It has been a while since I wrote my last blog post due to the fact I was sticking to the same training routine so the posts would of sounded repetitive.
I managed to get out the house and climb which is now my favourite, Blencathra which is located in The Lake District, Cumbria.
I was keeping an eye on the weather all week before the trip to make sure it was the best conditions possible. It turns out I’m no good at reading the weather and was faced with 80mph winds, blizzards and snow up to my waist which I had to work my way through.
I got to the White Horse Inn car park to start the climb at 9:30am. I put on my walking boots and about 10 layers of clothing to keep warm. I put all the essentials in my rucksack including: Red Bull, Water, Protein bars and sandwiches which ended up soggy by the end of the day.
First of all, I told myself that I will climb this via the Sharp edge route. I got to scales tarn and straight away saw it was a no go. Covered with snow, 80mph winds, blizzarding…really wasn’t worth the risk. I turned back around and headed back to then attempt the climb via Hall’s Fell Ridge.
It was quite surreal as the lower I got the snow disappeared, like I entered a time warp into a different country with normal weather. The higher I got as I started to climb, the more snow appeared, the weather changed drastically and was got even more tough. It got to a point where I had to crouch down to the ground to stop the wind from blowing me over the edge. Had snow blasting me in the face constantly and genuinely think Ice was forming in my beard.
I saw 5 climbers with literally all the gear. Ice picks, crampons, ropes… you name it. After a chat with them, they decided to turn back as it was too dangerous. I decided to carry on with none of that equipment. Always up for a challenge.
As I got higher, the snow got deeper and the visibility got worse. I started to lose the route and go off course. I was trying to just find a bit of rock to keep walking on so I didn’t keep falling through the snow.
I got to the ‘Zig Zags’ of the climb which is a route before you summit which is literally a zig zagged path marked out. I had to keep stopping as I couldn’t see anything in front of me and everything was turning violet/pink from staring at the snow for too long. This happens when the light reflects from the snow and potentially sun burns your corneas in the eyes. Obviously, should of brought sunglasses.
On the ‘Zig Zags’ I saw 2 other climbers turn back as the route was lost due to visibility and too much snow.
I made it to the top, and didn’t have too much time to take photos and the conditions were getting worse and then had to get down as soon as possible. I literally slid down the mountain, making my own route to get down as quick as I could.
As I got closer to the ground, the snow started to disappear and once again was like I stepped back into a different country. I will be back in Summer to take on Sharp Edge in better conditions. Blencathra is now my favourite mountain to climb. The views (what I could see) was stunning and it was a really enjoyable and challenging climb.