyond. Please continue to check the weather forecasts and go prepared with the correct clothing and a map & compass for navigation
20th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -4.2 19.9 11.8 E Another beautiful spring-like day in the Lakeland fells with light winds and superb air clarity. The fells and paths are now snow-free up to and including the highest summits, apart from a few small patches of old snow that are generally found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 900m. This old snow is still present around the exits to Striding and Swirral edges, however, with careful route choice, both can be done without setting foot on snow. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (feels-like) temperatures are often below zero, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots, and equipment including a headtorch, map & compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for those going onto the fells. Similar conditions are forecast for tomorrow.
19th Mar 2022 Skiddaw summit 7.2 -1.5 68.3 58.1 SE A beautiful spring-like day in the Lakeland fells, but despite the wind feeling fairly benign in the valley bottoms, gale force southeasterly winds were blowing over high and exposed ground making conditions very difficult in the higher fells. The vast majority of the fells and paths are now snow-free up to, and including the highest summits, however, over on Helvellyn and surrounding peaks, small patches of old snow are present albeit easy to avoid. The majority of the remaining old snow lies above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east-facing slopes. This includes the exits to Striding and Swirral edges, however, with careful route choice, both can be done without setting foot on the snow. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (feels-like) temperatures are often below zero, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots, and equipment including a headtorch, map & compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for those going onto the fells. Similar conditions are forecast for tomorrow although perhaps a bit less windy. Enjoy your weekend.
18th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 3.4 -3.8 26.2 19.7 SSW The vast majority of the Lakeland fells and paths are now free from snow up to, and including, summit level. Above 800m, any old snow patches remaining on paths are avoidable. With careful route choice there are now even snow free exits to both Striding and Swirral edges. Most of the remaining old snow lies above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Over the past few days it has hardly thawed at all. However today’s milder temperatures combined with strong morning sun (before the majority of the snowpack went back into shade) was creating a noticeable softening and thaw of the remaining snow. In the morning, following the overnight frost, there were isolated patches of ice on paths at altitude mainly on drainage lines but these thawed during the day. Indeed many paths and rocks were dry and grippy (if that’s a word, if not it should be!) Despite the daffodil filled valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was minus 4 degrees at midday, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. This is not just for safety but also for enjoyment as Saturday’s forecast currently looks similar to today in that it should be a day to reach a summit, don extra layers and linger to enjoy magnificent panoramas! Once again, hopefully sunglasses and sun screen will also be essential equipment! Come properly equipped and enjoy!
17th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.0 -6.2 29.8 23.1 WSW If any of the precipitation over the past 24 hours fell as snow on the higher fells there was no sign of it as no fresh snow has settled. Thus, the vast majority of the Lakeland fells and paths are now free from snow up to, and including, summit level. The only old snow remaining lies above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Owing to a sharp overnight frost at altitude the snowpack was firm to icy; as such, despite a summit temperature around midday of plus 2 degrees and persistent rain, there was only a marginal thaw. However, any snow patches lying on paths are avoidable; with careful route choice there are now even snow free exits to both Striding and Swirral edges. Following the overnight frost at altitude, above 850m there were isolated patches of ice on rocks and in puddles. Following today’s rain the ground is saturated and an overnight frost almost to valley level is forecast, so walkers out on Friday, especially in the morning and ascending the higher fells, should expect to encounter more ice on paths and rocks. Despite the daffodil filled valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was minus 6 degrees around midday, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. This is not just for safety but also for enjoyment as Friday’s forecast currently looks like it should be a day to reach the summit, don extra layers and linger to enjoy magnificent panoramas! Yes, hopefully sunglasses will also be essential equipment! Come properly equipped and enjoy!
16th Mar 2022 Blencathra summit 0.4 -7.3 19.2 17.2 WNW There were wintery showers on the summits today but no sign of any snow settling. The majority of the Lakeland fells are now snow-free up to and including the highest tops, however patches of snow are still present on some steep north and east-facing scarp slopes and in hollows and gullies, generally above 850m. With careful route choice it is possible to climb Striding & Swirral Edges on Helvellyn without setting foot on snow. Blencathra's Sharp Edge is snow free but very greasy and slippery in the wet and shouldn't be underestimated. Despite the daffodil filled valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was still minus 7 degrees so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells.
15th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.4 -8.1 30.2 21.4 SSW The vast majority of the Lakeland fells are now free from snow up to, and including, summit level; indeed many paths are not only snow free but today were also dry. Ascending from Wythburn (on the Thirlmere or western side of Helvellyn) no snow at all was encountered below 850m. The only remaining snow lies above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Owing to its height, aspect and a daytime summit temperature of only just above freezing there was little to no thaw of the snowpack so snow conditions were similar to Monday with the snow being mainly firm apart from where it has been compacted by walkers’ feet. Having stated that, any snow lying on paths is easily avoidable. With careful route choice there are now even snow free exits to both Striding and Swirral edges. Despite the daffodil filled valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was minus 8 degrees just before midday, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells.
14th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.4 -9.0 38.1 28 SW The vast majority of the Lakeland fells and paths are now free from snow up to, and including, summit level. Aside from some insignificant patches, the only snow encountered now lies above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Any such snow lying on paths is easily avoidable with the only possible exception to this being the exits to both Striding and Swirral edges. There is a snow free exit to the south of Striding’s normal route and Swirral’s exit only requires a step or two on snow. However, taking the wrong route in cloud could result in finding yourself on steep snow. Today the snow was firm allowing steps to be cut into it but with a summit temperature at midday just above freezing it would only take a marginal drop in temperature for the snow to harden and become icy making an excursion onto steep snow treacherous without crampons and an ice axe. At midday on the summit there were showers of hail and snow with neither settling. However, with the persistent precipitation this afternoon there is a possibility that walkers out on the highest fells on Tuesday may encounter some fresh snow. Despite the Spring-like feel to the valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was minus 9 degrees at midday, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells.
13th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -5.7 30.8 19.0 SSW The majority of the Lakeland fells are now snow-free up to and including the highest tops, however, snow is still present on steep north and east-facing scarp slopes, generally above 850m. This névé or old refrozen snow is fairly resistant to thaw conditions and can be hazardous to walk on without crampons and ice axe Striding & Swirral Edges can now be climbed without setting foot on snow with careful route choice. However if you do stray onto the snow then you will need the correct equipment as a slip in these exposed locations not quickly stopped could have very serious consequences. . The Helvellyn plateau is clear of snow but small cornices still exist around corrie rims above north through east aspects. These will be unstable in the current thaw conditions so please give them a wide berth Despite spring like conditions in the valleys full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing into the fells.
12th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -7.1 33.2 26.3 SSW A wet start to the day cleared by lunchtime leaving a dry and bright afternoon with a fresh southerly breeze The majority of the Lakeland fells are now snow-free up to and including the highest tops, however, snow is still present on steep north and east-facing scarp slopes, generally above 850m. This névé or old refrozen snow is fairly resistant to thaw conditions and can be hazardous to walk on without crampons and ice axe Striding & Swirral Edges can now be climbed without setting foot on snow with careful route choice. However if you do stray onto the snow then you will need the correct equipment as a slip in these exposed locations not quickly stopped could have very serious consequences. . The Helvellyn plateau is clear of snow but small cornices still exist around corrie rims above north through east aspects. These will be unstable in the current thaw conditions so please give them a wide berth Despite spring like conditions in the valleys full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing into the fells.
11th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.2 -4.5 35.4 23.7 SE A dry and bright morning with rain setting in during the afternoon and fresh to strong winds over high and exposed ground. The majority of the lakeland fells are now snow-free up to and including the highest tops, however, snow is still present on steep north and east-facing scarp slopes, generally above 850m. In these locations, névé (old refrozen snow) is quite resistant to thawing conditions, however, given that overnight temperatures are still frequently subzero, it often remains hard and icy well into the daylight hours. Striding and Swirral edges can be done almost entirely on rock, however, both have steep banks of hard snow guarding their exits. A fall in these locations if not quickly stopped could have serious consequences and as such, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are strongly recommended for anyone attempting these or similar routes in the area. Additionally, small cornices may also be present around corrie rims in some areas and should be given a wide berth. Despite summit temperatures being above freezing in the last few days, windchill (feels-like) temperatures remain generally in the minus figures. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing into the fells. Have a great weekend!
10th Mar 2022 Hallsfell Top summit (Blencathra) 3.7 -3.9 30.5 25.9 SSW A dry day with intermittent sunshine and fresh to strong winds over high and exposed ground. The majority of the Lakeland fells are now snow-free, however, some snow is still present, particularly on Helvellyn where large areas can be found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800m. In these locations, old accumulations of snow (névé) are quite resistant to thawing. The crests of Swirral and Striding edges can be done mostly on rock, however, the final slopes of both routes have large areas of unavoidable snow that have to be crossed to get to the summit. A slip in these areas could have very serious consequences and as such, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are essential to cross them safely. Snow that has been compacted by walkers' feet is often hard and icy and small cornices are still present in some locations around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing out into the fells.
9th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -3.6 27.4 18.4 S A milder day than the last few days with summit temperatures above freezing point and fresh to strong winds over high and exposed ground. The majority of the Lakeland fells are once again snow-free, however, large areas of snow are still present on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800m. In these locations, old accumulations of snow (névé) are quite resistant to thawing conditions and were very firm today. Although the crests of Swirral and Striding edges can be done mostly on rock, the final slopes of both routes have large areas of unavoidable snow which have to be crossed to get to the summit. A slip in these areas could have very serious consequences. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are essential. Small cornices are still present in some locations around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing out into the fells.
8th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.9 -11.3 39 27.8 S There is quite a contrast at present between the Spring-like valleys and the winter conditions that exist above the snowline of 700m. Above 700m the snow depth rises with height although the actual coverage encountered varies considerably from little or nothing on windswept or sunny, predominantly south facing aspects, to deep drifts of over 50cm – although such depth is the exception. The greatest snow cover and deepest drifts are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on north and especially east facing aspects. A particular hazard on paths today was the amount of ice and compacted, hard icy snow on popular routes. This combined with the strength of the wind, made conditions treacherous. Walking poles combined with microspikes are advisable to help stay upright. Cornices exist over some north and east facing slopes. Although they are very small there are steep drops beneath them so it is best to keep well clear of such edges especially given the forecasted milder temperatures when the snow will soften and weaken. With a daytime summit temperature below zero and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below at minus 11 degrees, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep, exposed ground – such as the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of steep, deep, hard snow guarding their exits – an ice axe and crampons are also essential. Please do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the crest of Striding Edge is mostly bare, dry rock. The unavoidable snow is located where a slip or slide without the means to stop yourself could have serious consequences. For those interested in the weather stats, the wind was significantly higher on the way up and on the descent!
7th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -3.2 -10.2 15.9 8.6 SE Another stunning day on Helvellyn with high pressure dominating. A freeze to valley level overnight meant a good frost and plenty of ice on the paths this morning. The snowline starts at roughly 700m, however, distribution varies considerably from very little or nothing on sunny (south-facing) aspects to drifts over 50cm deep on high north and east-facing slopes. In these areas, old patches of hard refrozen snow (névé) are present underneath fresher snow that fell a couple of days ago. In the current conditions crampons and ice axe are essential for anyone venturing onto the snow and or steep & exposed terrain. This includes the exits to Striding & Swirral Edges where there are unavoidable banks of steep and icy snow above a large and rock studded drop. Any slip not quickly stopped with an ice axe could result in a long fall with very serious consequences. In general the crests of the Helvellyn ridges are dry rock, however there is still plenty of icy snow on their northern flanks which is a hazard on some of the 'easier' bypass paths. On other popular routes, compacted snow from walkers' feet is often well frozen and icy (particularly in shaded areas) making microspikes a very sensible addition to your rucksack. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing out into the hills.
6th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.5 -3.5 8.0 5.1 NE A beautiful springlike day with plenty of sunshine and light winds. Helvellyn had an almost alpine feel about it today with a marked difference in temperature between sunshine and shade. The snowline starts at roughly 700m, however, distribution varies considerably from very little or nothing on sunny (south-facing) aspects to drifts over 50cm deep on high north and east-facing slopes. In these areas, old patches of hard refrozen snow (névé) are present underneath fresher snow that fell a couple of days ago. In the current conditions, these require the use of crampons and an ice axe to move over safely. This includes the exit slopes to both Striding and Swirral edges, both of which have large areas of unavoidable snow and were causing some ill-equipped parties a lot of problems and distress today. With lots of rock still exposed, a slip in any of these areas, if not stopped quickly, could result in a long fall with very serious consequences. Some snow was softening in the sun during the day today, but with freezing temperatures overnight it is likely to freeze and become hard and icy tomorrow. Small patches of windslab are present on high, predominantly east-facing scarp slopes and ridge flanks. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. On popular routes, compacted snow from walkers' feet is often well frozen and icy (particularly in shaded areas) making microspikes a very sensible addition to your rucksack. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing out into the hills.
5th Mar 2022 Catstyecam summit 1.0 -2.2 4.4 4.3 NE A fine and clear day in the Lakeland fells with plenty of sunshine and excellent visibility, although with some cloud building up in the afternoon. Wind speeds were higher than indicated in today's readings and estimated to be in the region of 20mph and perhaps more over exposed areas. The snowline now starts at roughly 700m, however, snow distribution varies considerably from very little on sunny (south-facing) aspects to drifts over 50cm deep on high north and east-facing slopes. Old patches of hard refrozen snow (névé) are also present underneath fresh deposits, above roughly 800m, and require the use of crampons and an ice axe to move over safely in the current conditions. This includes the exit slopes to both Striding and Swirral edges. With lots of rock still exposed, a slip in any of these areas, if not stopped quickly could result in a long fall with very serious consequences. Localised patches of potentially unstable windslab (layers of snow that are not necessarily well bonded to underlying layers) are also present in some areas on these high, predominantly east-facing scarp slopes. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. On popular routes, compacted snow from walkers' feet is often well frozen and icy, making microspikes a very sensible addition to your rucksack. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing out into the hills.
4th Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.8 -8.2 20.5 9.7 N - NNW Fresh, soft snow has settled above 750m. Depth rises with height from little at 750m to drifts of up to 15cm at 900m. Often, especially on south and west facing aspects, this lies on what was bare ground. However, in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes the fresh soft snow has settled on the patches of old, hard snow that have been present for weeks, and these two layers have not bonded. In addition, on popular routes above 700m the fresh snow can hide patches of ice created by walker’s boots compacting old snow creating an obvious slippery hazard on paths. Although there was some rime ice on rocks, there was little verglas (thin ice) on rocks and paths. However, with an overnight frost forecast, walkers out on the fells on Saturday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, ice and, above 750m, for the fresh, soft snow to harden and, where it has thawed during Friday, for ice to form. At the top of some snow covered north and especially east facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although small it is a steep drop beneath them, so please keep completely off any such snow covered edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. There was quite a contrast today between the Spring-like valleys and the winter conditions above 750m with the summit temperature below freezing and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. For those venturing above the snowline and attempting exposed routes or ones that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of deep, steep unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case hard snow and ice is encountered, which it probably will be on Saturday. Microspikes and walking poles are recommended for anyone going above the snowline owing to the amount of ice likely to be on paths following the overnight frost. Climbers:- although there is some fresh snow, it is currently soft so please check that routes are in condition before attempting them to avoid damage to rare alpine plants.
