Dollywagon Pike

The first trip up Helvellyn this winter; if recent winters are anything to go by, no doubt it will not be the last.
Despite climbing very little in the last two years, the freezing, dark, dawn start from the top of Dumail Raise and the steep pull up to Grisedale Tarn all felt very familiar; the early morning sun highlighting the dramatic flanks of Steel Fell, a view shared by all who pause on the icy track to catch their breath, was just as I remembered it.
Snow cover being very thin, I decided against my original plan, (Pinnacle Ridge, St Sunday Crag), and headed round beneath Tarn Crag to see if I could find any ice on the back of Dollywagon Pike.
Frozen hard, but extremely thin snow cover on the principle gully routes of Tarn Crag. (Home to rare populations of apline saxifrage, scrubby cinquefoil, holly fern and downy willow, the area is best avoided, especially with such thin snow cover.)
Further on and rather higher, with slightly better snow cover and more ice, a shortish corner provided some sport with ice steps providing a steepish little route to the main ridge.
Once there, conditions detoriated rapidly...
Cloud building on the western fells and a bitter wind hastened a quick descent.

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