An excellent forecast and snow on the ground were enough to entice Gary out for a day on Kinder. And what a day it turned out to be!

On Thin Ice

Written by Haydn Williams

An excellent forecast and snow on the ground were enough to entice Gary out for a day on Kinder. And what a day it turned out to be!

Barber Booth and beyond. © Gary Mirams 2019
Barber Booth and beyond.
© Gary Mirams 2019

We left Edale shortly after 9am, and followed the Pennine Way for a little while before skirting around and into Crowden Clough. The snow was dry and powdery, with little ice until the point where the path breaks left and you follow the stream bed for a scramble instead.

Traversing round to Crowden Clough. © Gary Mirams 2019
Traversing round to Crowden Clough.
© Gary Mirams 2019

It had looked like we’d carried crampons and axes to no avail, but on reaching the step in the riverbed, scene of previous escapades, we found unavoidable ice barring our way. Lovely.

Starting up the big step in Crowden Clough. © Gary Mirams 2019
Starting up the big step in Crowden Clough.
© Gary Mirams 2019
Short but sweet. © Gary Mirams 2019
Short but sweet.
© Gary Mirams 2019

Clearly it wasn’t Craig y Rhaeadr but it provided a disproportionate amount of fun under clear blue skies, and the ice was surprisingly thick and cooperative.

A day out with Gary is always fun. © Haydn Williams 2019
A day out with Gary is always fun.
© Haydn Williams 2019

From the top, it was off across the plateau to Kinder Gates. We took a bearing and followed our noses a bit, and Gary was very perturbed to find a number of trees shattering the navigational wasteland that used to be the defining feature.

A big tree! On Kinder! Madness. © Gary Mirams 2019
A big tree! On Kinder! Madness.
© Gary Mirams 2019

It looked a pretty tough place to grow! We we unable to figure out if they had self-seeded recently as a result of reduced sheep grazing due to the ongoing regeneration work, or if we’d just not noticed them in 20 years of wandering around up there.

Treecicle. © Haydn Williams 2019
Treecicle.
© Haydn Williams 2019

The wading continued through knee-deep powder, interspersed with frozen streams in the groughs. I stayed high and put in more work to wade. Gary, in contrast, deemed this to be ‘not living dangerously’, and instead ran the gauntlet of icy streams with the occasional foot plunge into muddy water when the surface failed.

Gary negotiating knee-deep snow and not-quite-weight-bearing ice. © Haydn Williams 2019
Gary negotiating knee-deep snow and not-quite-weight-bearing ice.
© Haydn Williams 2019

We eventually approached the Gates, with much giggling each time one of us crashed through the ice, and then took a detour out to the Downfall. It was frozen and looking quite picturesque, and – according to the BBC – saw ascents the following morning.

It's grough at the top. © Gary Mirams 2019
It’s grough at the top.
© Gary Mirams 2019

From there we backtracked to the Gates again, and took a bearing over to the Northern Edges.

Heading towards Kinder Gates. © Gary Mirams 2019
Heading towards Kinder Gates.
© Gary Mirams 2019

That side of the plateau had been much less busy, and we each did our fair share of breaking trail again around to Blackden Brook. This was clearly the leeward side of the plateau, and with so much snow making it hard going I was secretly quite glad to reach the start of the 7-minute crossing back to the south side.

Heading home along the Northern Edges. © Haydn Williams 2019
Heading home along the Northern Edges.
© Haydn Williams 2019

It took a little more than 7 minutes in the snow, but we were soon back overlooking Edale. After a decent amount of research in the following minutes, I can confirm that bum-sliding conditions were excellent and I put in very little effort on the descent. We obviously congratulated ourselves with a drink in the pub before returning to the car, having had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.