3rd Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.5 -6.0 26.8 16.7 S Another cloudy day on the fells with rain at all levels and a daytime summit temperature marginally above freezing. Conditions were similar on Wednesday with the result that the remaining snow is both softening and beginning to thaw – but very slowly above 800m where the majority of the remaining snow is located. Patches of snow can be found above 700m in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Where undisturbed, the snowpack above 800m was mostly firm, sometimes hard and sometimes soft! Where it has been compacted by walkers’ boots on popular routes the snow was hard and icy creating an obvious slippery hazard on paths. Walkers out on the highest fells on Friday should note that such ice may lurk beneath some fresh snow which could fall overnight. However, at the time of writing the majority of ground up to, and including, summit level is now free from snow especially on south and west facing aspects. For example hardly any snow was encountered on the Swirrls footpath up Helvellyn (on the west side of the mountain) and that which was could easily be avoided. At the top of some snow covered north and especially east facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although small, they are weakening and it is a steep drop beneath them, so please keep completely off any such snow covered edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Despite the appearance of daffodils in the valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. For those doing routes that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of deep, steep unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case hard snow and ice is encountered. Please don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the crest of Striding Edge is just bare rock!
2nd Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.4 -5.0 24.7 8.2 SE The majority of ground up to, and including, summit level is now free from snow especially on south and west facing aspects. That said some significant patches of snow remain and, above 800m, there was little to no thaw in evidence despite the fact that it was raining at all levels and also marginally above freezing on the summit at midday. The remaining snow can be found above 700m, with most now above 800m, in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Where undisturbed, the snowpack below 800m was soft to firm whereas above 800m it was firm to hard. Where it has been compacted by walkers’ boots on popular routes the snow was hard and icy creating an obvious slippery hazard on paths. There were also isolated patches of ice near drainage lines on paths and these were down to surprisingly (given the lack of a valley frost) low levels. At the top of some snow covered east and north facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although small, it is a steep drop beneath them, so please keep completely off any such snow covered edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Despite the appearance of daffodils in the valleys, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. For those doing routes that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of unavoidable deep, steep snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case hard snow and ice is encountered. Please don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the crest of Striding Edge is just bare rock!
1st Mar 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.7 -7.5 13.9 11.6 NE A spectacular, blue sky day! The majority of ground up to, and including, summit level is now free from snow especially on south and west facing aspects. That said some significant patches of snow remain which, owing to their depth, altitude and location have, above 800m, largely survived Monday’s rain. Conversely, below 800m there has been a more noticeable thaw in the past 24 hours. The remaining snow can be found above 700m, with most above 800m, in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. Monday’s rain combined with the overnight frost meant that the snowpack was hard and often icy, especially in the morning. Where exposed to the sun, it did soften during the day except on popular routes where it has been compacted creating an obvious icy hazard. Many paths were actually dry, although where they cross drainage lines there were isolated patches of ice on rocks and stones – again especially in the morning. At the top of some snow covered east and north facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although small, they are weakening especially during the afternoon with milder temperatures, so please keep completely off any such snow covered edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Despite the appearance of daffodils in the valleys, the summit temperature remains below freezing and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. This is not just for safety but also for enjoyment as the summit today was a place to wrap up warm and linger to enjoy the spectacular panorama – something that those dressed in shorts and carrying no extra clothes were unable to do. For those doing routes that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of deep, steep unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case hard snow and ice is encountered (as it was today).
28th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.8 -4.8 31 22.4 SW The majority of ground up to, and including, summit level is now free from snow especially on south and west facing aspects. That said some significant patches of snow remain. These can be found above 700m, with most above 800m, in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep north and east facing slopes. At midday, the summit temperature was 3 degrees and it was raining heavily inducing a thaw; however, owing to the altitude and location of the snow, this thaw was very slow. Where undisturbed, the snowpack was mainly soft and increasingly wet. However on popular routes, where the snow had been compressed, it was hard and icy creating an obvious hazard – especially where some ice was lurking beneath small puddles of water. In addition, especially above 850m, there is some old, harder snow. At the top of some snow covered east and north facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although small, they are weakening with the rain and slow thaw so it is best not to step on any such snow covered edges. Although the summit temperature was above freezing, the windchill (what the temperature feels like) was well below so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. At the time of writing, the forecast is for a frost virtually to valley level both tonight and for Tuesday morning. Consequentially, with the ground being saturated following today (Monday)’s rain, walkers out on the fells on Tuesday should expect to encounter ice at all levels and, for those venturing above 700m, hard, icy snow. Thus for those doing routes that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as both Striding and Swirral Edges which have banks of unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried if (probably when) the current soft snow hardens. Owing to the potential for ice on Tuesday, especially in the morning, any walkers out on the high fells might want to consider taking microspikes. Hopefully, though, sunglasses might also be essential on Tuesday!!
27th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.3 -10.2 45.0 34.0 S A spectacular day on the Lake District fells with plenty of sunshine and great views but a cold wind kept things feeling wintery. The remaining snow is to be found on steep north through east aspects above 700m with many westerly aspects clear of snow up to summit level. Additionally todays sunshine was slowly stripping the snow from southerly aspects A good freeze overnight meant that the snow was hard and icy and crampons and an ice axe were essential for anyone venturing on to it. Warmer temperatures and direct sunlight meant that it softened slightly during the day but was still a serious proposition especially for those who weren't correctly equipped Striding & Swirral Edges were both a mixture of bare rock, snow & ice. However there are still areas of unavoidable hard and icy snow to cross especially on the exits to the plateau. Any slip not quickly arrested here could have very serious consequences due to the amount of exposed rock An ice axe and crampons are currently essential equipment for anyone venturing onto the snow and or steep & exposed terrain such as the Helvellyn Edges especially where there are patches of neve lurking beneath the new snow. Other routes such as the Swirls path on the west side of Helvellyn are generally clear of snow. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and additional equipment including a map, compass, headtorch & goggles should be carried by all hill-goers.
26th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.3 -10.2 48.4 41.2 S Winter conditions still hold sway on Helvellyn and many of the higher Lake District summits. The strong winds of the last few days mean that the majority of snow is to be found above 600m on north through east to south aspects with many westerly aspects clear of snow up to summit level. Today the freezing level was above the summits but much of the old neve (refrozen snow) above 800m was still hard & icy and covered with a thin layer of new wet snow. There was also a surprising amount of ice at these altitudes. Striding & Swirral Edges were both a mixture of bare rock, snow & ice. However there are still areas of unavoidable hard and icy snow to cross especially on the exits to the plateau. Any slip not quickly arrested here could have very serious consequences due to the amount of exposed rock An ice axe and crampons are currently essential equipment for anyone venturing onto snow and or steep & exposed terrain such as the Helvellyn Edges especially where there are patches of neve lurking beneath the new snow. Other routes such as the Swirls path on the west side of Helvellyn are clear of snow. However the freezing level is forecast to drop overnight and ice will readily form so microspikes are highly recommended for anyone venturing onto the high fells Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and additional equipment including a map, compass and a headtorch should be carried by all hill-goers.
25th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.3 -7.4 16.0 11.9 WNW A fine day on the Lakeland fells with light winds and generally excellent visibility away from any localised cloud, which built up in the afternoon. More fresh snow overnight saw the snowline down to roughly 400m this morning, although this rose through the day with sunny (south-facing) slopes being most affected. The snow is very varied in distribution with very little over high and exposed ground (such as the summit of Helvellyn) to drifts over a metre deep in sheltered areas, dips, and hollows. The majority of snow is found on north and particularly east-facing slopes above 700m where old névé (refrozen snow) is also present underneath new snow in places. Potentially unstable windslab deposits are also present in these locations and small cornices have been building around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. The crests of Swirral and Striding edge are mostly rock although large areas of snow exist on their flanks and exit slopes as well as old hard névé. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are essential for anyone attempting these or similar steep routes in the area, as a fall if not stopped quickly in these conditions could have serious consequences. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone heading into the fells.
24th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -3.6 -16.3 54.5 44.8 WSW Overnight snow and freezing temperatures gave the Lake District fells a wintery feel today. The snow level was around 400m on lee slopes but the wind had scoured windward terrain up to summit levels including the Helvellyn plateau which was clear of snow. Much of the new snow has fallen as graupel (ice pellets) which was being transported around the fells by a strong and gusty westerly wind meaning that googles and a sense of humour were essential to fully enjoy the experience today. This also meant that there was minimal drifting or snow deposition even on lee slopes and the existing small cornices weren't building. The patches of older snow to be found on steep easterly aspects above 800m had all frozen hard as had much of the terrain above 700m with significant areas of ice especially where snow has been compressed under walkers feet on paths Striding & Swirral Edges were both a mixture of bare rock, snow & ice. However there are still areas of unavoidable hard and icy old snow to cross especially on the exits to the plateau. Any slip not quickly arrested would have serious consequences due to the amount of exposed rock An ice axe and crampons are currently essential equipment for anyone venturing onto steep or exposed terrain such as the Edges and especially where there are patches of old snow / neve. Microspikes will be very useful for anyone venturing into the hills at any altitude. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and additional equipment including a map, compass, headtorch and goggles should be carried by all hill-goers.
23rd Feb 2022 Catstyecam summit 1.6 -7.3 46.9 31.2 SW Another day of gales over high ground with unpredictable and powerful squalls even in fairly sheltered locations. A mixture of rain and sleet showers came and went through the day, and conditions generally deteriorated in the afternoon. The majority of the Lakeland fells are snow-free, however, more snow and colder temperatures are in the forecast tonight/tomorrow so anyone venturing out should anticipate and be prepared for more snow and ice than described here. Any remaining snow is generally found above 800m on steep east-facing slopes (although small amounts are also present on other slope aspects). The freezing level was above the summits today, and the majority of the snow encountered was compact but relatively soft. With colder temperatures in the forecast, much of the remaining snow will become hard and icy. Striding and Swirral edge can be done mostly on rock along their crests, however, large areas of snow are present on their flanks and exit slopes. For anyone planning these or similar steep and exposed routes tomorrow, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are highly recommended. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves and additional equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential. Goggles may also be advisable for navigating in strong winds and poor visibility.
22nd Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.1 -10.6 46.9 39.1 W The majority of the Lakeland Fells up to and including summit level are now free from snow. That said, some significant patches of snow remain. These can be found above 700m, with most above 850m, in sheltered spots and hollows and on steep predominantly east facing aspects – both north and south of due east. Owing to their altitude, location and a summit temperature of zero degrees the remaining snow was either not thawing at all, or doing so extremely slowly. Almost all the snow encountered today was soft and sometimes wet. As such it would only take a marginal drop in temperature (currently forecast) for the snow to harden and become icy. At the top of some snow covered east facing slopes there are some overhangs – ie cornices. Although extremely small, some have cracks so it is best not to step on any such snow covered edges. With a summit temperature of zero degrees and a windchill (what the temperature feels like) of a biting (especially when combined with the hail showers) minus 10 degrees C, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. For those doing routes that necessitate crossing or climbing steep snow slopes – such as both Striding and Swirral Edges which have banks of unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case the current soft snow hardens. Hardly any ice was encountered today, but with the ground being very damp it would, again, only take a marginal drop in temperature for ice to form so walkers out on the high fells on Wednesday might want to consider taking microspikes especially considering the strength of the wind as Cumbria is, once again, under a Yellow Met Office Weather warning for wind from 6am on Wednesday until 3pm.
21st Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.4 -3.5 48.2 16.2 NNW Much of the Lake District fells up to summit level are once again clear of snow with the remaining cover generally to be found on steep NE to SE aspects above 700m. The snow cover is very localised and it looked like the Central Fells (Scafell Pike, Great End, Langdales, etc) had a lot more than the Coniston, Buttermere & Northern fells Cooler temperatures followed yesterdays turbo thaw and there is a surprising amount of ice on the Helvellyn plateau. Today it was soft and thawing but a small drop in temperature will quickly freeze it hard creating a hazard on even easy angled paths. Striding & Swirral Edges can both be predominately climbed on rock but both sported a unavoidable bank of steep and icy snow above a large drop at their exits. Due to the amount of exposed rock a simple slip not quickly stopped could have very serious consequences. For this reason carrying an ice axe and crampons / microspikes is still essential for anyone venturing onto the snow even for only a very short section. The remnants of Storm Franklin meant that summit winds were extremely gusty today going from a flat calm to 50mph in a few seconds. The wind direction was also changing frequently and rapidly by up to 180 degrees creating very tricky conditions for anyone on exposed terrain (and for the fell top assessor taking his weather observations!). Full winter clothing including plenty of warm & waterproof layers, hats & gloves plus a map, compass and torch are still essential for anyone out enjoying the high fells.
20th Feb 2022 Sheffield Pike summit 6.3 -1.6 52.5 40.8 SW A very wet and windy day with a met office yellow warning in place for rain until 18:00 today and wind until 13:00 tomorrow. Much of the snow that was present yesterday has melted and any remaining snow was rapidly thawing through the morning. Rivers are in spate and minor flooding is a possibility. The freezing level was above summit level this morning, however, it is forecast to drop as low as 400m this afternoon, and any precipitation falling at this point will fall as snow. However, at the time of writing, the majority of the Lakeland fells are once again snow-free, with any remaining snow generally found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800m. Striding and Swirral edge are likely to be mostly bare rock at the moment, however, steep banks of snow will be present on the exit slopes and flanks of both routes. With the freezing level dropping again, more snow and ice may be present tomorrow than described here. Additionally, any remaining snow is likely to freeze and become hard and icy. It is recommended that anyone planning steep/exposed routes in the area tomorrow carry an ice axe and crampons/microspikes in anticipation of this. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing out into the fells. As previously mentioned, high winds are in the forecast tomorrow so goggles are also recommended for navigating in poor conditions.
19th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.2 -10.5 18.1 13.3 N A beautiful day in the Lakeland fells with cloud clearing many of the higher summits in the morning leaving the majority of the day with blue skies and light winds. Inversion conditions were present over the south of the county. The snow level this morning was down to around 300-400 meters although this lifted slightly through the day with some south-facing slopes being more affected. The freezing level today was around 500-600m and above this altitude, the ground was partially frozen and icy in places. Snow increases with height but varies in distribution from very little over high and exposed ground, to drifts of 60cm+ in places. On average it is around 10cm deep. The majority of snow is generally found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800m. In these locations, windslab deposits are present on top of older patches of névé (old refrozen snow) and may not be very well bonded. Some small and soft cornices have also formed around corrie rims in some areas and should be given berth. Striding and Swirral edge are a mixture of snow and exposed rock. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are essential for anyone planning these or similar steep/exposed routes in the area. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are essential items for anyone venturing out into the fells. High winds are in the forecast tomorrow so goggles are also recommended for navigating in poor conditions.
