Not quite Sochi

Watching the Men's Aerials at Sochi I can't help but feel my efforts on High Street were rather lacking. Still, in what felt like spring sunshine and under the first blue skies of the year on the fells, I know what I'd rather be doing.
Looking up to High Raise, and the line of my descent - not to be confused with Raise on Helvellyn where over 5m of snow buried the tow and happy punters tipped up with spades as well as skis, to enjoy the best conditions of 2014 to date.
But first, the walk-in.
A beautiful approach passing the waterfalls above Haweswater...
...with long views across the valley to what looked like promising conditions on Branstree and Harter Fell.
Gaining height rapidly on Bampton Common and looking up towards Longgrain Beck, the head of the valley buried beneath wind blown snow.
At last - above the snow line - skinning up on an icy crust which made for quick progress on the gentle slopes leading towards High Kop and Red Crag.
From here the views opened up - Scafell Pike the distant summit seen between Dollywagon Pike and Fairfield.
On the ridge, snow cover varied in depth with patches of grass dotted between runs of icy névé - not a problem on the way up though my pace slowed. Helvellyn the summit to my right.
Looking across the complex ridge lines running north-west from Stony Cove Pike on the last pull up onto High Raise...
...and another view across to Helvellyn - literally plastered and presenting a serious avalanche risk for the unwary. No such issues here though and in increasing icy conditions, with skins starting to lose grip I debated stopping to attach harscheisen but the angle was never great and with the light starting to fail I pushed on to find better snow above.
I took no photos on the way down, unwilling to stop and break my descent which may not have scored highly at Sochi but what was for me, a satisfyingly competent run.
A last image to end on then - Blencathra, my original plan for the day dropped in favour of what I felt would be more reliable conditions on High Street - next time.

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