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Fell Top Conditions on Monday 22 January

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 12:30

Temperature plus 0.5°C Maximum wind speed 46.8mph Wind chill minus 10.3°C Average wind speed 39.9mph Wind direction W

There is a substantial thaw at virtually all levels – it was around zero degrees on the summit – with little snow remaining below 200m. However, a significant amount of snow remains with the average depth rising with altitude. The deepest drifts, of over 100cm, are to be found above 700m on N to E to S facing slopes. Even at 600m, there are drifts above knee height in sheltered spots and hollows. The vast majority of the snowpack is now soft and very wet. There are two exceptions to this: Firstly, where the snow has been compacted on popular routes with isolated patches of ice sometimes “hidden” amongst sections of slush. Secondly above 900m there was some neve (hard snow) – eg on the final exit to Swirral Edge.

There are cornices above N to E to S facing slopes. Owing to limited visibility, it was difficult to assess their stability, but those that could be seen appeared highly unstable so please keep well back from such edges and advise those with less experience to do likewise.

Climbers: with the milder temperatures, the gullies are now full of very wet, soft snow with, as mentioned above, unstable cornices above.

The only place where the assessor found a substantial amount of ice was on the summit plateau which was covered in it making conditions extremely dangerous for anyone without crampons – especially given the strength of the W wind blowing you towards the edge!

Despite the milder temperatures in the valleys, full winter clothing, footwear and equipment remain essential for anyone venturing out into the fells. For those visiting the high fells, crampons and ice axe must also be carried in case ice is encountered; this advice is not just for those not attempting steep routes owing to, as mentioned above, the ice on the summit plateau. Anyone attempting, or traversing, steep routes above the snowline also need the ability to assess the stability, or otherwise, of the predominantly wet and heavy snowpack. Excellent navigational skills are also essential, especially for anyone venturing into cloud as the deep snow obscures all landmarks creating challenging route finding. Goggles are also strongly recommended.

Lake District Forecast for Wednesday

Heavy overnight rain clears towards dawn to leave a bright day with sunny spells and occasional showers, these turning increasingly to snow above about 600m with temporary blizzard conditions on the high fells. During the evening the showers may merge to give a longer spell of rain, sleet or snow.

Visibility

Good or very good falling to just a few kilometres in heavy rain and showers, but nearer a kilometre in heavier snow showers and near zero in temporary blizzards on the high fells.

Hill cloud

Little chance through the early hours with periods or persistent cloud above 600m lowering to 300m or less at times, becoming 40% soon after dawn with cloud becoming occasional or periods above 750m but lowering to 450m in or near showers.

Wind

Southwesterly 40-50mph, with gusts around 75mph over ridges and summits through the early hours, easing 30-35mph soon after dawn, with gusts around 55mph through the day.

Temperatures

  • Valley: Around plus 6 Celsius at dawn rising to plus 9 Celsius.
  • At 800m: Around plus 4 Celsius falling to minus 1 Celsius
  • Freezing level: Above the summits but falling to 750m soon after dawn.

Outlook for next few days

Thursday 25 January

Outbreaks of snow, with rain below about 600m, through the morning clearing to sunshine and snow showers, again falling mainly as rain on lower slopes, for the afternoon. Strong southwesterly then northwesterly winds. Freezing level around 750m falling to 600m later.

Friday 26 January

A few morning snow showers, otherwise with sunny spells. Increasing cloud likely to bring evening rain and snow. Fresh northwesterly then southwesterly winds, Freezing level 600m but rising later.

Saturday 27 January

Rather cloudy with rain, with snow on higher fells, at times. Strengthening southwesterly winds. Freezing level 750m rising above the summits.



An overview to the weather in the Lake District

Summer:

The summer season in the Lake District actually runs from March to October. The driest period runs between March and June.

The weather is renowned for changing rapidly and rainfall is a predominant feature. The wettest area in the Lake District is known as Sprinkling Tarn which receives approximately 5000mm of rainfall every year!

Winter:

The wettest months run from October to January.

Snowfall typically falls from November to March. The valleys of the Lake District receive around 20 days of snow and 200 days of rain per year.

Winter is actually a beautiful time of year to enjoy the spectacular views.

It’s important to stay safe during the Winter period, especially if you are considering exploring the fells. If you’re a fan of the Lake District in Winter, why not register on one of our Winter Skills Courses? Learn more