Following the announcement of the JMC 33 peaks charity challenge I have been asked, as route creator, to write a regular blog to keep you all up to date with the event and give some insight into the route and my own training.
I’m no stranger to the Lakes and when asked by Andrew Burgess to create a challenge for JMC’s fundraising the Lakes was the obvious choice. …
The goal of the challenge is to raise a minimum of £3000 towards our chosen charity MedEquip4Kids, who are looking to provide critical paediatric medical equipment and facilities for hospitals and community health teams in the Salford area.
Why 33 peaks? Well, having done the 3 Peaks and with JMC being in its 33rd year it seemed an obvious number and following some research and study of my Lake District maps a route was designed with the correct number of peaks in what I think is an achievable distance. More details of the route will following in the next posts.
Unlike many of the members of team JMC I’m not the fittest and as a result I’ve been training hard of this event. I tend to go out into the mountains every 2 weeks, with lots of gym/bike training in between. My latest training walk took place last weekend and my goal was to cover the highest part of the intended route. Starting in Great Langdale the weather was cold but still and with some glimpses of blue sky things looked on for a great day.
After a couple of miles of flat, the climbing started. With 1600 feet of climb in a mile it’s a great way to get up on the mountains and certainly gets the heart going! On the way up I met some climbers on route to Great End – they were already in full kit with crampons and ice axes out. As I started the first small descent I wished I also had crampons! What had a couple of weeks ago been soft snow was now ice and this made any descent difficult.
I continued to climb past Esk Hause and up towards Ill Crag. At this point the weather that had looked OK at the beginning really started to close in. While navigation on this route is relatively easy as there are cairns every few yards, the underfoot conditions particularly on the descents made things quite difficult.
Going past Broad Crag I climbed the last section up onto the summit of Scafell Pike. The highest mountain in England. By this point the wind was strong and it was snowing quite heavily.
I hung around on the summit for a couple of minutes to try and get some photographs but even just after a short stop I started to get very cold, not only that my water also froze! Based on these conditions I took the decision to shorten the route and simply return home via the same path.
The descent from the summit of Scafell Pike is quite steep and in summer conditions is not difficult, on ice however it proved to be very tricky. Using my ice axe as a brake I managed to descend the steep section albeit not with much style.
I retraced my steps back via Esk Hause and back towards Angle tarn and then finally dropped back into Micklenden at the head of Langdale. Following the couple of miles of flat I was back safely at the car.
The total route was 11.5 miles, 4300 Feet of ascent, in 5 and a half hours – considering the conditions I was pleased with that. Which section of the 33 Peaks route will I train on next? I’ve got 2 weeks to consider.