2 trips to Pillar Rock for the classic climb of 'Slab and Notch' route were definitely off the menu as very cold northerly winds brought snow to higher ground. Such a shame, Pillar is a magnificent place and a favourite of ours. Hopefully by July all will be more settled with the weather, fingers crossed.
But a pretty last minute call from Andy saw us out on Scafell Pike again. For Andy this was a recce mission to get a feel for the mountain before going for a Three Peaks over Three days later in the year. In a way we had ideal conditions for a training and recce day. Very very cold, almost certainly the coldest May ascent I've ever done. Rain and strong winds in the valley, with the rain turning to snow from about 600m. A damp airflow ensured we enjoyed some quality suffering, with numb fingers and toes, hot aches, and an all round mountaineering feel to the weather / day - totally brilliant of course.
Whilst neither of us were quite expecting such conditions, we were well prepared. So yes we felt discomfort at times, that's all it was. There were plenty folk up there rather less prepared for the elements. Think Jeans and trainers. Now that's a whole new level of suffering, crazy!
Summit views were limited to no more than about 50m and this added so much to the drama and atmosphere. Even though I was absolutely freezing during our summit breather, I couldn't help soak up the start beauty of the snowy summit. We met a couple of other guys who had made their way up from Borrowdale, but otherwise had the summit to ourselves.
Soon after we began the descent the views opened up and we could see to Derwent Water and out to the Irish Sea, so pretty good for a cloudy day. More walkers were now making their way to the summit, I was pretty glad to be going in the opposite direction and somewhere warmer.
Within no time at all, even with a few photo stops and no rushing, we were back at the Lake Shore car park and getting ourselves warm and dry.
A cracking day out, Scafell Pike delivers again. Andy has now built up a familiarity with the route and can relay to his team of walkers what to expect on this big rocky mountain. Thanks Andy and good luck for the summer trip.