Tarn Crag Gulley

Sunday 8th February '09

"Now this.." - I said to myself - "is an easy gulley. Therefore the
steep-ish ice pitch dead ahead cannot be on the Approved Route". A
thought echoed from below, where one of the team following Bryan
Hardaker and myself called to the other:- "We don't have to go
straight ahead do we ??".

But now, from the top of our third pitch of straightforward snow,
I could see round the curve of Tarn Crag Gulley No. 3.
The true line of the bottom led upwards through a rocky, shoulder-
wide slot, floored with ice, to a triangle of snow below the sky. It
must lean back, I guessed.

Off up the rocky slot, where the "rocks" were mostly choss offering
only one small friend placement. On arriving at the snow, it became
clear that it didn't lean back at all. In the somewhat "lean"
conditions, the gulley top was not well filled below cornice level;
so the upper snow was at a very high angle. Some careful bridging
moves, and some very careful axe placements high above the last wee
friend, finally allowed me over the rim.

I didn't care to teeter on that long run-out whilst Dave Carrier (who
had come up No 1 Gulley with Frank) got his camera, so we quickly got
the rope on a bomber spike to bring up Bryan, completing his first
Winter Climb.

We could all four relax in the early afternoon high above Grisedale
Tarn, on a nearly perfect winter day with excellent
visibility.........although snow was due to come infrom the west.
Over a late lunch, we watched the next team approach the sting in the
tail.......... and in due course lowered a rope to the leader from
our excellent spike.

A grand short winter day. And so to the pub.