|4 am, somewhere in South Yorkshire - yes that's what getting up after 3.5 hours sleep feels like.|
|Phone snaps: a better topo in from an old guide/a snowy Lake District/a happy climber|
|Avalanche debris, some hundreds of metres belows the cliffs. Yes, you can big avalanches in England!|
The ridge itself was a delight, never desperate, but plenty of opportunities to get my head back into British mixed; hooking, torquing, swinging tools into frozen turf. The crux is no pushover - and I chimney up carefully, double checking my hooks - well aware I'm alone and not on a rope. Having been soloing a lot easy grit routes recently, I even chuck in a gloved handjam on the crack, preferring that to a tenuous torque.
|Looking back down the crux corner|
|The final pinnacle of Pinnacle Ridge, II. Grisedale is below.|
|Looking down towards Ullswater.|
|A bit steeper than your normal grade I gully!|
I slog to St Sunday's highest point, put on a duvet to ward off the maelstrom, check the compass and map and head east and down. The walk along the ridge is lovely as soon as I'm down below the cloud. The heavy snow that has been blasting past me on the cliff has whitened everything below, right down to the lake.
|Walking down and towards the sunshine|
|Red Screes gone white.|
|Looking down from the Kirstone Pass towards Windermere.|
|Back over the Snake Pass, not too far from home now.|
*For non-British winter climbers, the ethics of winter climbing here can seem a bit arcane, but are actually deeply-rooted and come about both from sporting reasons (routes should be harder as winter ascents than in summer!) and increasingly environmental reasons (frozen turf is good to climb on and seems not bothered by being wacked by the ice tools of passing climbers. Unfrozen turf rips up and off the cliff, and the habitat of rare alpine plants can be destroyed).