18th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.5 -11.2 31.9 27.9 WSW As on Thursday, the following report comes with a health warning in that, at the time of writing, it is precipitating and showers are forecast to continue. This is currently (Friday afternoon) falling as rain in the valleys and as snow at altitude. Therefore walkers out on the high fells (or lower fells should the freezing level drop) should expect, and be prepared to encounter, more snow than experienced and described below. The following will, though, provide an indication as to what any additional snow will settle onto. Fresh snow/hail has settled above 600m deposited on strong (and strengthening) predominantly westerly winds. Snow depth rises with height although due to the wind the actual depth encountered varies enormously from little, or indeed nothing, on windswept areas – such as large parts of the summit plateau – to drifts of over 60cm (and growing) although such depth was the exception. The deepest drifts can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly east and north facing aspects. The fresh snow is very soft. Conversely above 850m in similar areas (although both south and north of due east) there are patches of old, hard, icy snow and these 2 layers have not bonded creating potential, or actual, instability in the snowpack. Cornices have, and are, growing over steep east and north facing slopes. Although currently small, cracks were already observed in some of them so please keep well clear of such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Above 850m windblown areas and rocks were covered in verglas (thin ice) some of which were hidden beneath a thin layer of fresh snow making for treacherous conditions. With sub zero temperatures and a summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) of minus 11 degrees, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential for those going onto the fells. For those venturing above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes an ice axe and crampons will also be essential. Exposed routes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges – are now in winter condition and should only be attempted by those equipped for, and experienced in, winter mountaineering including an ability to assess the stability, or otherwise, of the snowpack. Walking poles and microspikes are strongly recommended for anyone going above the snowline owing to the amount of ice encountered on paths. Conversely, fresh, deep snow obscuring landmarks (such as footpaths and cairns) when combined with low cloud can create potential or actual whiteout conditions necessitating excellent navigational skills and/or an ability to turn back before getting into difficulties. Goggles are also strongly recommended to reduce the biting sting of windblown hail/spindrift – they were essential on Friday!! For those interested in the weather stats and surprised (as was the assessor) at the windspeed, I didn't hang around the summit for very long, the wind was definitely stronger on the ascent/descent and it was deliberately before the main power of Storm Eunice hit!!
17th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.9 -12.9 42.4 31.9 WSW - W The following report comes with a major health warning in that, at the time of writing, Cumbria is under a Met Office Yellow weather warning for snow from 3am Friday until 6pm on Friday and also one for wind from 7am on Friday again until 6pm on Friday. Therefore walkers intending to be out on Friday should primarily ask whether they really want, and have the experience, to be out in such unpleasant conditions and secondly should expect, and be prepared to encounter, very different conditions underfoot to those experienced and described below. The following will, though, provide an indication as to what any fresh snow will settle onto. Wednesday’s milder temperatures and accompanying rain has thawed most of the recent snow together with some of the older snow patches. With the return of sub zero temperatures (it was minus 2 degrees on the summit at midday), the snow that survived Wednesday’s thaw was rock hard and icy. Such snow patches can be found mainly above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly east facing aspects (both north and south of due east). Above 650m there was an insignificant skittering (light dusting) of fresh snow/hail/spindrift with the most accumulations (which was not much!) in the lee of the westerly winds that deposited it. There are cornices over steep, predominantly east facing slopes. Although they are extremely small, please keep well clear of such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise as cornices are likely to be a more significant feature once Storm Eunice has passed through. As mentioned, Storm Eunice is not going to make Friday an enjoyable day to be out on the fells. However, for those venturing out onto the high fells after it has passed, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots (not trainers) and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them - are all essential. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes or exposed routes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges – an ice axe will be essential and crampons must be carried in case hard snow/ice is encountered – as it was today on both Striding and especially Swirral’s exit. Fresh, deep snow obscuring landmarks (such as footpaths and cairns) combined with strong winds, low cloud and falling snow/spindrift are likely to create potential or actual whiteout conditions necessitating excellent navigational skills. Goggles are also strongly recommended to reduce the sting of windblown hail/spindrift.
16th Feb 2022 Col between Lower Man and Whiteside 4.5 -5.9 73.0 60.0 W Cumbria is under a Met Office Amber warning for wind from 14:00 today until Midnight as Storm Dudley passes over the UK. From Midnight until 06:00 tomorrow morning, it then becomes a yellow warning. Amber warnings indicate an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, including the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts, and potential risk to life and property. Extremely high winds are expected (90mph+ over high and exposed ground). It is therefore advisable to avoid going into the hills during this period. Today's readings were from below the summit Lower Man at an altitude of around 800m. No snow was encountered or seen today and with the temperature at that height around 4.5°C, any remaining snow will be thawing quickly. However, snow will be present on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800 -850m and more is forecast on Friday with the arrival of Storm Eunice. Anyone venturing out tomorrow is advised to plan routes carefully and expect high winds. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. For anyone planning routes on any remaining snow, it is advisable to carry an ice axe and crampons/microspikes.
15th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.3 -11.7 35.3 30.7 W There has been both fresh snow & a thaw in the past 24 hours! Very generally, the thaw has been below 750m, above 850m there is slightly more snow than on Monday and inbetween these 2 altitudes coverage is on average the same. There is a skittering of snow from 650m with a general coverage starting around 750m. Depth rises with height although actual depth encountered varies considerably from only a couple of centimetres on windswept areas – such as parts of the summit plateau – to drifts of over 60cm (although such depth is the exception) with a very rough average at 900m of around 11cm. The snow has been deposited on mainly W to NW winds so the greatest accumulations are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly E and S facing aspects. Above 800m lie some patches of old, harder snow that have undergone some freeze/thaw cycles. These are similarly on E facing aspects but also on N facing. There was evidence of some windslab (loose unstable snow) where these two layers of old and new snow had not bonded. These old patches of snow were hard and icy today. Conversely, most (but not all) of the fresher snow was soft; however, especially above 900m and where it had been compacted, some of the fresher snow was also hard. The summit plateau was covered in ice and some of the fresh snow had a, generally, non-weight baring crust. Cornices have started to develop over steep, predominantly east facing slopes. Although they are very small, please keep well clear of such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. At the time of writing, the whole of the Lake District is under a Met Office yellow warning for wind from 3pm on Wednesday with this being upgraded to an amber warning for wind from 4pm on Wednesday. It is, therefore, essential that any walkers intending to venture out on Wednesday aim to do so early planning to be safely off the fells well before these warnings take effect – as well as considering any onward journeys. For those doing just that, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone out on the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes or exposed routes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges – an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case the current snow freezes and hardens. Similarly microspikes and walking poles are strongly recommended for anyone walking above the snowline in case there is more ice and hard snow around on Wednesday. With strong winds, showers/longer spells of precipitation followed by weather warnings for the increasing strength of the wind, Wednesday is unlikely to be enjoyable out in the fells especially when compared with sitting by a log fire in a cosy pub!!!
14th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.1 -8.3 24.8 10.4 NNW Fresh snow fell overnight & this morning; there is a skittering from 500m with the main snowline being around 600m. Depth rises with height although actual depth encountered varies considerably from only a couple of centimetres on windswept areas – such as parts of the summit plateau – to drifts of 60cm with a very rough average of 10cm at 900m. The snow has been deposited on mainly W to NW winds so the greatest accumulations are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly E facing aspects. Above 800m in similar locations some patches of old, harder snow that has undergone some freeze/thaw cycles can also be found. Most (but not all) of these older snow patches were weight baring. Apart from this, however, all the snow encountered today was soft and, mainly below 700m also wet and thawing. The summit temperature just after midday was hovering around zero, so it would only take a marginal drop in temperature (currently forecast) for the snowpack to harden. Although the snowpack is mostly soft, cornices have started to develop over steep, predominantly east facing slopes. Although very small, please keep well clear of such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. For those venturing out above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes or exposed routes – such as Striding and Swirral Edges – an ice axe is essential and crampons must be carried in case the current snow freezes and hardens. Similarly microspikes and walking poles are strongly recommended for anyone walking above the snowline in case there is more ice and hard snow around on Tuesday. Snow/hail showers or longer periods of precipitation at altitude are currently in the forecast for Tuesday morning so goggles will be worth taking and walkers should expect, and be prepared to encounter, more snow than experienced and described today.
13th Feb 2022 Birkhouse Moor summit 3.9 -2.5 33.5 19.4 SW Another very wet and windy day with saturated ground conditions and many streams and rivers are now in spate. Much of the snow that fell over high ground yesterday has melted and with summit temperatures above freezing point, combined with lots of rain, any snow that remains was very soft and wet today. The snow level starts at around 700m although it is very patchy at this altitude, and the majority that remains is generally found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 800m. Striding and Swirral edge were a mixture of exposed wet rock and snow today, however, steep banks of unavoidable snow exist on the exit slopes of both of these routes. Colder conditions are in the forecast tomorrow with the freezing level expected to be around 700m. As such, much of today's wet snow will freeze and potentially be hard and icy. Further snow showers may also increase the amount of snow described here. As such, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are all essential for anyone going above the snowline. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats, gloves, spare layers, and equipment including a map, compass and a headtorch are also essential items for anyone venturing into the hills.
12th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -10.5 56.4 47.5 SW Fresh snow fell overnight & settled above 600m adding to existing accumulations. Depth rises with height although actual depth encountered varies considerably from virtually nothing on windswept areas – such as parts of the summit plateau – to drifts of 60cm with a very rough average of 10cm at 900m. The snow has been deposited on predominantly SW winds so the greatest accumulations are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on N through to E facing aspects. In these same areas above 800m, and especially above 850m, some patches of old, hard snow that has undergone some freeze/thaw cycles can also be found. Apart from some of these older snow patches, all the snow encountered today was soft and very wet. Despite the summit temperature at midday being only marginally above freezing, there was persistent, frequently heavy, rain falling at all levels thawing the snow, water-logging the ground and making any water crossings challenging. The soft snow also made any scrambling routes/sections of paths extremely slippery especially as the snow was so soft & wet that crampons/microspikes could not be used. An ice axe, though, was extremely useful. The summit plateau was covered in old ice sometimes overlaid with puddles of rainwater which, obviously, was helping to thaw it. However, the presence of this ice combined with storm force winds made for challenging walking conditions on this flatish ground. Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Along with persistent rain, there were storm force winds today and, at the time of writing, similar conditions are forecast for Sunday. Walkers out on Sunday should take this into consideration and plan routes accordingly. For example the crosswind on Striding Edge today made progress slow and 3 points of contact with the rock frequently essential – especially given the slippery nature of the soft snow and/or the wet rock. Sunday could be a day for crawling around the pubs rather than crawling on exposed, wind blown rocks!! However, for those venturing out above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes – such as the exits to Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is essential and, despite the soft snow encountered today, crampons should be carried in case the snow freezes and hardens. Similarly microspikes and walking poles are strongly recommended for anyone walking above the snowline in case the saturated ground freezes. Goggles could well be useful in case the precipitation falls as snow/hail at altitude.
11th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.1 -11.3 23.0 17.0 SW A cold and clear morning with relatively light winds and cloud shrouding some of the higher tops. Another dusting of hill snow fell overnight and terrain was widely frozen above 700m. Ice was also present on paths at lower elevations. Although snow cover in the higher fells is generally quite thin, patches of old, hard snow (névé) are still present, predominantly above 800m on steep north through east-facing slopes and these are now partially covered by accumulations of new snow. Swirral and Striding edge were a mixture of dry rock and snow today, however, the exits to both have areas of old hard and icy snow that needs to be crossed to get to the summit. A slip in either of these locations could have very serious consequences. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are strongly recommended. The summit windchill temperature was around -11°C at times today. As such, warm and waterproof clothing including hats and gloves are all essential. Additional equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are also essential items for anyone venturing out into the fells.
10th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.1 -13.7 47.7 39.7 WSW A cold and clear morning with strong winds over high ground. The weather deteriorated in the afternoon bringing snow showers which are adding to the light dusting of snow that fell overnight. The freezing level was around 600m today and much of the ground above this height, especially over Helvellyn's summit plateau was well frozen. The snow that fell yesterday was mostly graupel (rounded snow grains that look and behave a bit like polystyrene balls) and didn't add any significant quantities to the old snow that survived the thaw earlier in the week. However, patches of old snow are still present, predominantly above 800m on steep north through east-facing slopes. The exit to Striding edge has a band of steep, hard old snow that needs to be crossed to get to the summit. Similarly, Swirral edge (although generally holding less snow), also has a small patch of snow that needs to be crossed and a slip in either of these locations could have very serious consequences. With snow showers continuing through the afternoon today, anyone heading out tomorrow should anticipate more snow and ice than described here. As such, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are strongly recommended. The summit windchill temperature down to around -13°C at times today. Warm and waterproof clothing including hats and gloves are all essential. Additional equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are also essential items for anyone venturing out into the fells.
9th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.2 -6.0 32.4 15.1 W A dry and clear day in the fells with strong westerly winds over high ground. The vast majority of the fells are snow-free up to and including the highest summits, however, snow is still present predominantly above 800m on steep north through east-facing slopes. The freezing level dropped to around 600-700m through the day today and consequently any snow that was encountered varied from being relatively soft to very hard and icy (particularly where it has been compressed by walkers' feet and refrozen). Some ice (verglas) was also present on the rocks across the summit plateau. Swirral edge can almost (but not quite) be done without setting foot on snow with careful route choice, however, a small band of hard snow needs to be crossed which was very hard and icy today. The exit slopes of Striding edge hold more snow, and an ice axe and crampons were used to cross it safely today and are recommended for anyone planning these or similar routes in the area. With the summit windchill temperature down to around -11°C at times today, warm and waterproof clothing including hats and gloves are all essential. Additional equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are also essential items for anyone venturing out into the fells.
8th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.5 -6.1 23.3 18.6 WSW Although it was only marginally above freezing on the summit at midday, it was raining and there did not appear to have been an overnight frost. These combined factors have meant that there has been a significant thaw at all levels such that the vast majority of Lakeland fells and paths are, once again, free from snow. The snow that remains can be found above 700m with the vast majority above 850m and lies in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly east facing aspects (both N and S of due east). Today the snow was very soft and wet; however it would only take a marginal drop in temperature for it to become hard and icy which walkers out on the high fells on Wednesday should be prepared for. Similarly, paths and rocks are currently very wet and, at altitude, these could be icy on Wednesday. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was minus 6 degrees at midday, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. For those attempting, or traversing, steep slopes above the snow line – such as the exits to Striding and Swirral Edges which both have banks of unavoidable snow guarding their exits - an ice axe is strongly recommended and crampons should be carried in case the current soft snow freezes. Owing for the potential for ice on Wednesday, microspikes could be useful for anyone walking above the snowline.
7th Feb 2022 Blencathra summit 1.9 -6.0 27.3 23.4 SW Changeable conditions with sunshine, snow showers and rain sweeping across the National Park on fresh SW winds. Snow showers yesterday & overnight were very localised meaning there is a great variability in snow cover across the Lake District fells with the snow level anywhere between 300m & 600m. The strong NW winds which accompanied the snowfall mean that the greatest accumulations are to be found on steep SE aspects and in hollows and gullies above 700m. Drifts were up to thigh deep but generally the snow cover is boot depth or less An overnight frost refroze the older snow and exposed terrain. However the freezing level quickly rose above the summits and there is now a general & rapid thaw. Microspikes were very useful today in dealing with the huge variety of conditions underfoot. Despite the warm temperatures there was still plenty of ice and frozen ground to catch out the unwary, especially where the snow has been compressed under walkers feet. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats & gloves and equipment including a map, compass, goggles (for navigating in poor conditions) and headtorch are all essential. Carrying crampons / microspikes and an ice axe is also strongly recommended for anyone venturing above the snow line.
6th Feb 2022 Col between Catstye Cam and Swirral Edge -0.3 -6.5 43.5 20.4 NW Another day of gale-force winds with unpredictable squalls making walking difficult and any routes above steep exposed ground particularly hazardous. Yesterday's thawing conditions has melted much of the snow that fell in the last few days. The snowline this morning was quite fragmented but started at around 600m, however, it was snowing heavily and settling down to low elevations by early afternoon. The largest accumulations of snow are generally found above 700m on north and east-facing slopes where drifts of up to 50cm are present. Striding and Swirral edges are a mixture of exposed rock and snow and would have been hazardous for anyone attempting them (or other similar steep/exposed routes in the area) owing to very strong winds. The freezing level is forecast to rise above summit level tomorrow with rain and further strong winds over high ground. However, despite being a milder day tomorrow, high ground may remain frozen for much of the day Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats & gloves and equipment including a map, compass, goggles (for navigating in poor conditions) and headtorch are all essential. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are also essential items for anyone going above the snowline.
