Reports - winter conditions and activity

Monday, November 05, 2012

Ski Touring, Helvellyn 05-11-12

Great weather today in the Lakes, sunshine and blue sky!  The climbing conditions are still much the same with snow insulating unfrozen turf, there was some snowed up rock but the crags were black where steep generally.  

So climbing aside, the snow was still very light and powdery out of the sun and soft everywhere, there was some evidence of the snow consolidating but not much yet.  This meant skiing today was a great option, a bit of a carry was needed to the snow line and some selective route choice, but in places the snow was really good.  There were people skiing at Raise again and kites out as well.

Tracks up from Keppal Cove

Skinning up to Whiteside Bank

Whiteside Bank

I skinned up to Whiteside Bank and then dropped into Brown Cove, the snow here was OK but a bit thin lower down.  I then skinned across Brown Cove and traversed over to Swirl Edge, up Swirl to Helvellyn summit with skis on pack.  The Helvellyn Headwall area seemed to be holding a lot of snow, more than Brown Cove so I decided to ski that.  The snow on the headwall was actually really good, there was enough depth also to avoid cutting through to the ground (there is no base below the recent snowfall) so the descent was really good and possible to the Tarn, though the last 3rd was thinner.  After 3 runs down this it was down to the car at Greenside, this was also skiable surprisingly far down with a bit of Lakeland mixed skiing to finish.

Swirl Edge

Helvellyn headwall, drop in on the right.

Tracks down the headwall to the Tarn and exit slot bashed in cornice.


  1. Wanted to ski the Red Tarn Face on Monday as well, but we could only get out at night... nearly dropped in, but no helmet and the fact I had forgotten to take my skins off made me think twice.. good nights sking, shame its all gone!!

  2. Hey, ah pity, was good snow for it... Skins on could be a shock though!!

    Did you find the slot in the cornice?

    Early days yet anyway, see some snow forecast this weekend.


  3. I know the snow was great, especially for Nov 5th, never skied that early before and I've grown up on Lakes skiing.

    Didn't find the slot, we were in total clag, hopefully next time I'll manage it in day light.

    Yep early days,but maybe set for a good winter...

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  6. Thank you for sharing. I just checked the ski conditions for the Cascades, can’t wait to go. I never thought I would be skiing in May!