Days on Great End

It’s not been a bad week to be unemployed.  Conditions and partners coincided to provide some great hill days.

Regular climbing partner Mark had a long held ambition to climb Cust’s Gully on Great End.  I was a little apprehensive that the guys seemed to each have a couple of axes each, also winter walking’s the limit of my experience. But blue sky, snow and confident companions can be very convincing.

The first interest came with a icy step, overcome with pointer and the loan of axes from Neil.  Further interest came with a wiggle under a jammed block; elegant no, fun yes. So yeah, a nice introduction to winter mountaineering.

Cust's Gully

Unfortunately Mark had to work the next day, so Neil and I decided to hook up and take advantage of the promised conditions.  Getting an appetite for winter mountains then going to NeedleSports is a bit like going to the supermarket when you’re hungry.  I might have gotten a bit over enthusiastic, walking out with an upgrade to my walking axe – a set of DMM flys.

After considering our options, we decided to head back to up to Great End, with a mind to Central Gully.  Yesterday we had walked in via Sprinkling Tarn missing the head on views of the crag. From today’s walk-in it was impressively obvious where we were going.

Great End approach

This time there was ropes involved, me on the blunt end.   Pitches one and two seemed nice – variously trying to pay out fast enough, not stand on rope and getting used to my new tools. The original plan was for taking the right hand fork, but when we got there the left hand way looked better.  Climbing the ice was pretty fun.

Langdale from Great End

I led through the last (easy) pitch, got to top out to warm sun, and an inversion over the Lakes.  There was a a ‘fuck me’ followed by a ‘wow’. Those adjectives pretty much apply to both these days as well as that view.  Up there with the best hill days. Cheers guys.