Saturday, February 27, 2016

Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral Edges in Winter

Date: 27th February 2016
Start/Finnish: Patterdale
Wainwrights: Helvellyn, Catstye Cam
Height Gained: 3140 feet
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Time Taken: 6 Hours

Striding Edge in Winter

       Social Hiking Route Map

This is the classic route up Helvellyn from Patterdale via Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. The forecast was great, cold and clear with plenty of snow above 1500 feet. It was a perfect day to tackle this famous Lakeland route in full winter conditions. I set off at first light so as to avoid the usual congestion on striding edge. This decision paid off as I only passed one other person until reaching Helvellyn summit.

A Bright Moon over the Helvellyn Range

Sunrise over High Street

First light falls onto Dollywagon and Nethermost Pikes

Reaching the Snow Line

The view back over Birkhouse Moor

A great view of the whole route ahead with Helvellyn centre and Catstye Cam far right

From the 'hole-in-the-wall' the snow became hard packed and frozen. It was time to get the crampons on and the ice axe out.

The onwards view from near the 'hole-in-the-wall'

First glimpse of Striding Edge

A Frozen Red tarn

The start of Striding Edge - What a sight!

The best route across is to keep to the very highest part of the ridge wherever possible and take things slowly and carefully.

Views over to Nethermost and Dollywagon Pikes

Looking across to Catstye Cam

Looking back along the ridge ...

... and onwards from halfway across

The final scramble up to the summit plateau

Views back along Striding Edge

Helvellyn summit Plateau

The summit shelter

The summit trig point

The onwards route along Swirral Edge towards Catstye Cam

Views back towards Helvellyn

Catstye Cam summit view over to Ullswater

Helvellyn from Catstye Cam summit

Red Tarn

The route back down from the 'hole-in-the-wall'

This was a superb day in the fells. The conditions were perfect (for a change!) with very little wind, clear blue skies and a pleasantly cold -7 on Helvellyn summit. The snow was firm, frozen and stable which made it easy going. Overall perfect, just perfect.


  1. Hi Steve,
    You couldn't get much more of a contrast to my walks than your blog posts. Awesome, majestic, inspiring scenery! Great photos and well done on these challenging walks. I'm glad you were able to enjoy solitude during most of it. Best wishes. Jane

    1. Hi Jane. Yes I can imagine our climates are somewhat different at this time of year! I tried to keep an eye out for some wildlife to photograph for you but it all seemed fairly devoid of life to my eye. I will try harder next time :-)