21st Jan 2010
I'll never tire of winters like the one we've just had / are just having (he says, crossing his fingers for another cold snap!).
My memories of childhood are of sledging every year, days off school, walking up the River Glaslyn on the ice, my Dad's ice axe in hand, hacking away out in the middle of the river. It was like a blast from the past, the cold weather we've just had. I completely forgot about climbing for a whole month. Every spare minute (which tended to be during the hours of darkness so head torches were essential) was spent walking, sledging, running, jumping and scrambling in the white stuff.
Perhaps fittingly, the best was saved until last. After an epic run up to Higgar Tor a week ago last Saturday, when I spied a very, very wintry looking Stanage Edge, a plan was hatched to get ourselves up there. The plan soon snowballed (excuse the pun!), and on Thursday night at 6.45pm, 11 of us convened at The Sportsman's Pack in Hathersage, ditched the cars in an icy car park, and trudged up School Lane to the Edge (actually I cadged a lift in Marty's 4X4 part of the way as a farmer had ‘cleared' the road to his drive way). The walk was epic in itself, thigh deep snow and no tracks whatsoever! Granted, it had snowed the previous day, but no sign of people at all? It amazes me that with Sheffield so close, and a massive number of people psyched for the great outdoors, that more people don't venture out when we get snow, especially on this scale.
We finally arrived home at around 1 in the morning, exhausted, already seriously aching, and happy beyond words. Steve even opted to voluntarily miss the last train out of Hathersage and doss over for an extra couple of hours at the crag. Oh what fun! Tool-less winter ascents by the dozen, bum-slide descents, holes in cornices, soloing VS's in big boots and big gloves. One of the guys out with us took some awesome pics (see above). See for yourself.
Check out this photo posted on UKClimbing of somebody snowboarding at Burbage North a few days previously.
My only regret is that we didn’t manage to make it out in the daytime on a sunny day. That would have been a photogenic session!
I'll leave you with one final image (in case you haven't already seen it) from the BBC: