I guess in a sense this article is a follow up to my last piece; 'When the fog never clears
'. Since that trip, Autumn had slipped away and winter now had a firm grip on the higher fells. A daytime ride was planned to celebrate a member of the Hope Tech team's birthday, bashing around the Glenridding and Ullswater area. With a clear night forecast, some of the Hope Tech family and friends had their minds set on an excursion up Helvellyn to catch the sunrise before descending Sticks Pass. I was kindly invited by Sharpie and happily obliged!
The alarm was set for the usual 4am and we aimed to meet at the bottom for 5am.
A full moon sits above the summit as the group ascend. With sunrise getting earlier as winter ends, time was a pressure. No sooner had we set off when the glow of dawn began creeping over the eastern horizon.
Meeting the snow line a little earlier than expected made for slightly slower progress than planned. The colours of dawn were coming in fast, making for great shots but we couldn't help but feel the pressure to climb faster.
The part of dawn where day meets night has to be my favourite, here you see the waxing gibbous moon setting to the right whilst the vibrant colours of dawn invade the sky from the left. Packed snow on the path around raise made for a challenging traverse.Skittles taking the traverse with ease.Sharpie chasing himself down along the traverse, a trick of the camera from stitching the panorama.The snow-capped summit appeared almost moon-like.The group stopping for a breather - dwarfed by the surrounding landscape.Hoods up! It was chilly under the moonlight.
Pushing on to reach the summit as the sun almost breaks the blanket of low-lying cloud.Doddy couldn't resist some foot out action in the snow.
The summit above Keppel Cove had a coat of pack ice so we decided against continuing up Lower Man to the summit of Helvellyn and stayed put to watch the sunrise. We all stood back in awe and the obligatory summit photos were taken.
I couldn't resist including a couple of landscape shots in this blog:Pastel tones on the cornice with Blencathra in the distance.The sun breaks the cloud layer looking over towards Catstycam.
With those out of the way, let's get back to the bikes!Dan was pulling out all the stops for this one.
The summit fun didn't last long with Doddy suffering his first but not his last puncture of the day. He certainly couldn't have picked a colder spot to be faffing with tubes and CO2 canisters.Although with the others offering their services it didn't take us long to get moving again. Escaping the chill of the summit we headed for Sticks Pass in the soft early morning sun.Dan leads the way with a fantastic view over Keswick and Skiddaw.Crisp snow provided a good level of traction and a fast rolling surface perfect for cutting some turns
.As we got lower patches of soft spring snow made for a challenging descent.Sticks Pass only gets the morning sun so it was nice to shoot it in sunlight.The descent winds its way along the gully cut into the side of the hill.A patch of snow keeps Sharpie on his toes! The trail then opens out with fast rocky sections cut through the heather.The zig-zags above Greenside mines provide some foot out fun to finish the descent!All done and dusted by 9am. Now to the pub for a much-needed fry-up to fuel the daytime bash.
See the original post on my site here