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Scafell Trip Report (#14031)

  • Signed By: Ian Latimer
  • Date submitted: December 21, 2000
  • Date(s) climbed: 26-August 2000 10-September 2000

The first trip up was to Orientate ourselves for the next trip, which was going to be in the dark as part of the Three Peaks Challenge. Great weather for first trip. Up from Wastwater via lingmell & down via Mickledore mountain rescue post. Going down was hard going due to the loose conditions. Up and down in 5 hours was slow going and didn't give me much hope of our aim of doing the 24 hour challenge 2 weeks later, doing the same walk in the dark. We aimed to start our next ascent at 11:00pm but due to delays on Ben Nevis we didn't get to start till 01:00 am! Even though it was September we were surprised to see a number of groups going up & down the mountain & it was good to know we wern't alone! We were very lucky with the weather as there was hardly a breath of wind and it was very mild. After a quick photo the three of us set off in good spirits up the easy path & made very good progress till we got to Lingmell Gill. Disorientated, one of our party somehow managed to get accross & then proceeded to recross the Gill! Darkness can do strange things to you! We continued onwards, all with dry feet! We had timed our challenge to coincide with a full moon but unfortunatley it was pitch black due to a thick cloud covering. All we could make out was the top of Mickledore so we decided this would be the easiest way up as would wouldn't need to navigate until the top. We got up to the top of the gulley in good time A pair of guys came down as we went up & said it was pretty bad on the top. From the Rescue post we took a bearing & navigated the mile of boulders to the summit, which we almost bumped into before we saw it.On reaching the summit at 03:30 Visiblity was only 5-10 feet. We didn't hang around long and deciding not risk going back down via mickledore we set a bearing for lingmell. Navigating was v.hard on the descent. We had a GPS system but it was very unreliable. As we got down the visibilty improved and we speeded up. Above brown tonge we saw another group moving slowly upwards. We aimed towards them but it was soon clear they were altready a fair way off the path, even though they were only 3/4 hour from the start. I think they decided to wait till it was a bit later. By this time it was getting lighter and by the time we reached our vehicle it was 06:00. Bacon butties all round courtesy of our driver, Paul. I personaly felt fit, but we had a long drive ahead then Snowdon! By the way, We completed the challenge in 29 hours but we will be back next year & crack it in 24! For anyone reading this thinking about doing the 24 hour challenge bear the following in mind. Don't go under equiped. We saw a group of three going up at 05:00 with one very small sack between them. Don't rely on other people to help you out. Although we saw at least 4 groups on the mountain when getting to the start, we only came across one of them whilst walking. The mountains are very big! Make sure you use a good headtorch. Scafell Pike is probably the hardest mountain to navigate on so dont do it in the dark unless you are confident of your navigation skills. Next year we plan to do the challenge in the middle of Summer and start Ben nevis as late as poosible. This will mean getting to Scafell Pike round about 4am. This way you can do most of your walking in daylight on all 3 peaks. Good luck-See all you 3 peakers next year!

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