This week details of the first part of the JMC 33 Peaks Challenge and a report of this weekend’s training walk.
The 33 Peaks route is split into 3 sections and in this post I’ll show you section one.
This photo above shows the first section quite well. I’ve filled the peak names in – there are however three missing which are hiding behind Lowerman. These are Stybarrow Dodd, Raise and Whiteside. This section contains twelve peaks starting with Clough Head near Keswick and finishes with Seat Sandal just above Dunmail Raise on the main Ambleside to Keswick road. The majority of this section will be completed in the dark and based on the current schedule we will reach our support team on Dunmail Raise at approximately 2am. Section 1 is approximately 14 miles long with approximately 6000 feet of vertical ascent.
Will the weather get any warmer? As you can see from the photo, this weekend saw new snow falls on the mountains and due to the weather my proposed training walk on Saturday had to be cancelled. I did however get out on Sunday and covered most of the second section of the 33 Peaks. Starting early I parked in Great Langdale and walked via the New Dungeon Ghyll up to Stickle Tarn and back into fresh snow.
This image is of the face of Pavey Ark in full winter conditions. With a strong easterly wind it was very cold! Continuing past the tarn I climbed through deep snow onto the ridge between Blea Rigg (a peak I took a group of Team JMC walkers to last year) and Sergeant Man – my first peak of the day. Once at the summit the weather briefly cleared and unveiled the great views from the summit.
The lake in the distance is Windermere. From this summit I climbed to the highest point of the day – High Raise. The summit is very rounded and some say dull, but the views from it are great. The picture below shows some of the peaks in the third section of the 33 Peaks, including the highest, Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.
I didn’t hang around on the summit due to the wind which was very cold. Descending from High Raise, I climbed Thunacar Knott, before making the short walk to the summit of Pavey Ark.
I was quite careful on this summit not to go to close to the edge – as you can see it’s a long way down. From here I climbed back towards Thunacar Knott before turning left up to Harrison Stickle. The route from Harrison Stickle has quite a steep descent and in the snow this was quite testing, partly due to the old snow which had now turned to ice and was covered by the fresh snow. At the bottom of the descent, a quick climb on rough ground took me to Loft Crag.
The next summit is Pike O’ Stickle. For those that have been to Langdale before this is the rocky dome high on the skyline ( it’s also in the photo above). I climbed up to the base on the rocky climb but due to the ice and snow decided that, for a change, I’d be sensible and give this summit a miss.
Having missed Pike O’ Stickle out I had just one peak left to complete, Rossett Pike. To get to Rossett Pike you have to walk down to Sticks Pass and then climb back up to the top. This path in summer is quite wet and in these conditions was quite testing as not all the ice was thick enough to walk on, so great care was needed. Climbing past Sticks Pass the snow became deeper and as I approached the summit, I had to climb though a number of large boulder fields which were quite testing.
From the summit of Rossett Pike it’s a short walk to the end of section two just above Angle Tarn and back onto the route I used two weeks ago to climb Scafell Pike. I descended the same path and back to the car.
This week’s walk was 12 miles with just less than 4000 feet of ascent and finishing in 6 hours I was pleased. Next week is the assessment walk to decide the team to complete the full challenge and for a change we will not be in the Lakes but in Yorkshire, walking the 3 peaks.