Wetherlam and Swirl How, 3rd Feb 2015

  • Tilberthwaite car park, wetherlam edge, wetherlam, swirl hause, swirl how, levers hause, levers water, coppermines valley youth hostel, Coniston, return along the road to the car park
  • Measured as 8 ½ miles and 930 meters ascent
  • Start – 10:30, end – 5:30

The forecast was good and promised plenty of snow and ice on the ground so I wanted a day in the lakes. I was going with a friend, Arend, and gave him the choice of walk and he fancied a repeat of wetherlam.

The car said it was below freezing at the tilberthwaite car park but it was blue sky and looked perfect. The ice started straight away, with soft snow off the path and hard icy snow or clear blue ice on it. I didn’t need to navigate as I’d done this route twice before so we made good progress, apart from frequent stops for photos in the amazingly clear crisp air.

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When we got to wetherlam edge we had more footprints to follow than my last trip and we trod the exact same path up the scrambly rocks and stopped in the same place to put on crampons. This was a good call, the path was even more iced up than last time with fantastic great masses of flowing blue ice on the rock steps and hard packed snow otherwise but we were at the summit in good time. Ducking below a rock gave us a windless perfect picnic spot.

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Wetherlam Edge is the blunt ridge just in shadow with the band of snow just to its left.
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Frozen footprints, left raised after the surrounding powder snow has been scoured away

We looked  at the returns and decided we had time to extend the day down and up to swirl how. This was a great route, very icy, but an easier path than wetherlam edge and we were at the next summit in no time.

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Scafell and Scafell Pike, just in the clouds, from Swirl How

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Crampons off, as the ongoing ridge was scoured clear of snow until the saddle at levers hause. I checked the location with three compass bearings – I didn’t want to choose the wrong way down with the paths not visible under the snow.

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From Levers Hause
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From Levers Water up to Levers Hause

The way down to levers water was easy in the deep soft snow. We had plenty of time contingency, as we could, if necessary, manage the track and road from the youth hostel in the dark, but we pushed on quickly (Arend being significantly younger and fitter than me) and got back to the car just as it was getting dark.

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