Give it a rest: that’s the plea from Lake District authorities to winter climbers this weekend.
Unstable windslab has built up on Helvellyn’s eastern face, the corrie bounded by Swirral Edge and Striding Edge. Routes are not yet in condition and a weakly bonded cornice has built up on the summit plateau’s lip.
Helvellyn's eastern face and Red Tarn
The advice comes courtesy of the Lake District National Park Authority’s Weatherline, produced by real people making real journeys to the summit of Helvellyn from Patterdale, in the shape of ex-Royal Marine Craig Palmer and his colleague Jon Bennett, every day during the winter mountaineering season.
There’s a high risk of avalanche on the eastern aspects until the snowpack consolidates. Many of the paths are wind-scoured and covered in verglas.
Craig said: “It’s lethal underfoot as edges are literally breaking away. An added danger comes from a cornice of snow, which could break off and avalanche at any time.
“I've rarely seen anything as bad as this in the Lake District and I would strongly urge people, even those experienced in winter mountaineering, not to venture out on to hills until the situation improves.
On Saturday, snow showers are likely above 600m, with accumulations continuing on northern and eastern lee slopes. There are already drifts of up to 50cm at 900m.
High winds with gusts of up to 60mph are likely on Saturday, easing slightly on Sunday. So ask yourself: are you up to a trip along a verglas-coated Striding Edge in winds that strong.
You can read the Weatherline forecast online. And how about putting the Weatherline 0870 055 0575 number in your mobile’s memory so you can get the latest information before you set out?
Scottish avalanche forecasts can be viewed through the SAIS link on our weather section, in the left-hand menu.
- Whiteout conditions forced ski operators to evacuate staff and visitors from the Cairngorm Mountain resort today.
High winds meant there was a risk of 200 people getting stranded on the Highlands mountainside. The funicular railway was closed at lunchtime.
The road to the ski centre car park has now also been closed. Management at the centre will issue an update to conditions tomorrow. Details will be on the centre’s website.