The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Helm Crag. Grasmere.

Friday 13th February.
There was an amber weather warning for Grasmere this morning and looking out to a scene of very poor visibility suggested it may be right.
Cloud base was averaging around 300 metres and although just a slight breeze it didn't bode well for getting high. So we thought Helvellyn then! I think not.

We could see almost to the top of Helm Crag so decided we would do that. It had easily been 25 years since the last time i was up there and Sheila had never done it.
The initial walk out of Grasmere brought back memories of our Coast to Coast walk and gave good views of Helm Crag and the surrounding valley.
At one point we saw the top only to lose it again seconds later.

Once away from the intake fields the path is steep and unrelenting to the very top.
Much work has been done to the path which is a very popular one in the summer. Today however it was eerily quiet apart from the occasional Woodpecker chiseling.
We soon had to stop and take off a layer and it wasn't until we reached the top did we need to put our shells back on.
Just the odd patch of snow greeted us at the summit but most of it had already melted away. Temperature felt like it was well into minus figures but realistically it was probably around 1 degree C.
The wind was quite cutting and it didn't take long before we had to find some respite from it.
 Looking across to Easdale Tarn in the gloom
Sheila just managing to stand up with Helvelyn somewhere in the background.
The views downwards were great but the high fells were just a guess in the gloom. Helvelyn must be over there etc etc.

We could just make out Easdale Tarn but the onward ridge to  Calf crag was invisible and although it is a relatively straightforward hike we thought better to wait for another day.
At the crag called The Howitzer we took a few photographs and was joined by another couple who quickly disappeared back down. I don't think they even took the time to look around this spectacular craggy place. And then a couple of fell runners passed us with a cheery hello.

 Craggy top of Helm Crag
Approach to the Howitzer
As the rain/sleet started we headed off to find a sheltered place for a coffee and then retreated ourselves.

Just as we entered the tree line we spotted a Red Squirrel but it was away before we could take a photo of it. It was an unusually bright orange colour rather than the more deep reddish brown that i am used to, so it was a shame we missed it.
Our return back into Grasmere was a wet one but it didn't hammer down and the wind didn't become strong either.
Why the amber weather warning then? I don't know, but we had a good time and thankfully the knee was fine.

The following day was spectacular weather wise but we had to head back home, typical.
 I took the following photo’s as we got on our way.
 Helm Crag
 Harrison Stickle right - round the Crinkles to Pike O’Blisco left.
 Wetherlam -left and Swirl How taken from Red Bank.

The Langdale Pikes from Wrynose Pass.

All photo’s taken with samsung Galaxy S3.


Sir Hugh said...

Mobile cameras are getting good. I always refer to that as the Lion and the Lamb, didn't know about the howitzer.

AlanR said...

Hi Conrad. I had one of those moments, left the house with the camera on charge. Thankfully as you say phone camera’s are getting better. As i posted, my last ascent was something like 25 yrs ago and the more experienced walkers of this area called the more westerly crag The Howitzer then although Wainwright called the pair the Lion and the Lamb. Checking with Google today The Howitzer certainly has as many mentions as the L and L. Maybe other readers will have a better idea than i do as to why there is a variation. Good point Conrad.

AlanR said...

My guess ( after a bit of a dig around) is that on the main summit of Helm Crag there are 2 craggy vertical knolls as in my 4th image. These are the lion and Lamb.
The solo crag as in my 5th image at the west end of the ridge is the Howitzer.

Phreerunner said...

Yes the S3 takes good photos - the photos in my Pyrenean Adventure book were taken with my S3 before the zoom lens failed to zoom, which is a shame. A shame also that you appear to have failed to guide Sheila to the summit, Alan! I suppose you'll claim to have forgotten your rope...

AlanR said...

It was far too windy to get on the top Martin. Sheila is a better climber than I am so the guiding would have been visa versa.

Phreerunner said...

I thought as much, I was just joking really. I last went up in June 2011. I remember it not being that easy for me even on a calm day, on which I recorded being followed up by a small child!

AlanR said...

I would never have guessed!

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan. As well as the Lion and the Lamb I've known Helm Crag as The Old Lady Playing the Piano.

Shame you were leaving on such a glorious day but fine photographs to take away.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson. Well! Never ever heard of that one. Just googled it and wiki has it as the old lady/woman playing the organ. It makes you wonder just how many names it has.
Yes we were gutted to be leaving on such a sparkling day. Although we were not sorry to be leaving Grasmere and it’s ridiculously high prices. I think it will be a while before we visit there again.

afootinthehills said...

I've always been able to see the 'Old Lady/ Woman Playing the Organ' but the Lion and the Lamb was harder for me initially. Nice little fell whatever you name it. I assume your knee is fine now which must be a relief. Have a good weekend both.

AlanR said...

Now that you mention it i can see it too. The knee is good thanks. No problems walking although it does tend to stiffen up if I sit down too long. Have a good weekend as well.

Dawn said...

Some cracking walking there Alan, also the usual high quality photos.

AlanR said...

Cheers Dawn. hope all is well with yourself.

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