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Red Tarn, January 1998
Lake District

Winter climbing from Red Tarn with Sean.

Fri 23 Jan 1998
Drove up from Bristol and had a burger and pint at the Ratcher's
, Glenridding . I asked the barmaid whether there was snow on the tops and she had no idea - why would she?! Then walked up to camp at Red Tarn in the dark.

Sat 24 Jan 1998
Woke to see a pink glow of sunrise on the snow covered summit of Helvellyn
. By the time I had dressed and got my camera the cloud was down and there it stayed for most of the day. After a slow start (Sean recovering from working nights and the stove being tempermental) we headed off to the crag. There was only really a dusting of snow above 800m but the gullies were holding a decent amount and it was below zero so ice was building and turf was good. After some warm up soloing in the snow bowl (superb neve) we climbed Gully 1 (II) - Good value with a fair amount of ice on the crux groove where I was able to place a couple of ice screws (one marginal, one bomber) and good frozen turf above. It was surprising that none of the other parties on the crag climbed it. We descended Swirral Edge back to the tent.

Sun 25 Jan 1998
We started by soloing Gully 2 (I), a fine mix of snow and turf, then headed over to Brown Cove Crags. Even less snow here so we changed our minds about doing one of the Right Hand Buttress Crack and climbed Left Branch (II). (Seems like the guidebook is slightly confused about the order of these climbs.) Mostly OK but Sean led some very thin ice around the boulder. We got back to the tent at 4:30. It was -3C and Red Tarn was beginning to freeze over. Back to the car by 6:00

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