5th Feb 2022 Ridge between Swirral Edge and Catstye Cam 2.4 -7.8 63 47 W A wild day in the Lakeland fells with gale-force winds and persistent driving rain, sleet, and hail for most of the day. Conditions were extremely wet and rivers were in spate by mid-afternoon. The snowline this morning was at around 500m although this lifted through the day with rapidly thawing snow at all levels. The snow that has fallen in the last 24-48hrs was accompanied by very strong westerly winds and the largest accumulations are generally found above 700m on north and east-facing slopes where drifts of up to 50cm are present. Striding and Swirral edges were a mixture of exposed wet rock and snow today and would have been hazardous for anyone attempting them (or other similar steep/exposed routes in the area) owing to very strong winds. Cornices were not inspected today but any that have formed are likely to be unstable and should be given a wide berth. The freezing level is forecast to drop to around 400 metres tomorrow, so todays wet snow will freeze and anyone venturing out tomorrow should anticipate alot more ice. Frther snow is also in the forecast along with gale force winds over high ground. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats & gloves and equipment including a map, compass, goggles (for navigating in poor conditions) and headtorch are all essential. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are also essential items for anyone going above the snowline tomorrow.
4th Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.7 -13.4 35.5 24.4 WSW Although during the day it was hailing down to valley level, fresh snow & hail had only settled above 750m; however this height lowered during the afternoon and at the time of writing snow/hail has settled on the top of Kirkstone Pass at 440m. At 900m there was only an average of between 1 and 2cm of fresh soft snow. This was deposited on a predominantly W wind and has, and is, being redistributed so that the deepest drifts (of only 10cm) are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on E facing aspects. The vast majority of this fresh snow lies directly on top of the ground; however above 850m it is covering a few patches of old hard, icy snow. These were also in sheltered spots and hollows and on some east and north facing aspects. Most of these old patches of snow were not, however, covering any paths. Hail showers continued during the afternoon, so walkers out on Saturday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, a deeper depth of snow/hail than described here. There was some ice on rocks and paths, especially on popular routes where the fresh snow/hail had been compressed by walkers’ feet. Ice is highly likely to be more of a hazard on Saturday. The summit temperature at midday was minus 3 degrees C and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) a biting minus 13 degrees, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. For those attempting, or traversing, steep slopes above the snow line an ice axe is strongly recommended as there could be far more snow and ice around on Saturday. For the same reason, crampons should be carried. Microspikes are highly recommended for anyone venturing above the snowline owing to the amount of ice likely to be on paths. Goggles were extremely useful today to guard against the biting, stinging wind-blown hail/spindrift which really hurt any exposed skin! Fresh snow obscuring landmarks, combined with low cloud and driving snow/hail/spindrift may create virtual, or actual, whiteout conditions. The ability to navigate safely in these conditions will be essential and/or the ability to assess the potential dangers and turn back before getting into difficulties.
3rd Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.6 -5.5 31.0 23.2 WSW The following report comes with a major health warning in that, at the time of writing, overnight (Thursday to Friday) snow is forecast to settle on all but the lowest elevations. Therefore walkers out on Friday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, very different conditions to those experienced and described below. The following will provide an indication as to what the fresh snow will settle onto. The vast majority of the Lakeland Fells and all paths are now free from snow right up to and including summit level. It was plus 2 degrees around midday on the summit and drizzling. This was softening and thawing the very few remaining snow patches that have been present for weeks now and can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 850m. No ice was encountered at all. With the rain, however, the fells are very wet; this combined with the forecasted drop in temperature means that any rocks etc not covered by fresh snow on Friday could be icy. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing; this is before the forecasted drop in temperature, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Owing to the forecasted snow, walkers out on the high fells on Friday and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes will probably require an ice axe and crampons. Goggles will be useful to defend against snow/spindrift being blown about on strong winds. Fresh snow obscuring landmarks, combined with low cloud and driving snow may create virtual, or actual, whiteout conditions. The ability to navigate safely in these conditions will be essential and/or the ability to assess the potential dangers and turn back before getting into difficulties.
2nd Feb 2022 Catstyecam summit 4.5 -2.5 27.2 14.9 WNW A mild and windy day in the Lakes with low cloud shrouding many of the higher tops. The Lakeland Fells are by and large snow-free up to and including the highest tops. Small patches of snow are still present on steep ground above 850m, predominantly around north and east-facing corrie rims Swirral Edge has a very small patch of unavoidable snow right at the top but this can be negotiated fairly easily with care. Striding edge also has snow present on its exit slopes but this can be avoided completely with careful route choice. Summit temperatures were around 4.5 degrees today with some light rain and drizzle and this will have been continuing to thaw the remaining snow. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (feels like temperature) still remains below zero. As such, full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), hat & gloves, mountain boots, and equipment including a headtorch, map & compass are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. High winds are also in the forecast tomorrow (up to 70mph over high and exposed ground) which may make routes above steep ground less advisable.
1st Feb 2022 Helvellyn summit 2.9 -6.3 51.4 36.1 W The vast majority of both the Lakeland Fells and paths are free from snow right up to and including summit level. In fact probably the only path currently remaining in the Lakes with unavoidable snow on it is on Swirral Edge where a small patch can be found at the very top of it just before gaining the summit. Although now very small, it is not a place to slip so care needs to be taken when crossing it especially if it is hard and icy – which it still is having been compacted by many feet. Conversely, by careful route choice (ie reaching/leaving the summit just south of the Gough memorial) Striding Edge can now be climbed without setting foot on snow. At midday, the summit temperature was plus 3 degrees and it was drizzling (or possibly just dampness within the cloud!) Either way it was softening the remaining snow (apart from where it has been compacted) and slowly thawing it. This old snow has been present for weeks now and can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects mainly now only above 850m. Very little ice was encountered today. However, with a summit temperature only marginally above freezing, it would only take a slight drop for ice to reform, so walkers out on the high fells on Wednesday should expect and be prepared to encounter ice on paths. Far more of an issue today was the strength, and especially the gusty nature, of the wind. Foot placement demanded concentration! Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells.
31st Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -2.2 -13.1 51.4 23.4 NNW - NNE Very different ground conditions to those expected following snow falling late Sunday afternoon above 700m. Virtually none of this has settled and so the vast majority of both the Lakeland Fells and paths remain free from snow right up to and including summit level. In fact many paths and rocks, especially those catching the sun or exposed to the strong winds, were dry. Conversely above 400m, and especially above 700m, there were more patches of verglas (thin ice) black ice and thicker ice on paths and rocks compared to recently. This creates an obvious hazard particularly when combined with the strength of today’s very gusty wind. In addition, most noticeably on Helvellyn (compared with the other fells), there are patches of old hard icy snow which have been present for weeks now and have undergone several thaw/freeze cycles. These can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 750m, with the vast majority being above 850m. Owing to both the altitude and location of these snow patches, many have not thawed at all in the past fortnight or done so incredibly slowly if they have. Thus walkers out on the high fells and attempting, or traversing, steep north and east facing aspects on Helvellyn (such as the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges) should be prepared and equipped to encounter hard, icy snow with ice axe and crampons or microspikes. Despite the milder valley temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was a biting minus 13 degrees, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells.
30th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.5 -8.4 27.9 20.7 WSW A sunny start to the day but conditions rapidly deteriorated as Storm Corrie arrived in late afternoon bringing strong winds and fresh snow which was settling down to 700m as darkness fell. Prior to this ground conditions were very similar to the past few weeks with the vast majority of the Lakeland fells being snow-free. Any remaining old snow (névé) is typically found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 750m. It was hard and icy today after an overnight freeze and owing to the fact it is generally found on steep ground with a lot of exposed rock present, it requires the use of an ice axe and crampons to move over safely. Storm Corrie quickly transformed conditions with freezing rain coating the Helvellyn edges in verglas (black ice) and a thin coating of snow on which microspikes and an ice axe were very reassuring. Rime ice was also forming on the plateau The freezing level is forecast to drop to around 500m tonight so any precipitation will continue to fall as snow on high ground therefore, it's worth noting that the ground conditions described here may be very different tomorrow depending upon the amount of snow that falls overnight. Crampons / microspikes and an ice axe are strongly recommended to safely negotiate the rapidly changing winter conditions you are likely to encounter on the fells. A significant hazard will be the old hard and icy snow patches which may be obscured by the new snow. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, map, compass and a headtorch are also essential. Goggles would be a sensible addition as any new snow accompanied by strong winds will make navigation very difficult especially if whiteout conditions develop.
29th Jan 2022 Birkhouse Moor summit 2.4 -8.3 82.9 54.8 W An exceptionally windy day with storm-force winds over high ground and gale-force winds down to low elevations. Windspeeds are forecast to drop into the evening, however, severe upland gales are still in the forecast for tomorrow and a met office yellow weather warning for wind is in place for tomorrow and through until midday on Monday. The temperature is also forecast to drop tonight with any precipitation falling as snow over high ground, therefore, it's worth noting that the ground conditions described here may be quite different tomorrow depending upon the amount of snow that falls overnight. With that in mind, the ground conditions today remain similar to the last couple of weeks with the vast majority of the Lakeland fells being snow-free up to and including the highest tops. Any remaining old snow (névé) is typically found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 750m. Much of the old snow remains firm and fairly resistant to thawing and owing to the fact it is generally found on steep ground with a lot of exposed rock present, it generally requires the use of an ice axe and crampons to move over safely. Striding and Swirral edge are almost entirely snow-free with a small bank of old hard snow guarding their exits onto the summit plateau and this requires care to negotiate safely especially in descent. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, map, compass and a headtorch are all essential items for anyone heading out into the hills. Goggles may also be a sensible addition as any new snow accompanied by strong winds will make navigation very difficult without. With high terrain likely to freeze in the coming days, ice and snow will once again be another consideration for anyone venturing out, and carrying an ice axe and crampons/microspikes advisable.
28th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 3.4 -4.2 37.3 27.8 WSW A windy day over high ground with intermittent rain moving into the region during the afternoon. The ground conditions remain similar to the last week albeit with a bit more wet and slippery rock. The vast majority of the Lakeland fells are snow-free up to and including the highest tops. Any remaining old snow (névé) is typically found on steep north and east-facing slopes above 750m. This snow remains firm despite today's milder temperatures and owing to the fact it is generally found on steeper ground with a lot of exposed rock present, it generally requires the use of an ice axe and crampons to move over safely. Striding and Swirral edge are almost entirely snow-free with a small bank of old hard snow guarding their exits onto the summit plateau and this requires care to negotiate safely especially in descent. Hurricane-force winds (gusts in excess of 100 mph) are in the forecast tomorrow so it is advisable to stay away from steep and exposed ground. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, map, compass and a headtoarch are all essential items for anyone heading out into the hills.
27th Jan 2022 Scafell Pike summit - 977m 0.5 -10 45.9 34.2 WNW Ascended Scafell Pike today to ascertain whether any of Wednesday night/Thursday morning’s precipitation had fallen as snow at altitude; it hadn’t!! Thus, the vast majority of both the Lakeland Fells and paths remain free from snow right up to and including summit level. On Scafell Pike very little snow was encountered at all; the few patches of old, hard icy snow on paths were extremely easy to avoid. More of a hazard was the strength of the wind combined with the damp, slippery rocks. A very few of which (definitely the exception) had patches of verglas (thin ice) on them but walkers out on the high fells on Friday should be prepared to encounter more ice if there is an overnight frost at altitude. Compared with Scafell Pike, Helvellyn has noticeably more patches of both ice and some old hard icy snow which has been present for weeks now and has undergone several thaw/freeze cycles. This snow can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 700m, with the vast majority being above 850m. Owing to both the altitude and location of these snow patches, most have not thawed at all in the past fortnight or done so incredibly slowly if they have. Thus walkers out on the high fells and attempting, or traversing, steep north and east facing aspects on Helvellyn (such as the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges) should be prepared and equipped to encounter hard, icy snow with ice axe and crampons or microspikes. Cornices remain over steep N and E facing slopes. Although small they should be avoided, so please keep well away from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise especially in poor visibility. Despite the milder valley temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was a biting minus 10 degrees, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells.
26th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 1 -7.9 39.8 28.8 SW A cloudy day in the Lakeland fells with little change in the conditions compared to yesterday other than being a bit milder. The vast majority of the fells and paths are snow-free up to and including the highest summits and any remaining old snow / névé is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. In these locations cover is very patchy, however, some of the patches are still quite large. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. The remaining snow is well consolidated and was generally weight-bearing today. An ice axe and crampons are essential for anyone venturing onto the snow on account of the steep ground that it is generally found on. A slip or trip in these conditions, if not quickly arrested could have serious consequences. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock, however, a steep bank of hard snow is present on their exit slopes and requires good care to cross safely. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, a map and compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing into the fells.
25th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -1.6 -10 21.5 17.8 WSW The majority of both the Lakeland Fells and paths are free from snow right up to and including summit level with many paths and rocks out of today’s cloud being dry. However, there are also patches of both ice and some old hard icy snow which has been present for weeks now and has undergone several thaw/freeze cycles. This snow can be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 700m, with the vast majority being above 850m. This is my 14th season doing this job and it is the longest period of stable ground conditions that I have experienced. The only daily differences recently have been the condition of the snowpack, varying from slightly soft to icy hard, and the amount of ice on paths generally dependent on the severity of the overnight frost and daytime temperature. Owing to both the altitude and location of these snow patches, most have not thawed at all in the past fortnight or done so incredibly slowly if they have. Thus walkers out on the high fells and attempting, or traversing, steep north and east facing aspects (such as the exits to both Striding and Swirral Edges) should be prepared and equipped to encounter hard, icy snow with ice axe and crampons or microspikes. In addition to some old ice and compressed icy snow on paths, there was also some rime ice and verglas (thin ice) on rocks today creating an obvious hazard. Cornices remain over steep N and E facing slopes. Although small they should be avoided, so please keep well away from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise especially in poor visibility. With a sub zero summit daytime temperature and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. This is not just for comfort as in the sun today above the cloud the views, including Brocken Spectres, were worth lingering to admire – far more comfortable to do so with an extra layer on!! Come properly equipped and enjoy them!
24th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.1 -2.1 5.2 3.0 NNE Another spectacular spring like day on the Lake District fells with very light winds & plenty of sunshine. The vast majority of the hills are now clear of snow up to summit level especially on south and west facing slopes. However crampons/microspikes and an ice axe are still strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the remaining snow or above steep or exposed terrain, as the remaining snowpack has refrozen and is hard and icy. Any slip not quickly arrested may have very serious consequences due in part to the amount of exposed rock. The old snow / neve is generally to be found on steep north through east aspects above 700m. Additionally where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is now hard and icy creating an obvious hazard on many paths. Striding and Swirral Edge can be climbed almost entirely on rock with careful route choice, however, both have steep banks of hard & icy snow guarding their exits and many of the 'easier' routes on the flanks are also still snow bound. For this reason an ice axe and crampons / microspikes are still recommended for these and similar routes even though the affected sections are generally only short The Helvellyn plateau was clear of snow but small cornices still exist above easterly aspects which should be given a wide berth. Rime ice was forming on exposed rocks and vegetation on the very top 10m of Helvellyn! Despite the spring like conditions in the valleys full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential for anyone venturing onto the summits plus an ice axe & crampons/microspikes if your planned route could potentially take you onto snow.
