Dollywagon Pike via the Helvellyn Ridge

9th January 2011

Dollywagon Pike has been a long time coming, even more so as I had to turn back on my last attempt due to bad weather, was today going to be any different? The answer is yes but nearly a big no,. the weather got so bad on the ascent to Helvellyn Lower Man that the thought did cross my mind today, In fact I dropped  a bit of descent just to get out of the high wind, almost zero visibility  & not to mention being pelted by snow & hail from all angles, finding shelter albeit a group of large rocks kept me out the elements until the hail cloud had past, it was here I donned my Berghaus waterproof over trouser & sat out of the storm. Trying to put on over trousers while wearing crampons might seem like a stupid thing to do but the Berghaus waterproofs un zipped all the way up the leg to the thigh giving me just enough room to slip my boot & crampon through.

The weather gods had got it slightly wrong with no snow expected the previous evening, as you can expect it dusted Lakeland just nicely leaving me following a Snow Plough along the A66, not spreading salt I might add, actually ploughing which is never a good start, this left me praying for the B522 to be free from snow which wey hey it was, all that was left for me now was a spot at the car park at Swirls.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Eastern Fells



Ascent: 2,940 Feet, 896 Meters
Wainwrights: 4  Helvellyn Lower Man, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike & Dollywagon Pike
Weather: High Winds & Snow Showers Gradually Easing Towards The Latter Of The Day, Visibility Down To 30 Meters On High  Ridges, Highs Of °2, Lows Of °2
Parking: Swirls Car Park Just Of The (A591)
Area: Eastern
Miles: 9.4
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



The prominent peak ahead is Browncove Crags & my route towards Helvellyn Lower Man.


Looking back down the path towards Thilrmere & Raven Crag.


It wasn’t long after I decided to put on the Crampons, I could see the crunchy snow slowly but surely getting more & more compact, I wouldn’t take them off until the end of the walk.


Approaching Browncove Crags & coming in from the west was one hell of a nasty weather front.


The weather front finally caught up with me just beneath the summit of Browncove Crags, It was difficult to take the picture, with my back to the wind, hail & snow feet wide apart, I dug in my pole & waited out until it had passed.


As quickly as it came, it had passed, during the brief storm I decided to drop forty or so meters as I was taking a right battering, thoughts were maybe of a  turn around, it really was a nasty ten minutes or so but the adrenalin kicked back in & I was soon on my way again, however  the  visibility didn’t last ..


Following the path as I head to Helvellyn Lower Man.


The summit of Helvellyn Lower Man.


Helvellyn summit trig point, the views had all but disappeared hence the lack of photos in between Lower Man & Helvellyn.


On route to the the cross shelter & people start appearing out of the mist, The snow cornice is breath taking & scary at the same time, I & the other walker you see are in no danger as we are both on the main summit path.


Helvellyn summit shelter, the hi’s & hellos were brief as I made my way for Nethermost Pike, a fell I have previously summated but it just wouldnt be right if I missed it out.


And back into the abyss.


Nethermost Pike summit cairn (If you can make it out that is!)


The summit shelter caught under snow drift.


Brief views open up towards the central  & southern fells.


The sun trying its best to be seen.


Grisedale, St Sunday Crag, Birks, Place Fell & a distant Ullswater to the far left.


One of the two cairns found on Dollywagon Pike blasted by the arctic conditions.


And the main summit cairn with mmm,.Grisedale behind on a good day.


Grisedale Tarn, Deepdale Hause & part of Seat Sandal to the right.


Oh Dear,.Schoolboy error, as I glanced down I noticed I’d made new ‘air holes’ in my Berghaus waterproofs with the crampons, I can see the duct tape coming out, for one reason or another this year & part of last year for that matter I haven’t found the need to wear my gaiters,. this Paul is the need to wear them!


Seat Sandal & Grisedale Tarn from my descent, I’m getting might hungry now, I just need to pick a good spot.


And here it is, a couple of Tracker Bars & some frozen Tuna sandwiches  later & the stomach had stopped rumbling, my flask through the dire cold was just warm enough to drink the Coffee straight from the flask mouth, half a  litre of coffee should set me up fine for the descent down Raise Beck.


St Sunday Crag summit, now enveloped in cloud.


My descent down Raise Beck with Steel Fell taking centre.

Now on the Forest Path taking me back to Swirls, I never realised just how long & gradient this path actually is, with 2.6 miles back to the car I had time to recollect the days highs & lows,. The highs has got to be summating Dollywagon Pike with a cheeky grin held firm on my face, other highs was not turning back on the approach to Helvellyn Lower Man which I did witness two walkers do on the path behind me,.lows was the brief but brutal storm that put the idea in my head in the first place, I had a long time to recollect


The Wythburn Fells, Dunmail Rise & Thirlmere flanking the A591.

It’s not very often I would use this road as it can get heavily congested especially in peak seasons such as the summertime, I would always drop ‘into’ Lakeland unless I’m actually walking in & around say Ambleside or Grasmere, Today while early on in the walk I said to myself I’m going to take the drive through these treasure chest of Lakeland, its been too long since you drove around the lakes of Grasmere, Rydal & Windermere, do you know what?  It was the perfect drive out from a perfect winters days walking,. One new Wainwright doesn’t do today’s walk justice


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