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Thursday, 12 February 2009

Whernside - in a blizzard











One thing you have to do with any skill is to practise. Practise practise practise.

And so, I steered the knipemobile to the layby quite near to Ribblehead to meet Mike from Go4awalk again for a bit of ice axing. The idea was to find a slope, slide down it in various positions, several times until tired and wet – and, incidentally, whilst trying to stop oneself sliding down the slope. And then climb Whernside.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of snow at Ribblehead. There was a lot of ice, but any snow seemed to be high up on the slopes. There was a fair bit on Ingleborough, but I just been up Ingleborough, see?

Anyway, so we walked up the path by Force Gill and then, at the foot of the last steep bit, we traversed along till we could see a likely looking bit of steep snow to climb in our crampons.

This we did. It was quite steep at the top and just scary enough to get the adrenalin glands doing a bit of squirting. Good experience, though, and if anybody had blobbed off, the run-out wasn’t too bad. I guess it was about three hundred feet or so.

At the top, it were blowing a right old hoolie and an attempt at luncheon in blocka/survival bags failed, so we determined to visit the trig on the top and then sod off forthwith. On the way up to the trig, the blizzard intensified into a grade 1 Class A sub class 7 industrial strength blinding blast. We tarried not at the summit, nor did we attempt a circular route, but put the wind behind us and went down the “up” path.

A lunch was had behind a wall and in a small snowdrift at about 500-ish metres.

We then sodded off and went home. At home, a further four inches or so of extra snow had come down. Wet, sloppy stuff, though. It’ll all melt.

10 comments:

Martin Rye said...

Proper winter walk then Mike. I reckon you could end up needing an Ice axe on the Challenge this year maybe? Snow could stay long in the Cairngorms.

mike knipe said...

Eyyup Martin... I did once take an axe on a CHallenge after a snowy spring, but due to a heatwave, I sent it home again.
Just after I sent it home, it started snowing again (dhuuhhh)
I won't be taking an axe, though - too heavy
Cracking fun, this snow stuff, though...

beatingthebounds said...

Looks like a wild outing.

mike knipe said...

Just the bit in the middle was a bit wild. Whernside is nowt of a hill, though, so it makes me wonder how wild it would have been up one of them there Munros.

Phreerunner said...

Cool, Mike, though I suspect your readers would have been impressed with a video. Did you raid the Bowes Museum for those ice-axes? And why didn't you take the bike with skis - that looked great fun.

...only jealous - there's no snow here...

mike knipe said...

Cheers Martin - Our snow has been melting quite quickly today. Brian rang earlier and said that my snowhouse has collapsed.
But, when it snows again- as I think it will, I trust we'll be having another go on the ski bike. Its fab till you run over a frozen molehill - then it can be a bit painful....
Would this vehicle be allowed on the CSM, I wonder?

Phreerunner said...

Mike, the bike on skis would be excellent for downhill sections of the CSM, if a little tricky on the uphills. I'm sure you'd be able to use it. If you have the patience to reach the last video of my last (long) CSM posting, you'll spot a man finishing a section in a wheelchair on skis - I was there, and saw it, and he was in much better shape than I was, despite the wheelchair.
But that's another story.

mike knipe said...

I had a look at your BIG post, Martin but my BT line is a bit ropey just now and keeps falling over, and I just can;t get to the end!
On fact this is my second attempt at this post.... dhuhhhh

Tykelad said...

So there's me chuntering and cursing like a good 'un trying to scrape a bit of ice off the windscreen of the car outside my house...and you scampering up a mountain covered in the stuff.

Yer mad I tells yer...MAD !!

mike knipe said...

Well, Tykelad, as yoiu can see, I like to wallop the ice with a big axe. herin lies all the fun.
This methoid has its drawbacks when dealing with icy windscreens, however!