First day of the shift pattern back on Helvellyn for me today.

Low cloud, and low snow, so took a quick dash up to Red Tarn from Greenside mines. Crunchy snow underfoot from the bridges in the valley upwards, then, crampons on just below Swirral, good neve and rime-glazed rocks led to the top of the ridge. Still in a dense bank of hillfog, my only view along Swirral Edge was of the few other mountaineers out on the hill.

The view up the final step on Swirral Edge today
The view up the final step on Swirral Edge today

The final 20m slope is now getting to be a very hard bank of neve, with a thin covering of fresh powder snow today. Those descending the ridge took it very gingerly to start, then I lost sight of them as the mist swallowed them whole.

Walkers descending the upper slopes on Swirral Edge
Walkers descending the upper slopes on Swirral Edge

I nipped up to the summit, meeting a few more walkers by the trig pillar. Five minutes of taking weather readings on the actual top, then a quick cuppa in the lee of the shelter and I was ready for the way off.

Walkers by the trig pillar, showing the scoured plateau to the west, and the snow-laden slopes to the east.
Walkers by the trig pillar, showing the scoured plateau to the west, and the snow-laden slopes to the east.

I had planned to head over Lower Man, then Whiteside, to pick up the long zigzags down beside Kepple Cove. I headed over Lower Man, spotting these raised footprints by the col at the head of Brown Cove.

Raised footprints, caused by snow being compacted by a footstep, then the loose powder snow from all around being blown away by the wind.
Raised footprints, caused by snow being compacted by a footstep, then the loose powder snow from all around being blown away by the wind.

On the descent of the north ridge of Lower Man, I came across a long line of prints in the snow that looked like they’d been left by someone wearing a tennis shoe. People really can be very stupid at times. It would have been so easy to slip on those snowy slopes even in walking boots, never mind in tennis shoes.

So, who left these prints high up on Lower Man?
So, who left these prints high up on Lower Man?

Once down on the col between Lower Man and Whiteside I decided to play my get out of jail free card. There is a long, narrow snow slope that leads you down, if you know where to find the start of it, into the head of Brown Cove, and I was soon walking along the track from the Kepple Cove dam down to Greenside.

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