23rd Jan 2022 Catstyecam summit -0.5 -3.0 16.3 6.1 W Another dry day with banks of cloud shrouding many of the higher tops and ground conditions remain similar to yesterday. The vast majority of the fells are snow-free up to and including the highest summits and any remaining old snow / névé is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. In these locations cover is patchy, however, some of the patches are still quite large. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. The remaining snow is well consolidated and was generally weight-bearing today but has softened slightly in the milder temperatures. An ice axe and crampons are essential for anyone venturing onto the snow on account of the steep ground that it is generally found on. A slip or trip in these conditions, if not quickly arrested could have serious consequences. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock, however, a steep bank of hard snow is present on their exit slopes and requires good care to cross safely. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, a map and compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing into the fells.
22nd Jan 2022 Catstyecam summit 2.4 -1.7 14.0 5.9 W A relatively mild day with strong westerly winds over high ground and banks of cloud shrouding many of the summits. The wind speeds recorded today were higher than indicated in the readings and estimated to be in the region of 30-35mph. The vast majority of the fells are snow-free up to and including the highest summits and any remaining old snow / névé is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. In these locations cover is quite patchy, however, some of the patches are still quite large. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. The remaining snow is well consolidated and was generally weight-bearing today but has softened slightly in the milder temperatures. An ice axe and crampons are essential for anyone venturing onto the snow on account of the steep ground that it is generally found on. A slip or trip in these conditions, if not quickly arrested could have serious consequences. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock, however, a steep bank of hard snow is present on their exit slopes and requires good care to cross safely. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, a map and compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing into the fells.
21st Jan 2022 Catstyecam summit 0.9 -2.2 13.3 6.1 W A windy day in the fells with little change in the ground conditions compared to the last few days. The wind speeds were higher than indicated in today's readings and estimated to be in the region of 30-35mph. The vast majority of the fells are snow-free up to and including the highest summits and any remaining old snow / névé is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. In these locations cover is quite patchy, however, some of the patches are quite large. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. All of the snow encountered today was relatively firm and required the use of an ice axe and crampons/microspikes to move over safely. A slip or trip in these conditions, if not quickly arrested could have serious consequences. Some ice was also present down to lower elevations today but was relatively easy to avoid. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock, however, a steep bank of hard snow is present on their exit slopes and requires good care to cross safely. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, a map and compass, and headtorch are all essential items for anyone venturing into the fells.
20th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -3.4 -11.8 16.5 12.8 NNW High pressure still holds sway over the Lake District with a hard frost down to valley levels overnight and most terrain remaining frozen throughout the day despite the sunshine The vast majority of the fells are now clear of snow up to summit level especially on south and west facing slopes. However crampons/microspikes and an ice axe are still strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto or above steep or exposed terrain, as the remaining snowpack has refrozen and is hard and icy. Any slip not quickly arrested may have very serious consequences due in part to the amount of exposed rock. The old snow / neve is generally to be found on steep north through east aspects above 700m. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is now hard and icy creating an obvious hazard on many paths. Striding and Swirral Edge can be climbed almost entirely on rock with careful route choice, however, both have steep banks of unavoidable hard & icy snow guarding their exits and many of the 'easier' routes on the flanks are also still snow bound. For this reason an ice axe and crampons / microspikes are still recommended for these and similar routes even though the affected sections are generally only short The Helvellyn plateau was clear of snow but small cornices still exist above easterly aspects which should be given a wide berth. With a summit temperature of nearly -12 degrees C full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential plus an ice axe & crampons/microspikes if your planned route could potentially take you onto snow or steep and exposed terrain.
19th Jan 2022 Top of Swirral Edge -0.6 -3.1 26.5 12.8 NW A windy day on the Lakeland fells with gale-force winds over high and exposed ground. Although the maximum recorded wind speed was 26.5mph today, gusts in the region on 50-60mph were experienced. The vast majority of the fells are snow-free right up to summit level, however, patches of old snow remain above 700m typically but not exclusively on north through east-facing slopes. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock, however, a bank of steep, hard old snow guards their exit slopes. Although only small, it is advisable to carry an ice axe and crampons/mirsospikes if you are planning to do these routes. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims in some places and should be given a wide berth. The windchill (feels like) temperature was around -9 today, therefore anyone who stood still would get very cold very quickly. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), map, compass, and headtorch are all essential for anyone heading into the fells.
18th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.2 -8.3 21.6 18.1 SW With fairly stable meteorological conditions, the ground conditions on Tuesday were extremely similar to Monday with marginally more ice at virtually all levels, especially in the morning, after Monday’s warmer daytime temperatures followed by the hard overnight frost. The majority of both the Lakeland Fells and paths are free from snow right up to and including summit level with many paths and rocks out of the cloud actually being dry. However, there are also patches of both ice and old hard icy snow. This snow can be found above 700m with the vast majority above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects. A particular hazard on paths was old compressed icy snow some of which, particularly below 850m, had partly or completely thawed on Monday and frozen again overnight forming ice and, therefore, less easy to see. Owing to overnight frosts and the altitude and location of these snow & ice patches, they are not going to thaw quickly so walkers out on the high fells should be prepared and equipped to encounter them. Cornices remain over steep N and E facing slopes. Although small they should be avoided, so please keep well away from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise especially in poor visibility. With the summit daytime temperature returning to zero and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. For those attempting, or traversing, steep, exposed routes above the snowline crampons and an ice axe to arrest a slide are essential. Please do not be lulled into a false sense of security; for example once again today the crest of Striding Edge was wonderfully dry, grippy (if that’s a word) bare rock. Its exit, though, is guarded by a bank of steep, deep hard snow. There are steps cut into it, and it can be done without equipment, but those doing so were not asking the question “What happens if I slip here?” Thus an ice axe is essential and crampons or at the least microspikes should be carried for those attempting the edges.
17th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 6.9 0.7 30.3 25.3 W The ground conditions are quite mixed on the Lakeland Fells. The majority of both the fells and paths are free from snow right up to and including summit level with many paths and rocks actually being dry. Conversely there are also patches of both ice and old hard icy snow. The snow can be found above 700m with the vast majority above 850m in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects. A particular hazard on paths is old compressed icy snow. Owing to hard overnight frosts and the altitude and location of these snow & ice patches, they are not going to thaw quickly so walkers out on the high fells should be prepared and equipped to encounter them. Cornices remain over steep N and E facing slopes. Although small they should be avoided, so please keep well away from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. With a temperature and cloud inversion today the summit temperature was above freezing; however the windchill did not make it feel that way so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. This is not just for safety; those without extra layers were unable to linger to enjoy the spectacular summit vista today. For those attempting, or traversing, steep, exposed routes above the snowline crampons and an ice axe to arrest a slide are essential. Please do not be lulled into a false sense of security; for example the crest of Striding Edge today was wonderfully dry, bare rock. Its exit, though, is guarded by a bank of steep, deep hard snow. There are steps cut into it, and it can be done without equipment, but those doing so, especially in descent, were not asking the question “What happens if I slip here?” Thus an ice axe is essential and crampons or at the least microspikes should be carried for those attempting the edges.
16th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -7.1 13.0 10.5 WSW Many Lake District fells are now clear of snow up to summit level especially on south and west facing slopes. However crampons/microspikes and an ice axe are still strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto or above steep or exposed terrain, as the remaining snowpack is forecast to refreeze overnight and will be a serious proposition for anyone venturing onto it. The old snow is generally to be found on steep north through east aspects above 700m. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is now hard and icy creating an obvious hazard on many paths. Striding and Swirral Edge can be climbed almost entirely on rock with careful route choice, however, both have steep banks of unavoidable icy snow guarding their exits and many of the 'easier' routes on the flanks are also still snow bound. For this reason an ice axe and crampons / microspikes are recommended for these and similar routes as a slip not quickly arrested would have very serious consequences The Helvellyn plateau was clear of snow but small cornices still exist above easterly aspects which should be given a wide berth. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential plus an ice axe & crampons/microspikes if your planned route could potentially take you onto snow or steep and exposed terrain.
15th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.2 -4.8 13.5 12.2 SW Many Lake District fells are now clear of snow up to summit level especially on south and west facing slopes. However crampons/microspikes and an ice axe are still strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto or above steep or exposed terrain, as the remaining snowpack is well frozen and a serious proposition for anyone venturing onto it. The old snow is generally to be found on steep north through east aspects above 700m. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is now hard and icy creating an obvious hazard on many paths. Striding and Swirral Edge can be climbed almost entirely on rock with careful route choice, however, both have steep banks of icy snow guarding their exits and many of the easier routes on the flanks are also still snow bound. For this reason an ice axe and crampons / microspikes are recommended for these and similar routes as a slip not quickly arrested would have very serious consequences The Helvellyn plateau was clear of snow but small slumping cornices still exist above easterly aspects which should be given a wide berth. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential plus an ice axe & crampons/microspikes if your planned route could potentially take you onto snow or steep and exposed terrain.
14th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 8.8 6.3 7.6 3.9 S A stunning day it the higher fells with all of the valleys and low lying terrain blanketed under a sea of cloud as far as the eye could see and only the higher fells poking through. The temperature inversion associated with these conditions meant that the valley bottoms were actually a couple of degrees cooler than on the tops today and it felt relatively warm in the sunshine and with little wind. The majority of the fells are now snow-free, however, all of the patches that were encountered today were very well frozen and quite resistant to thawing conditions even in the sunshine. The largest quantities of snow can be found on north through east-facing aspects above 700m. Small cornices are also present around east-facing corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. Striding and Swirral edge can be done almost entirely on rock with careful route choice, however, both have steep banks of snow guarding their exits. An ice axe and crampons/microspikes are recommended for these and similar routes over or above steep ground where snow still remains. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), including a hat and gloves as well as a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential.
13th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 0.1 -9.2 29.6 25.3 WSW A sunny day on the Lake District hills but a bitingly cold westerly wind kept folk on the move. The west of the national park had a fair bit of summit cloud but the eastern fells were clear. Many fells are now clear of snow up to summit level especially on south and west facing slopes. However crampons and an ice axe are still strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto or above steep or exposed terrain, as the remaining snowpack is becoming a serious proposition as it refreezes and consolidates. This includes Striding & Swirral Edge on Helvellyn The old snow is generally to be found on steep north through east aspects above 650m. An overnight freeze meant that much of it had an icy crust which only thawed slowly throughout the day. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is now hard and icy creating an obvious hazard on many paths and the Helvellyn Edges. The Helvellyn plateau was clear of snow but small slumping cornices still exist above easterly aspects which should be given a wide berth. Overnight temperatures on the summits are likely to be close to or below freezing, therefore full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential plus an ice axe & crampons if your planned route could potentially take you onto snow or steep and exposed terrain.
12th Jan 2022 Hall's Fell summit (Blencathra) 3.2 -0.6 19.3 11.4 NW A mild and dry day with cloud lifting and clearing through the morning with sunny spells developing in the afternoon giving a spring-like feel in the valleys. The largest quantities of remaining snow are generally found on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. Most of the snow encountered at lower elevations today was soft, however, on higher ground, it was weight-bearing and icy in places. Sharp edge was very slick and slippery this morning but can be done mostly on rock, however, patches of snow are present along this route and good care is needed to negotiate them safely. Over on Helvellyn, more snow will be present and similar conditions are likely with Striding and Swirral edges being a mixture of snow and rock. With the summit temperatures above freezing in the daytime, any cornices will be fragile and should be given a wide berth. Overnight temperatures on the summits are likely to be close to or below freezing, therefore microspikes/walking poles are recommended and an ice axe/crampons for anyone venturing onto or above steep ground. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including spare warm layers, hats and gloves, and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass are all essential.
11th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -0.6 -8.8 21.4 17.3 SW The ground conditions are very mixed on the Lakeland Fells. Large areas of both fellside and paths are free from snow and, indeed, were actually dry right up to and including summit level. Conversely there is also a lot of ice and patches of hard snow – especially this morning following the overnight frost at altitude. The snow can be found above 600m in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects with the majority being above 750m. Below 850m the snowpack was slowly softening during the day, becoming non weight bearing, apart from where it has been compressed on popular routes. Ice was frequently on paths where they cross drainage lines and on more level ground above 500m where water had not drained away and had frozen overnight There are cornices over steep N and E facing slopes. Although small some had noticeable cracks with reports of one having collapsed, so please keep well away from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. With the summit temperature returning to below freezing, and the windchill well below, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass - are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Owing to the amount of ice and hard compressed snow on paths and rocks, walking poles and microspikes are recommended to stay upright. For those attempting, or traversing, exposed routes above the snowline crampons and an ice axe to arrest a slide are essential. Please do not be lulled into a false sense of security; for example the crest of Striding Edge today was largely bare dry rock with patches of ice. Its exit, though, is guarded by a bank of steep, deep hard snow. There are steps cut into it, but a slip here could have serious consequences. Climbers. There was certainly some ice and neve present today – especially in the morning; however please choose your route carefully and do not attempt climbs not in condition in order to avoid damage to fragile alpine plants.
10th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -5.4 30.5 18.8 SSW Despite the significant thaw, with summit temperatures above freezing, full winter conditions still persist on Helvellyn and many other high Lake District fells. The snow level is rising but is around 500m with varied coverage and with the greatest accumulations on north and east-facing slopes above 700m. Generally the snow pack is soft and saturated but areas of hard snow and ice are common especially where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet. Striding & Swirral Edges are both in full winter & icy condition and required the use of an ice axe and a combination of microspikes & crampons to traverse safely today. Cornices extending up to 2 meters have developed around north through east facing coire rims. These are particularly unstable during periods of thaw so please give them a wide berth especially in poor visibility The freezing level is forecast to drop tomorrow which will quickly refreeze the snow pack giving serious conditions on which a simple slip or trip could have real consequences. For anyone venturing above the snowline tomorrow, microspikes and walking poles are advisable and if you are planning routes over or above steep & exposed ground, including the Helvellyn Edges, an ice axe and crampons will be critical. Warm and waterproof clothing including hats/ gloves, headtorch, map, and compass are also essential.
9th Jan 2022 Catstye Cam summit 0.4 -4.2 34.5 19.0 W A mixed day of weather with showers on and off throughout the day, some falling as snow over high ground. Overnight snow has settled above 500-600m adding the already existing accumulations. The freezing level this morning was around 600m but this rose through the day to around 900m. Snow distribution is varied, with the greatest accumulations on north and east-facing slopes above 700m. Snow depth varies significantly from a few centimeters over high and exposed ground to knee-deep drifts in other places. Small cornices have also developed around north and east-facing corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. Ice is also present underneath the snow in some places, and particularly where the snow has been compressed by walkers and refrozen. Much of the snow encountered today was relatively soft with some firmer areas that were almost (but not quite) weight-bearing. Striding and Swirral edge are in winter condition and should only be attempted by those with suitable experience and the correct equipment. Milder temperatures are forecast tomorrow, however, high terrain may remain frozen well into the day. For anyone venturing above the snowline tomorrow, microspikes and walking poles are advisable and if you are planning routes over or above steep ground, an ice axe and crampons are essential. Warm and waterproof clothing including hats/ gloves, headtorch, map, and compass are also essential.
