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Thread: Winter BG

  1. #1
    Member Real Ale Man's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Middle of Yorkshire 3 Peaks

    Exclamation Winter BG

    A Winter BG Attempt...

    2008/2009 has been a good winter so far and has provided some great conditions on the fells, but perhaps not the best conditions for a successful BG round.

    I helped out on a very valiant attempt by a lad from Skipton on a winter round this weekend . It was a 21.00 clockwise attempt on Fri 6th Feb. The conditions where indeed Very, Very wintery!!!, with high winds on the tops and lots of stinging spin drift, also lots of very hard neve, which meant zero grip from inov-8s - Kahtoolas indespensable (if you're venturing on to the tops while it remains cold it is worth investing in some), I had Inov-8s with metal spikes, but these struggled for grip on the sloping ice.

    A late arrival at Dunmail (1hr down on a 23.30) meant good progress would be needed on the remainder of the round to succeed (I was the pacer for Legs 3 & 4). As we progressed west the wind did not really abait, nethertheless we managed to keep to the schedule times over the Pikes and up to Rossett. Then the fun began ...all I can say the next section was not the place for a pair of BGers. We got up to the rakes and as it got steeper and higher the harder the ice got, all the ground was totally engulfed in snow and any rocks that pocked through were coated in a layer of ice, the kahtoolas were insufficient and we had to make do with very slow progress cutting steps with the ice axe. It took 60mins to get up this to get to flat ground. Which I had to lie on!

    By this stage over 1.30hr down on time, which meant a 24hr round would be out of reach, especially considering that more steep ground lay ahead i.e. Scafell. With that a difficult decision was made and it was decided to call it quits and a retreat to Langdale would be best. But this too brought problems, not the snow this time but trying to make contact with the awaiting support party. Another point worth remembering is that mobile reception is useless in almost all the valleys, hence it would have been better to battle on to Wasdale, if only decisions could be made with hindsight knowledge!

    This is a report from the tops:

    Leg 1 generally OK, including Halls Fell, here the rock was dry but with some icy snow in the corners and gullies.
    Leg 2 - lots of hard icy neve, making going hard on the steeper sections on the high ground (kahtoolas worked well).
    Leg 3 - going generally OK over the pikes (again kahtoolas or spikes needed), the next bit Hanging knotts - Bowfell is best left to those kitted out to climb, i.e. cramps and ice axe needed if quick/safe progress is to be made.

    I will try to upload some pictures in the next day or two.

    Good luck to anyone else having a go while the moon is full - but take care and take kit.

  2. #2
    I need to run more. southernsoftie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Wherever you find me is where I will be

    Re: Winter BG

    Sounds a real shame that. Hopefully he'll be back for another crack?
    "The best shield is to accept the pain, then what can really destroy me?"

  3. #3
    Grandmaster + stevefoster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Winter BG

    Quote Originally Posted by southernsoftie View Post
    Sounds a real shame that. Hopefully he'll be back for another crack?
    I'm sure he will, people with that sort of character always do, best of luck to him next time
    Hills and Guinness!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Full Moon Addict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Lake District

    Re: Winter BG

    Did you have the micro spikes or the kahtoola crampons? As you say, conditions are pristine for mountaineering but really call for crampons and therefore slower movement. I look forward to hearing the full account. I'm just back from a fairly epic traverse from ben cruachan to the kingshouse. Did it that same evening. was very string gusty wind sat morning and snowed most of the night. my map blew away at 2.30 in the morning in the middle of a blizzard on top of Glas bheinn Mor with another 20 miles to go. Will tell the rest of the tale later.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Winter BG

    I was out on Saturday recceing legs 1 and 2, following in the footsteps of the attempt (literally) (good navigating by the way).
    I was wearing orienteering shoes with dobs (titanium studs embedded in the rubber studs of the sole).
    These were absolutely ideal.
    They kept me upright when descending neve and allowed me to fly up any neve I was ascending. They grip well on rock and are ideal on rough or soft ground.
    I'd say they are safer than crampons because they are permanently on your feet, allowing you to always keep moving. with campons you would be tempted not to bother putting them on for a short stretch and just hope for the best.
    For info try

    regarding the attempt.
    It was tough going over legs 1 and 2, though not really obviously, snow wasn't overly deep and the neve made for good going if you had the right grip on your shoes. But there is an added cost in not quite knowing where your foot is going, whether the surface wil hold or give, micro slips all just tire you more than normal. Plus the need to carry serious gear for safety. My guess at the time was that it would be too dangerous getting up to Bowfell and beyond, too much rock and ice. Sorry to hear this was the case and the attempt ended there.
    Based on the progress made in the conditions I reckon a round would have been easily on for these guys in less challenging and truely extreme conditions.
    Last edited by andy k; 09-02-2009 at 05:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Master skennaugh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Isle of Man

    Re: Winter BG

    Good try. Thats rock hard. Are the micro spikes the ones they sell in the climbers shop in Ambleside? Best of luck for your next try.
    My island is very nice

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