Mid-week winter blues

Making good use of that well known weather phenomenon - mid-week blue skies and sunshine - I'd opted for a day on the fells, taking advantage of several days of consistently lower temperatures which I hoped would have brought many of the higher crags into good condition.
The day began beneath brilliant blue skies - climbing rapidly above Borrowdale it took only a few minutes to reach the snow line, fresh powder covering the trail as soon as I reach the bowl of Gillercombe after which I cut across the upper valley to climb the sunlit flank of Brandreth.
Gillercombe Buttress, with its classic summer climb of the same name - rarely in good winter condition - also offers a long grade II winter route which I'd considered, though it was obvious from here that I would need to go higher to find better conditions.
Approaching the summit of Green Gable - looking back on Brandreth, Hay Stacks the low summit in the left of the frame - and the weather was changing rapidly though the wind remained light.
Inspecting conditions from the top of Green Gable Crag, the austere north facing buttress of Gable Crag hidden in the mist beyond.
Deep powder at the base of the crag, which improved once established on the climbs, though unconsolidated powder remained present at all levels.
Looking down the narrow upper section of the wonderfully named Gully of the Plods - an interesting grade II gully with two crux steps, the second of which is the obvious steeper section just beneath my stance in the image above.
Over all too quickly, I climbed several shorter low grade lines, enjoying some good ice but backing off the upper corner of Garden of Eden which felt distinctly insecure.
Descending via Aaron Slack to Styhead Tarn, happy with my first real winter foray of the year.
I reached the tarn as the sun set beyond Great End, the Scafell summits hidden in thickening clag, tomorrow's weather rolling in from the west. The descent to Borrowdale seemed to take an age, more used as I am to riding this rocky route to the valley floor, but I reached Stockley Bridge more than happy with a fine day on the fells having banished the mid-week blues.

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