8th Jan 2022 Catstye Cam summit 0.6 -7.8 29.6 22.5 NW A mild and wet start to the day with improving and cooler conditions arriving in the afternoon. The snow line starts at roughly 350-400m although this lifted through the day. Snow distribution is quite varied with north and east-facing slopes generally holding the greatest accumulations of snow, and west through south-facing slopes hold the least. Patches of ice are also present underneath the snow in some areas, particularly around drainage lines at mid-elevation. Snow depth varies significantly from almost nothing over high exposed ground to knee-deep drifts in other places. Small cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. All of the snow encountered today was soft and wet, however, with the freezing level forecast to drop to around 600m overnight, more ice will be present and the snow is likely to be very hard and icy. In these conditions, a slip or fall even on moderately steep ground could have very serious consequences. Striding and Swirral edge are in winter condition and should only be attempted by those with suitable experience and the correct equipment. For anyone venturing above the snowline tomorrow, microspikes and walking poles are advisable and if you are planning routes over or above steep ground, an ice axe and crampons are essential. Warm and waterproof clothing including hats/ gloves, headtorch, map, and compass are also essential.
7th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -4.0 -15.3 33.1 27.3 W - WSW Once again, this report comes with a health warning in that showers are forecast early Saturday morning followed by heavy rain with it also turning milder, so walkers out on Saturday may encounter less snow at lower elevations but should expect and be prepared to encounter more snow at higher altitude than experienced and described here. Fresh snow/sleet had fallen overnight to higher valleys level and this was combined with showers during the day. There was a daytime thaw below 300m. Snow depth rises with height with the amount encountered varying considerably from nothing on windswept and exposed areas, such as large parts of the summit plateau, to drifts able to swallow a 55cm ice axe – although such depth is the exception. The snowpack is mostly soft powder; however, mainly above 500m, there are occasional patches of weight baring harder snow which, especially on steeper ground, could be very dangerous to those without the means (ie an ice axe) to immediately stop a slide. Especially above 700m, windswept areas and paths devoid of snow were covered in ice. If the wind drops or changes direction, such ground could be hidden beneath fresh snow/spindrift. Although the snowpack is mostly soft, cornices have started to develop over steep north and east facing slopes so please keep well clear of such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. The coldest daytime summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) this winter season was recorded at midday of minus 15.3 degrees accompanied with occasional blasts of biting hail and spindrift. Thus full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them in limited visibility (especially in cloud and when the snow obscures landmarks) are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Owing to the amount of biting spindrift/hail being blown about, goggles are also highly recommended. Given the amount of ice on paths and rocks, microspikes and walking poles are helpful to stay upright. Exposed routes, such as Striding and Swirral edges, are in winter condition (albeit currently with largely soft snow) and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering. Similarly, crampons and ice axe are essential for anyone attempting, or traversing, steep slopes owing to the occasional patches of harder snow and ice. Climbers. Despite the amount of ice on windswept ground, the gullies are full of soft snow with climbers’ reporting unfrozen ground beneath. Please do not attempt climbs not in condition in order to avoid damage to fragile alpine plants. The advice from those trying to climb today was not to bother as it needs a thaw/freeze cycle.
6th Jan 2022 Fairfield summit - 873m -3.7 -14.9 34.2 30.3 S This report comes with a health warning in that it was snowing as the Assessor left the hill and also the Lake District is under 2 Yellow Met Office weather warnings for both snow and ice from 8pm on Thursday to midday on Friday so walkers out on Friday should expect and be prepared to encounter more snow than experienced and described here. A bleak day on the Lakeland Fells with those walkers sensibly not leaving the valleys not missing much!! Fresh snow/sleet had fallen to valley level although by early this afternoon this had turned to rain below c200m and it was thawing below c350m. Below c500m the snow was soft and wet whilst above this height the snowpack was soft and powdery. As the freezing level probably drops overnight, these differing conditions will affect the amount of ice that could be present on paths. Today, the fresh snow was obscuring patches of ice on paths making them treacherous, especially in descent. The fresh snow was being deposited on a southerly wind. On Fairfield’s summit plateau (870m), the wind was a fairly consistent 30mph with the snow only settling against obstacles and in hollows with the average depth at this altitude at midday of only 2cm. The deepest drifts on north facing slopes were c20cm. With a summit temperature at midday of minus 4 and the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) at minus 15 degrees, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment - including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them in limited visibility (especially when the snow obscures landmarks) are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Owing to the amount of biting spindrift/hail being blown about, goggles are also highly recommended. Microspikes and walking poles are helpful to stay upright given the amount of ice on paths. For those out on Friday and attempting, or traversing, steep exposed routes crampons and ice axe may well be essential and should definitely be carried.
5th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -4.2 -10.0 12.2 5.8 NW A beautiful, cold, and largely clear day in the Lakes with little change in ground conditions from yesterday's report. Although the fells look very white, snow cover is very thin overall and starts from roughly 400m. A lot of ice is present on paths down to low levels and microspikes/walking poles are really helpful, especially when descending. Striding and Swirral edge require a lot of care to negotiate safely as the ground is quite well frozen and the rock has a thin cover in Rime ice and verglas in places. Due to very thin snow cover and exposed rock, using crampons on these routes is difficult, and again, microspikes may provide a nice middle ground. The wind was fairly light today, however the windchill (feels like) temperature on exposed skin was around -10°C. As such, full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) plus spare warm layers, hats and gloves, headtorch, map and compass are all essential. For those heading onto steeper routes, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are also recommended.
4th Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit -4.4 -12.5 34.2 8.6 NNW Fresh snow fell overnight and has settled above 200m – 250m. The average depth at 900m is only 2-3cm; however the fine, soft snow is being redistributed on a gusty NW to NNW wind. The main hazard underfoot is the large amount of ice on paths and rocks which this morning was at all levels with a daytime thaw below around 300m. Walkers out on Wednesday should expect and be prepared to encounter even more ice as it refreezes overnight and also additionally on popular routes where the soft snow is compressed by walkers’ feet. Microspikes and poles are extremely useful to stay upright. As the fresh snow is blown about, it may well settle on patches of ice causing an additional hazard on paths. Although only covered with a light covering of soft snow exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, should only be attempted by those confident in winter mountaineering owing to the amount of verglas (thin ice) on some rocks. With the gusty wind, an ice axe is strongly recommended to ensure safe passage and crampons carried in case deeper ice is encountered. With the summit temperature at midday returning to sub zero and the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below at minus 12 degrees, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment (including torch, map & compass and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Owing to the amount of biting spindrift being blown about, goggles are also very useful. Those out today dressed in just shorts and trainers were quickly cold whenever they stopped. Extra layers etc are not just for safety, they also allow you to linger at the summit to comfortably soak in the magnificent atmosphere and admire the 360 degree vista. Come properly equipped and enjoy!
3rd Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 1.7 -6.8 32.2 23.3 WSW Lakeland paths and virtually all the fells up to and including summit level are now free from snow. The insignificant remaining snow patches lie above 800m and predominantly above 900m in sheltered spots and hollows and on E and N facing slopes. It was plus 2 degrees and raining on the summit at midday resulting in the snow being soft and continuing to thaw. These milder temperatures are currently forecast to end on Monday night with a return to a frost at valley level. With the ground being saturated from today’s rain, (along with the assessor!), walkers out on Tuesday should expect, and be prepared to encounter, ice especially at altitude. Depending upon where the unpredictable overnight showers fall, walkers venturing out onto the fells on Tuesday may also encounter fresh snow. Even with the summit temperature today being above freezing, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) was well below freezing at minus 7 degrees. On Tuesday, both the actual temperature and windchill will be colder, so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment (including map & compass and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. Given the likelihood for encountering ice on paths, microspikes may well be worth carrying.
2nd Jan 2022 Catstye Cam summit 3.1 -4.8 32.7 20.2 WSW The thaw continues at pace across the Lake District fells with even the normally reliable winter venue on the east face of Helvellyn consisting of just a few small patches of snow. All major paths are for the most part snow-free, including Striding & Swirral Edges The snow patch at Swirls Steep, a regular accident blackspot, has now fully melted which means the popular path up Helvellyn from Swirls can be followed without setting foot on snow However winter is forecast to return on Monday evening with snow falling to low levels. The few remaining patches of snow will quickly refreeze and potentially become a hazard especially where they are hidden below the new snow. Despite the milder temperatures the wind chill was still well below freezing today. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), extra warm layers, hat & gloves, headtorch and a map & compass are all essential for anyone walking, biking or running on the high fells.
1st Jan 2022 Helvellyn summit 5.6 -2.3 43.0 36.4 SSW An unseasonably warm but windy start to the new year on the Lake District fells. All major paths are for the most part snow-free, including Striding & Swirral Edges The snow patch at Swirls Steep, a regular accident blackspot, has now fully melted which means the popular path up Helvellyn from Swirls can be followed without setting foot on snow However, there is still some snow present in the fells, which is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep ground and in gullies with a north through east facing aspect above 800m. This is now fully saturated and thawing but as the temperatures drop as forecast next week they will quickly refreeze meaning that ice axes and crampons will be essential for anyone venturing on to them Despite the milder temperatures the wind chill was still well below freezing. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), extra warm layers, hat & gloves, headtorch, map & compass are all essential for anyone walking, biking or running on the high fells. Happy new year :)
31st Dec 2021 Birkhouse Moor summit 7.9 3.6 49.2 32.3 SW Another mild and windy day in the Lakeland Fells with gale-force winds over high and exposed ground. All major paths are for the most part snow-free, including Striding & Swirral Edges which can be done without setting foot on snow with a bit of careful route choice. However, there is still some snow present in the fells, which is generally (but not exclusively) found on steep ground and in gullies with a north through east facing aspect above 750m. All of the snow encountered today was soft, but with any overnight freezing in the coming week it will firm up again quickly. Despite the milder temperatures, the current wet and windy weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia for those not dressed for the conditions. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), extra warm layers, hat & gloves, headtorch, map & compass are all essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
30th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 6.8 2.3 13.8 12.0 SW A wet but unseasonably warm day on Helvellyn with summit temperatures reaching 7 oC Any recent snowfall has now thawed and the remaining snow patches are consolidated neve from the storms in early December which are proving pretty resilient to the thaw. They are generally to be found in gullies and hollows on steep N through E aspects above 750m. The snows surface was thawing & granular but just a couple of cm down it was still hard and icy The majority of paths, including Striding & Swirral Edges, can now be climbed without setting foot on snow with a bit of careful route choice. However venturing onto the snow without an ice axe and crampons would be high risk as a slide not quickly stopped would typically end abruptly in a pile of rocks. The popular Swirls path on Helvellyn has a couple of areas of steep snow where it is far safer to leave the path and pick your way through the rocks rather than risk the snow. Despite the milder temperatures the wet and windy conditions mean that there is a very real risk of hypothermia so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), torch and a map & compass are essential for anyone venturing onto the high fells.
29th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 2.6 -6.0 48.6 40.3 S A day of high winds and driving rain on the Lake District fells. There were sustained gusts of 60mph plus over exposed ridges and cols and goggles were useful for navigating. The recent snowfall has now thawed at all levels while the consolidated refrozen snow /neve from early December is just about hanging in there. These remaining areas of snow are mainly to be found on steep N through E aspects above 750m. The snows surface was thawing & granular but just a couple of cm down it was still hard and icy. The majority of paths, including Striding & Swirral Edges, can now be climbed without setting foot on snow with a bit of careful route choice. However venturing onto the snow without an ice axe and crampons would be high risk as a slide not quickly stopped would typically end abruptly in a pile of rocks. The popular Swirls path on Helvellyn has a couple of areas of steep snow where it is far safer to leave the path and pick your way through the rocks. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), torch and a map & compass are essential for anyone going out onto the high fells.
28th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 2.3 -4.7 23.4 9.2 ENE - NE The milder temperatures (it was plus 2 degrees on the summit around midday) has thawed the soft snow that fell early on Boxing Day leaving just older snow that has been around for some weeks now. These old snow patches are located above 750m in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects. This old snow has been hard and icy (some still is) and this, combined with its aspect and altitude, makes it resistant to the thaw. That said, such patches were softening and, in some cases, were non-weight baring (unless I’ve just had too much food recently!). However, most of the remaining snow does not obstruct paths leaving the majority of the Lakeland fells and paths clear of snow up to and including summit level. However, extreme care needs to be taken where paths are covered – especially on steep ground. For example on the, so called, “easy” route up Helvellyn from Swirrls there is a bank of avoidable (but it requires a scramble) steep snow near Browncove Crags. There are deep steps cut into it, but such sections require care – especially in descent. Conversely, both Striding and Swirral Edges could be climbed without setting foot on snow, although there is a patch of avoidable snow on the path guarding Striding’s exit. The main hazard along these routes today was simply the bare wet rock being greasy and slippery – something familiar to most fell walkers! Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment are essential for anyone going out onto the high fells – as those not carrying extra layers soon discovered whenever they stopped and quickly became cold. With cloud from 550m today, it was disappointing to meet people without any means of navigation asking for directions in the limited visibility. Whilst obviously happy to help it is infinitely better to independently carry a map and compass and have the ability to use them. You could be asking a confident person who, in reality, is also lost!!
27th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.3 -5.1 13.6 8.3 SE The recent snow is thawing at all levels with the freezing level above the summits and the snowline now at 700m. However the neve from mid December is proving very resistant to the warmer temperatures and was still hard, icy and weight bearing where it lies in gullies and hollows on steep N through E facing aspects above 700m. Striding & Swirral Edges have a skittering of new snow and microspikes were useful for extra traction especially on the 'easier' paths on the flanks. However with some careful route choice it is now possible to climb and descend both ridges without stepping on the older icier snow/neve. Ice axe and crampons are currently essential for anyone venturing onto the old snow / neve and highly recommended for those exploring steeper and more exposed terrain. Microspikes and trekking poles would be a useful addition for anyone walking on the higher fells even on the easier low angled paths. Similar conditions are forecast for the next few days. As such, warm and waterproof clothing (including hats and gloves) and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass (or other reliable means of navigating) are all essential.
26th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.3 -8.0 18.9 17.7 SE The higher fells are white once again as fresh snow fell overnight down to roughly 550m. Although total quantities are fairly small, ankle-deep drifts are present in many sheltered dips and hollows. The ground was frozen today above roughly 700m and rime ice was beginning to form on exposed windward surfaces. As such, the ground above this height was slippery and microspikes were helpful. The summit plateau is a mix of exposed ground and thin snow cover. In poor visibility, the current conditions will make navigation very challenging. Striding and Swirral edge are a fairly even mix of snow and rock at the moment, and it's worth noting that older patches of hard névé (although generally confined to the flanks and exit slopes) are less visible under the new snow. Cornices were not visible today but are likely to be building along ridgelines and be will be fragile so are best given a wide berth. Similar conditions are forecast for the next few days. As such, warm and waterproof clothing (including hats and gloves) and equipment including a headtorch, map, and compass (or other reliable means of navigating) are all essential. Microspikes and walking poles are really helpful on easy angled terrain and for anyone venturing onto steep ground, an ice axe and crampons are essential.
