After a short day out on Friday (icy paths, poor vis and an assempt on Catbells) Penny, Kristen, Band and I headed to Wasdale to circumnavigate Great Gable.
The forecast was for a cloud base of about 700m, brisk north-westerly going north-easterly winds and a slight chance of snow showers. The plan was ingenious to stay low until Styhead and then climb to Windy Gap. By this time the wind should be on our backs for the return to Wasdale.
As we walked up to Styhead Brad and I were eyeing up the may snow and iced up gullies. Piers Gill, Skew Gill and Straight Gill all looked in condition and I fear our wives may not have shared our enthusiasm. It became very wintery as we approached Styhead and the contour round to the gully leading to Windy Gap went through a couple of very deep drifts in small stream beds.
The slog to Windy Gap was unpleasant, spindrft was everywhere and the wind was in our faces. We stopped about halfway up for a hurried lunch. The drifts at the col were impressive, reminiscent of the cols I ski toured over last year between Austria and Switzerland. A swift descent into Ennerdale saw the conditions improve considerably and the view towards the sea was spectacular (see photo).
All that was left was to descend down to Wasdale. It was good day out, choosing an appropriate route for the weather and very satisfying. I fear the group who failed to make it back to the Black Sail Hut may not have had such a good day.