Tuesday, 16 February 2010

One night backpack.

I got dropped off at the Thirlmere car park. It was a lovely mild day and I did most of the walk in my smartwool base layer. There was a steep hard packed snow slope on the path to the right of Brown Cove. Everyone stopped here to don crampons. There was a young lad and his dad trying to climb this without ice axe or crampons and with trainers on their feet. They were going a few yards and then slipping back. Assuming they climbed this slope I have no idea how they could descend it later in the day. An off duty mountain rescue bod happened to be there and I left him as he went across to give them advice. Im guessing he sent them back as they never appeared on the top.

Striding Edge looked spectacular.

The view as I ate a couple of sarnies. I sat in my base layer. Unusually there was no wind.

I left the summit later than planned as 3 blokes were preparing to ski down the face. The drop off from the cornice looked vertical to me. They all got down safely.

After the excitement I headed off over Lower Man towards Whiteside Bank.

By the time I got to Watson's Dodd I was tired, it was late, and I had no water left.

The wind had picked up a little from the north east so I pitched the tent in a slight hollow to the south west of Great Dodd summit. I figured this would give some shelter. I had donned my Montane Litespeed as I put up the tent as the temperature was now dropping.

No liquid water meant using the Caldera Cone to melt snow. I had brought a spare carrier bag and filled it from a drift behind the tent. This meant I could lie in the sleeping bag and keep warm whilst making cups of tea and cooking the evening meal.

I had dehydrated a beef stew and some rice along with a portion of spicey tomato sauce. I heated these in the MSR titanium pot and then put them in a bowl in the the home made cosey. By using a bowl I was then able to continue making cups of tea whilst the meal cooked itself.

http://image.bizrate.co.uk/resize?sq=60&uid=881074048 These microwave bowls weigh hardly any thing and can be bought at any supermarket.

I was now wearing Paramo trousers, smartwool base, Rab fleece and Rab Photon Hoodie with my old Lowe mountain cap. I had read in TGO that a bivvy bag would upgrade a 3 season sleeping bag and keep it dry from condensation drips. As my Quantum 400 was a 3 season I tried this system. I can report that it does not work. There was no condensation on the Akto inner as it all condensed on the inside of my bivvy and gradually made the sleeping bag damp. I survived the night but if it had been a multi day journey I would have been getting into a cold damp bag the next night.

The next morning was a cold damp affair. I poured previously melted snow onto crushed Weetabix, Alpen and powdered milk for a hearty breakfast. Packed up, and walked to Keswick via Clough Head , St Johns in the Vale and Castlerigg Stone Circle.


Anonymous said...

Nice looking trip that !
That cone stove looks interesting.

Greg said...

Thanks, it was a great day out. Its the titanium caldera cone with MSR kettle. Uses quite a lot of meths when melting snow. I roll up the cone and put it in an old plastic pop bottle which has the bottom cut out.

Martin Rye said...

Caldera cone with MSR kettle is a great setup and one I use. I have a Snowpeak 900 cone as well. Check the link and Chris Townsend's comment on the photo I posted and Derek's comment.


Greg said...

Interesting article. I do tend to cook more in the open part of the door. Its still sheltered from the wind but , depending on which way Ive pitched, I sometimes have to sit up to cook. (the opening will be at the foot end)