25th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -3.3 -10.6 26.9 13.6 ENE Happy Christmas to all our followers from the fell top assessing team of Zac, Wes and Jon. This report comes with a health warning in that the Lake District is currently under a Yellow Met Office weather warning for snow (mainly at altitude) from 0:15hrs on Boxing Day to 12:00hrs so walkers out on Boxing Day should expect and be prepared to encounter more snow than experienced and described in this report. The majority of the Lakeland fells and paths are now clear of snow up to and including summit level. That said, above 750m some substantial patches of snow remain. These are generally, but not exclusively, to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects. With the recent milder temperatures, the snow had been slowly softening. However, with a daytime summit temperature on Christmas Day of minus 3 degrees, all the snowpack encountered today had returned to hard snow and ice. Although most paths are completely clear of snow, extreme care needs to be taken where they are covered – especially on steep ground such as on the, so called, “easy” route up Helvellyn from Swirrls; here there is a bank of avoidable (but it requires a scramble) steep snow. There are deep steps cut into it, but such sections require care – especially in descent and bear in mind that on Boxing Day such old hard snow may well be hidden under some fresh, soft snow with the two layers not binding. On Christmas Day both Striding and Swirral Edges could be climbed without setting foot on snow, although there is a patch of avoidable snow on the path guarding Striding’s exit. With the colder temperatures, there were some isolated patches of ice and verglas (thin ice) on rocks and paths mainly above 600m. Above 700m and notably on the summit plateau, some rocks were covered in rime ice (created on a predominantly easterly wind). In addition, there was a very thin skittering of snow and hail above 500m. With summit temperature below zero and the windchill (what the temperature feels like) well below freezing, full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep ground crampons and ice axe may well be required given the forecasted change in ground conditions. For those interested in the weather stats, there were stronger gusts of wind experienced on the ascent and descent compared with those felt on the summit
24th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.0 -5.3 14.5 11.7 ENE The vast majority of the Lakeland fells and paths are now clear of snow and ice up to and including summit level. That said, above 750m some substantial patches of snow remain. These are generally, but not exclusively, to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects. Up to 2 days ago the remaining snow had been hard and icy and this combined with the remaining snow’s location and aspect has made them resistant to any thaw. That stated, with a summit temperature at midday of just above freezing and with light drizzle/cloud, the snow was very slowly softening and thawing. Although most paths are completely clear of snow, care needs to be taken where they are covered – especially on steep ground such as on the, so called, “easy” route up Helvellyn from Swirrls; here there is a bank of avoidable (but it requires a scramble) steep snow. There are deep steps cut into it, but such sections require care – especially in descent. Conversely both Striding and Swirral Edges can now be climbed without setting foot on snow, although there is a patch of avoidable snow on the path guarding Striding’s exit. More of a hazard today were the damp, slippery conditions underfoot – especially when moving over rocky ground or paths. It doesn’t have to be icy to be slippery !! Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. And for those doing just that tomorrow, or possibly just wishing that they were (!) or the majority of you at home, may the Fell Top Assessing team of Zac, Wes and Jon wish you a very Merry, Happy and safe Christmas!
23rd Dec 2021 Birkhouse Moor summit 6.4 0.6 32.0 23.0 WSW A relatively mild day with low cloud shrouding the hills for most of the day and intermittent light rain, and winds picking up in the afternoon. The ground at lower elevations which was partially frozen and icy yesterday has now thawed out, however, the remaining snow at higher elevations is proving quite resistant to the milder temperatures. The vast majority of the paths are snow-free and what snow is encountered can be easily avoided apart from a couple of small unavoidable patches towards the top of Striding Edge. Swirral edge can be done without setting foot on snow but this requires deliberately choosing to do so. Most of the remaining snow is generally to be found on steep north through east facing slopes above 750m where large patches and long ribbons are still present. The snow encountered today was softer than yesterday but still generally weight-bearing and even on moderately steep ground, required the use of crampons and an ice axe to move over safely. Some snow is in the forecast over high ground in the coming days so anyone heading out should be prepared for more snow than described here. Despite the summit temperatures being above freezing today, the windchill or 'feels-like' temperatures are generally below zero at this time of year. As such, full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), as well as hats and gloves, are all essential. A headtorch is also highly recommended in the event your outing takes longer than anticipated and you end up benighted.
22nd Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -5.1 25.5 20.6 SSW A cold start to the day with cloud-free hills and some ice present on the paths down to low levels. The weather began to deteriorate in the afternoon with the arrival of rain. The temperature of the air above roughly 650m was noticeably warmer than that below which has been a feature of the weather for the last week. Most of the paths are snow-free or what snow is encountered can be easily avoided apart from a couple of small unavoidable patches towards the top of Striding Edge. Swirral edge can be done without setting foot on snow but this requires deliberately choosing to do so. Most of the remaining snow is generally to be found on steep north through east facing slopes above 750m where large patches and long ribbons are still present. All the snow encountered today was very hard and icy and even on moderately steep ground required the use of crampons and an ice axe to move over safely. Despite the summit temperatures being above freezing today, the remaining snow was not thawing or softening noticeably. Windchill (feels like) temperatures are still in minus figures meaning that full winter clothing (warm and waterproof), as well as hats and gloves, are all essential. A headtorch is also highly recommended in the event your outing takes longer than anticipated and you end up benighted.
21st Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -4.1 -11.3 11.6 10.2 SSW Ground conditions were similar to Monday, albeit with dryer paths and rocks underfoot but with no thaw of the remaining snow. The remaining patches of snow are generally, but not exclusively, to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 750m. All such snow encountered today was hard and icy. Owing to its location and height and combined with a summit temperature around midday of minus 4 degrees, the snowpack was neither thawing nor softening and as such must be avoided when on steep ground – unless you are carrying crampons and ice axes. This is especially the case on Helvellyn’s east face. It is a long way down should you venture onto it and slip or the snow gives way. Having stated all this, the vast majority of Lakeland paths can now be followed without setting foot on snow with most of the Lakeland fells now being free from snow up to and including summit level. Many paths were dry; however there were occasional patches of thin ice on paths and rocks which were so intermittent that they can catch you out if not concentrating on foot placement! This is obviously more of concern when on exposed terrain. Swirral Edge can now be climbed without setting foot on snow, whereas there are only a few unavoidable steps on snow on the path at the very top of Striding Edge – but they are not on steep ground (unless you have taken the wrong route in which case crampons and an ice axe will be required). However, even this small patch of snow can be avoided by venturing slightly to the south. With the ground well frozen at altitude and Wednesday’s forecast predicting rain & snow at altitude, walkers out on Wednesday should expect to encounter more ice and snow than experienced and described here. With a summit temperature and windchill well below freezing full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells.
20th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -0.4 -3.4 5.1 2.2 NNE The majority of the Lakeland fells are now free from snow up to and including summit level. That stated some large patches of snow still remain. These are generally, but not exclusively, to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on east and north facing aspects above 750m. All such snow encountered today was hard and icy. Owing to its location and height and combined with a summit temperature around midday of just below zero degrees, the snowpack was neither thawing nor softening and as such should be avoided – unless you are carrying winter mountaineering equipment. However, the vast majority of Lakeland paths can now be followed without setting foot on snow. More of an issue are occasional patches of thin ice which are so intermittent that they can catch you out if not concentrating on foot placement! This is obviously more of concern when on exposed terrain. Swirral Edge can now be climbed without setting foot on snow, whereas there are only a few unavoidable steps on snow at the very top of Striding Edge – but they are not on steep ground (unless you have taken the wrong route in which case crampons and an ice axe will be required). Despite the slightly milder temperatures, the summit temperature remains below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells.
19th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 9.3 7.2 7.2 5.2 NNE Another spectacular high pressure day on the Lake District fells with superb visibility and light and variable winds. The temperature inversion was still holding but weakening with a 4oC temperature difference between the summit of Helvellyn and Keswick. Two days ago the difference was an amazing 8oC ie the summits were 8oC warmer than the valley floor! A few cloud inversions formed and dissipated in the valleys throughout the day but in general the national park was bathed in sunlight. High pressure conditions are forecast to last until Wednesday although you may have to go high to get above the cloud which will shroud many low lying areas. The fells are for the most part snow-free, however, there are still some large patches and long continuous ribbons of snow to be found typically but not exclusively on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. Small slumping & unstable cornices are also to be found above these slopes which should be given a wide berth. Despite the relatively warm summit temperatures all the snow encountered today was hard and icy especially on paths where it has been compressed by walkers feet and any slip not quickly arrested could have very serious consequences. Crampons & an ice axe are still essential for anyone venturing onto the snow and or steeper terrain. The majority of popular paths can now be followed without setting foot on snow - including Striding & Swirral Edges although these both require some careful route choice and anyone straying from this line could quickly find themselves on some very serious & icy terrain. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass and a headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing onto the fells
18th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 8.9 5.0 13.0 11.3 S Stable high pressure and a temperature inversion gave a spectacular day on the Lake District fells. Many of the national parks valleys were clear of cloud but a significant coastal cloud inversion made some inroads inland. Air clarity was amazing and the hills of Snowdonia could be seen from the summit of Helvellyn. The fells are for the most part snow-free, however, there are still some large patches and long continuous ribbons of snow to be found typically but not exclusively on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. Small slumping & unstable cornices are also to be found above these slopes which should be given a wide berth. Despite the relatively warm summit temperatures all the snow encountered today was firm and icy especially on paths where it has been compressed by walkers feet. Anyone venturing onto the snow and or steeper terrain should be equipped with an ice axe and crampons The majority of popular paths can now be followed without setting foot on snow including Striding & Swirral Edges although these both require some careful route choice and anyone straying from this line could quickly find themselves on some very serious & icy terrain. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass and a headtorch are all essential for anyone venturing onto the fells
17th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 11.4 10.3 8.6 1.0 SSW A dry, bright and clear day in the fells with light winds. A temperature inversion meant that low cloud and fog was present in some valleys during the morning but this slowly cleared most areas leaving a beautiful day with superb air clarity and visibility. The fells are for the most part snow-free, however, there are still some large patches and long continuous ribbons of snow to be found typically but not exclusively on steep north through east-facing aspects above 700m. The relatively mild summit temperature recorded today was taken in direct sun, but It's worth noting that in the shade (down to valley level) it remained close to freezing. All of the snow encountered today was hard and icy and ice was present on the paths in some places and didn't melt much through the day. Swirral and Striding can almost be done without setting foot on snow at the moment, however, there is a bank of steep snow on the exit slopes which requires good care to negotiate safely. Although small, an ice axe and crampons or microspikes are advised. Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass, and a headtorch are all essential.
16th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 3.0 -4.3 23.5 22.3 WSW The thaw is continuing across the Lake District fells with the majority of popular routes passable without stepping foot on snow with some careful route choice. The remaining patches of snow are to be found in hollows and gullies above 700m and mainly on N through E slopes. These aspects also feature small and unstable cornices which should be given a wide berth especially in poor visibility. The snow pack was generally soft but harder and icier where it has been compressed by walkers feet. The current high pressure weather system is forecast to create some long lasting cloud inversions. It also means the remaining snow pack will likely refreeze overnight. Therefore it's recommended anyone planning on walking on snow or venturing into steeper terrain, especially in the morning, go suitably equipped with an ice axe & crampons. Striding & Swirral Edges can now be traversed without setting foot on snow with good footwork and route choice. However as above they are surrounded by a lot of steep, snow covered and consequential terrain so please make good decisions based on your experience and have the correct equipment with you.
15th Dec 2021 Hallsfell Top 4.7 -1.7 24.6 18.6 SSW Today's readings are from the summit of Blencathra, where low cloud and persistent drizzle were the main features of today's weather. Sharp edge is free of snow with just a few small patches that are generally easy to avoid along the main summit ridge. Thawing conditions continue to melt existing snow, however, overnight temperatures on the higher tops may be close to or below freezing so any remaining patches may be frozen and slippery in the morning. Over on Helvellyn, yesterday's report indicates that the exit slopes of Swirral and Striding edges both have a steep band of unavoidable snow guarding the exits onto the plateau. Walkers are advised to carry an ice axe and crampons or microspikes to negotiate this safely. Despite summit temperatures being above freezing, the wind chill (feels like temperature) is still generally below zero so full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including a hat and gloves and equipment including a map, compass and headtorch are all essential.
14th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.9 -6.8 38.9 27.8 SW The thaw continues at all levels; it was plus 2 degrees C on the summit at midday. The snow line has now risen to c700m; however even above that height large areas of the fells are now free from snow up to and including summit level. The remaining snow is generally to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly N and E facing aspects. Today the snowpack was mostly soft with occasional patches of harder snow and ice mainly on popular routes where it has been compacted. There are small cornices over N and E facing slopes. Although these have dramatically reduced in size over the past few days, they have also weakened so, basically, don’t step on any snow close to such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise. All the crest of Striding Edge and most of Swirral Edge, apart from near the top, are now free from snow. However there are banks of steep, unavoidable snow guarding both exits. Although only small patches, owing to their exposed locations an ice axe is strongly recommended and crampons should be carried by anyone undertaking these routes especially in descent as they are not places to slip without the means to stop yourself. Despite the milder temperatures, the summit windchill (what the temperature feels like) remains well below freezing so full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells.
13th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.2 -6.3 19.9 18.0 SW The thaw continues at all levels on the Lake District fells with a noticeable reduction in snow cover from yesterday.The remaining snow pack is to be found above 600m and is patchy with the greatest accumulations in hollows and gullies and generally on N through E aspects. Many south facing slopes are now clear up to summit level. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is becoming harder and will readily form ice when temperatures drop as they are forecast to do overnightCrampons and ice axe stayed in the rucksack today but it would be sensible for anyone venturing above the snow line on to steep terrain to go suitably equipped as there are still large expanses of unavoidable snow and conditions and plans can change rapidly. Today the snow was soft and forgiving but the forecasted small drop in temperature will quickly refreeze it creating a far more serious environment. Striding Edge was climbable solely on rock with careful route choice today but anyone diverting from this line would quickly find themselves on some very serious, steep and snow covered terrain. There are still unavoidable patches of snow on Swirral Edge.Small cornices above the east face of Helvellyn are slumping and unstable in the warmer temperatures. Please give them a wide berth especially in poor visibility.Full winter clothing and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. An ice axe and crampons andor microspikes are also advisable for anyone venturing onto or near any steep ground.
13th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 1.2 -6.3 19.9 18.0 SW The thaw continues at all levels on the Lake District fells with a noticeable reduction in snow cover from yesterday.The remaining snow pack is to be found above 600m and is patchy with the greatest accumulations in hollows and gullies and generally on N through E aspects. Many south facing slopes are now clear up to summit level. Where the snow has been compressed by walkers feet it is becoming harder and will readily form ice when temperatures drop as they are forecast to do overnightCrampons and ice axe stayed in the rucksack today but it would be sensible for anyone venturing above the snow line on to steep terrain to go suitably equipped as there are still large expanses of unavoidable snow and conditions and plans can change rapidly. Today the snow was soft and forgiving but the forecasted small drop in temperature will quickly refreeze it creating a far more serious environment. Striding Edge was climbable solely on rock with careful route choice today but anyone diverting from this line would quickly find themselves on some very serious, steep and snow covered terrain. There are still unavoidable patches of snow on Swirral Edge.Small cornices above the east face of Helvellyn are slumping and unstable in the warmer temperatures. Please give them a wide berth especially in poor visibility.Full winter clothing and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. An ice axe and crampons andor microspikes are also advisable for anyone venturing onto or near any steep ground.
12th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 4.6 0.5 30.5 14.7 SSW A relatively mild day with rain setting in from mid-morning and thawing conditions at all levels. A lot of snow has melted in the last 48 hours and cover is now more fragmented with the snow line starting at roughly 600m. The remaining snow varies significantly in distribution from drifts over a metre deep in some places to only small amounts on exposed areas. The greatest quantities of snow are to be found in north and east-facing corries above 700m. Small unstable cornices are also present around corrie rims and should be given a wide berth. Snow on popular paths has been well compacted and soft ice was also present in these areas today. Away from the paths, snow is on average boot deep and difficult to walk through. Some of the paths are still buried under the snow and can't necessarily be relied on to find your way in poor visibility. The crests of Swirral and Striding edge are largely snow-free, however, the flanks and steep exit slopes still hold a lot of snow (the exit slopes of Striding edge in particular). Full winter clothing and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. An ice axe and crampons and/or microspikes are also advisable for anyone venturing onto or near any steep ground.
11th Dec 2021 Catstye Cam summit 1.4 -8.8 43.5 34.7 SSW A dry start to the day with rain setting in from mid-morning and thawing conditions at all levels. The snow line was around 500m but melting quickly through the day at this level. The remaining snow varies significantly in distribution from drifts over a metre deep in places to almost nothing in exposed areas. Snow on popular paths has been well compacted and ice is also present in these areas, although it was soft today. Away from the paths, snow is on average boot deep and difficult to walk through. Many of the paths are still buried under the snow and can't necessarily be relied on to find your way in poor visibility. Good navigation skills are essential in these conditions. Although not inspected today due to poor visibility, potentially large and unstable cornices are likely to be present around north and east-facing corrie rims and along ridge flanks. These should be given a wide berth. Swirral and Striding edge are in winter condition and should only be attempted by those with sufficient skills and experience. Full winter clothing and equipment including hat and gloves, map, compass and headtorch ane all essential. An ice axe and crampons and/or microspikes are advised for anyone going above the snowline.
10th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.4 -10.6 28.6 20.4 WNW The amount of snow cover has changed little over the past 24 hours, albeit with marginally less below 600m mainly on aspects that catch the sun. The notable difference to Thursday has been the consistency of the snowpack; the overnight frost has consolidated and hardened the snow and there has been a thaw/freeze effect. Popular routes are covered in compacted hard snow and ice. Undisturbed snow, especially above 750m often has a thick weight bearing crust – although this cannot always be relied upon especially if, like the assessor, you have had too many pizzas recently!! Depending upon aspect, the snow line is between 500 and 550m. Above 500m snow depth rises with height although, as ever, the actual depth encountered varies considerably from little on windswept areas, such as the summit plateau, to drifts over 100cm (although such depth is the exception) with a widespread coverage. The deepest drifts are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly N and E facing aspects, although topography is more influential on finding deep drifts. Where there is a weight bearing crust, the going is easy (with microspikes/crampons if needed). Conversely it is heavy going and energy sapping if breaking trail through soft snow which adds significant time, so route planning should allow for this. The summit plateau was in places scoured of snow and covered in ice. There are cornices over N and E facing slopes. Although currently relatively small if they crack and break, the fault line will be quite far back from the edge so please do not stand too close to the edge on such slopes and advise those with less experience to do likewise as there are already footprints far too close to the edge. Exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, are in winter condition being covered in hard snow and ice and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering including an ice axe and crampons. The exit to Swirral and especially Striding Edge are guarded by banks of deep, steep hard snow and these are not places to slip without the means to immediately stop yourself (ice axe arrest). Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. Deep snow obscuring landmarks combined with low cloud can make for extremely poor / nil visibility; thus excellent navigational skills are also essential. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes an ice axe and crampons are also essential; however they (or at least microspikes) are also highly recommended for anyone going above the snowline owing to the amount of hard snow and ice. Climbers. Although the snowpack has consolidated, the ground is not frozen and, unfortunately, it is forecast to become milder. Please check carefully and, if necessary, wait until routes are in condition to avoid damage to the rare alpine plants.
9th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.1 -9.2 19.4 17.8 SW There has been an extensive thaw below 500m, with the main snow line now at this level. Above 500m snow depth rises with height although, as ever, the actual depth encountered varies considerably from little on windswept areas, such as the summit plateau, to drifts over 100cm (although such depth is the exception). The deepest drifts are to be found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly N and E facing aspects, although topography is more influential on finding deep drifts. The snowpack was mostly soft making for heavy going especially when going uphill and breaking trail. This is energy sapping and adds significant time, so route planning should allow for this. Conversely, on popular routes there is some compacted hard snow and ice – which may be overlaid by fresh snow/spindrift on Friday. The summit plateau was in places scoured of snow and covered in ice. There are cornices over N and E facing slopes. Although currently relatively small if they crack and break, the fault line will be quite far back from the edge so please do not stand too close to the edge on such slopes and advise those with less experience to do likewise as there are already footprints far too close to the edge. Exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, are in winter condition, albeit with mostly soft snow, and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering including an ice axe and crampons and an ability to assess the stability, or otherwise, of the snowpack. The exit to Swirral and especially Striding Edge are guarded by banks of deep, steep snow. Again although currently mainly soft it would only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to harden and it is not a place to slip without the means to immediately stop yourself (ice axe arrest). Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. Deep snow obscuring landmarks combined with low cloud can make for extremely poor / nil visibility; thus excellent navigational skills are also essential. For those going above the snowline and attempting, or traversing, steep slopes an ice axe and crampons are also essential. As mentioned although the snowpack is currently soft it would only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to change. Climbers. Unfortunately the gullies are currently full of soft snow. Please wait until routes are in condition to avoid damage to the rare alpine plants….as well as yourselves!
8th Dec 2021 Birkhouse Moor summit 0.5 -8.6 35.2 30.7 WNW Overnight rain and snow over high ground slowly eased through the morning with the cloud base lifting slightly into the afternoon along with a marked increase in windspeed. Conditions in the fells today were very challenging with the snowline starting at around 300m and above 500m snow depth was roughly boot deep with drifts in excess of 1 metre in many places. Making progress in these conditions is slow going and energy-sapping. Many of the paths are buried under deep snow and are very difficult to follow. Some water features including small upland tarns and streams are also buried. With almost constant white-out conditions in the higher fells today, solid and well-versed navigation skills would have been required to make safe progress. Although not inspected today due to poor visibility, the strong westerly winds will have been depositing large amounts of snow on east-facing scarp slopes and potentially large and unstable cornices will have been building around the corrie rims and ridge flanks. There was also evidence of some cross-loading (snow deposition on other slope aspects). Anyone venturing into the fells tomorrow should expect and be prepared for similar conditions to those described today. Full winter clothing, mountain boots, and equipment including ice axe and crampons, map, compass, and a headtorch are all essential. Please be conservative with your plans and allow additional time for your intended route to avoid unintentional benightment.
7th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.7 -14 54.1 39.7 SE The following conditions were experienced prior to the main impact of Storm Barra. So walkers out on the fells on Wednesday should expect and be prepared to encounter more snow than described here. At the time of writing, the Lake District is under 2 active Yellow weather warnings until midnight tonight (Tuesday) for strong winds and snow. Although it was snowing almost to valley level, it was only settling above 350m. The snow is being deposited with Storm force SE winds. Consequently snow depth varies considerably from little on windswept areas to waist deep drifts with drifts of 20cm fairly common above 500m. The deepest snow is to be found in sheltered areas and on predominantly N and W facing ground. The snowpack is soft and breaking trail through it was already energy sapping and this will be far worse on Wednesday. Ice and hard snow was encountered both on popular routes where the snow had been compacted and where old snow had a chance to thaw and then freeze overnight. On Monday, the summit plateau was scoured of snow and covered in rime ice and it is highly likely that this will still be the case. Again, on Monday cornices were observed building on N facing slopes. Given the SE winds, they are likely to be growing with some possible on W facing slopes. Exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, are in winter condition and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering including an ice axe and crampons. Given the amount of snow that has, and is, falling anyone attempting or just traversing steep ground should also have an ability to assess the stability, or otherwise, of the snowpack. Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are all essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. Goggles are also highly recommended when confronted with driving snow. Deep snow obscuring landmarks combined with low cloud and driving snow make for extremely poor / nil visibility; thus excellent navigational skills are also essential as is an ability to turn back as the assessor did today! For those interested in the weather stats, the measurements were taken before reaching more exposed ground where wind speeds would have been far higher.
6th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.0 -11 33.1 27.6 WSW - W This report comes with a health warning in that it will only be relevant to those out very early on Tuesday morning. With the arrival of Storm Barra and Met Office Yellow Warnings for wind from 9am and snow from 11am, conditions on the fells will change rapidly on Tuesday. There was a skittering of fresh snow from 250m with the main snow level being around 400m. There was a noticeable thaw below 500m. As ever, the average snow depth rises with height with actual depth encountered varying considerably from little on windswept areas, such as large parts of the summit plateau, to deep drifts easily able to swallow a 55cm ice axe. Such depth is found in sheltered spots and hollows and on predominantly N and E facing aspects as the snow was being deposited and redistributed on a predominantly WSW to W wind. Apart from where it has been compacted, the snowpack is very soft sapping energy when breaking trail. Conversely, especially above 700m, the snow was hard and icy where it had been compacted by walkers’ feet. The summit plateau was scoured of snow and covered in rime ice. Small cornices were observed building on N facing slopes and, presumably, on E facing ones as well although the limited visibility did not allow these to be seen. Exposed routes above the snowline, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, are in winter condition, albeit currently with mainly soft snow, and should only be attempted by those experienced in, and equipped for, winter mountaineering including an ice axe and crampons and an ability to assess the stability, or otherwise, of the snowpack. At the time of writing, Storm Barra is forecast to hit the Lake District during the day on Tuesday. Therefore conditions on the fells are likely to deteriorate rapidly during the morning with potential blizzards and whiteout conditions. Timings and planned routes must take this into consideration; alternatively, plan an excursion to a Lake District hostelry! Full winter clothing (waterproofs, extra warm layers, hat & gloves), mountain boots and equipment including torch, map and compass (and the ability to use them) are essential for anyone going out onto the high fells. Goggles are also highly recommended.
5th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -2.7 -12.1 22.6 19.1 NE The Lake District fells are currently in full winter condition with the snow level at 400m. Winter clothing and equipment including an ice axe and crampons are strongly recommended for anyone venturing on to the summits Overnight snow driven in on strong northerly winds added significantly to the existing snowpack with thigh deep drifts of soft snow to be found in sheltered hollows. The change in wind direction has redistributed the snowpack on to S through W aspects with noticeable scouring on N through E faces Paths are becoming slippery and ice is starting to form where walkers are compressing the snow beneath their feet. Away from these tracks it's slow going where soft deep snow is lying on S through W aspects Rime ice had formed above 700m and there was plenty of soft windslab on southerly aspects although this was generally easily avoided Striding & Swirral Edges are both in full winter condition requiring an ice axe and crampons to cross safely. Yesterdays cornices above the east face of Helvellyn were being eroded by the wind but will now be building above steep southerly terrain Winds are forecast to back to the SW through into Monday giving potential blizzard conditions as the snow is again redistributed on to N through E aspects. Goggles and good navigation skills will be very useful for all hillgoers.
4th Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -1.5 -11.1 54.5 35.9 NNE The Lake District fells are now in full winter condition and full winter kit including an ice axe and crampons are strongly recommended for anyone venturing onto the tops or onto steeper terrain Overnight snow had settled down to 600m. Through the latter part of the day there was additional significant snowfall which dropped the snow level to 300m. Generally the snow depth was boot deep increasing with height but in places it had drifted to knee deep Sustained gusts of 60mph+ created blizzard conditions at times in which goggles were essential and there was a lot of redistribution of the snow cover as the wind veered from SW to N Rime was readily forming on exposed rocks above 850m and pockets of soft windslab were developing on southerly aspects as the day progressed Striding & Swirral Edges were both well frozen and snow covered requiring winter skills experience and the correct use of an ice axe and crampons The Helvellyn plateau was a mixture of frozen ground and snow cover with cornices beginning to develop above steep slopes on E through S aspects. These are very unstable while forming so please give them a wide berth especially in limited visibility.
3rd Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -7.2 27.1 24.3 W A slight thaw set in last night, however, remnants of ice are still holding on down to relatively low levels and require care to negotiate on many paths, especially around drainage areas. The snow level is around 850m although its distribution is quite varied, ranging from bare ground to ankle-deep drifts in a few places. Soft ice and slushy snow are present over large areas of the summit plateau and it will only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to freeze. Anyone heading into the higher fells tomorrow morning should anticipate frozen ground and slippery conditions underfoot. Microspikes and/or walking poles are very helpful in these conditions and an ice axe to arrest a slip/fall is also recommended. Full winter clothing including a hat and gloves, map and compass and a headtorch are all essential items for those venturing into the higher fells.
3rd Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -7.2 27.1 24.3 W A slight thaw set in last night, however, remnants of ice are still holding on down to relatively low levels and require care to negotiate on many paths, especially around drainage areas. The snow level is around 850m although its distribution is quite varied, ranging from bare ground to ankle-deep drifts in a few places. Soft ice and slushy snow are present over large areas of the summit plateau and it will only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to freeze. Anyone heading into the higher fells tomorrow morning should anticipate frozen ground and slippery conditions underfoot. Microspikes and/or walking poles are potentially very helpful in these conditions and an ice axe to arrest a slip/fall is also recommended. Full winter clothing including a hat and gloves, map and compass, and a headtorch are all essential items for those venturing into the higher fells.
3rd Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 0.8 -7.2 27.1 24.3 W A slight thaw set in last night, however, remnants of ice are still holding on down to relatively low levels and require care to negotiate on many paths, especially around drainage areas. The snow level is around 850m although its distribution is quite varied, ranging from bare ground to ankle-deep drifts in a few places. Soft ice and slushy snow are present over large areas of the summit plateau and it will only take a marginal drop in temperature for this to freeze. Anyone heading into the higher fells tomorrow morning should anticipate frozen ground and slippery conditions underfoot. Microspikes and/or walking poles are very helpful in these conditions and an ice axe to arrest a slip/fall is also recommended. Full winter clothing including a hat and gloves, map and compass and a headtorch are all essential items for those venturing into the higher fells.
2nd Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit -4.5 -12.6 13.4 10.7 ENE A stunning but bitterly cold day on the Lake District fells with a blast of arctic air keeping things feeling wintery There was a frost to valley level overnight and this only slowly thawed to around 600m throughout the day. Many paths have areas of water ice on which microspikes and trekking poles are useful. The snow level was between 800 & 900m on the Helvellyn range although many of the other high fells appeared to have less coverage. Snow depths were only a few centimetres lying over generally well frozen terrain Striding & Swirral Edges could both be climbed on dry rock and a thin covering of well frozen snow without needing crampons but again microspikes can provide extra security underfoot. However there were a number of very slippery areas where the snow had been compressed beneath walkers feet and an ice axe is recommended to prevent a slip becoming more serious. It is now dark before 4pm and even earlier in bad weather so it pays to make an early start, be conservative with your plans and make sure you carry a head torch
1st Dec 2021 Helvellyn summit 0.3 -5.8 11.8 6.5 NE Welcome back! Here is the first fell top condition report of the 2021/22 season: The snow that fell over the weekend and any ice that formed has now melted and the Lakeland fells are for the most part snow-free. However, wintery showers developed through this morning falling as snow above approximately 850m and settling above 900 with some drifting in places accumulating to ankle depth. The freezing level was hovering just above zero on the summit of Helvellyn and is therefore likely to freeze overnight. Walkers should anticipate some snow and icy conditions over high ground. Full winter clothing including warm and waterproof layers, hats and gloves as well as a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. Microspikes and/or walking poles may also be useful.