Ours was the third car parked at the farm and it seemed to suggest others had thought better of venturing out onto the fells that day. One group of four men were setting off for The Pike and after advising them on the Grains Gill path we left them to it. We headed for The Corridor Route as it was my intention to take Steve to The Pike via the Dropping Crag route between Scafell Pike and Broad Crags. Most of this walk he has done before but this was a new, though short section he had never been on.
The weather was never wonderful as we headed for Styhead Tarn, the rain and increasing wind as we became more exposed to The Wasdale Valley and it's funnelling qualities off the Irish Sea and beyond that, the Atlantic Ocean. In the main, the summits were lost to our view but this is a route completely committed to memory and it needed to be as we found later on the top. The walk was uneventful in it's steady climb, the only part I took an interest in was as we crossed Skew Gill on the north face of Great End; this is a route onto this fell I have not climbed and intend to this year. As we got to the outcrop that is Stand Crag, a scramble that puts nervous walkers off this route, we hit the snow line at 600m that marked a change in conditions for this walk. We climbed down this and continued on in encrusted snow that never took your weight and ruined your stride by constantly giving as you bore on it with your full weight. The higher we got the deeper this snow was, but still below the boot line. With Criscliffe Knotts and Middleboot Knotts to the right there is a 'fix the fells path denoted to the left which branches off The Corridor and this was to be our route for the summit. It's a strange path this as it is clearly 'fix the fells' but a little higher it just disappears, though if you keep Broad Crags to your left you can't really go wrong and you will also be following the Gill upward; this eventually drops behind you into Piers Gill. Forgive me for no photos here as I was trying my damnedest to wade through thigh high virgin snow. I say virgin though one had been up before me and that was Steve. When he's on a mission there's nothing holds him back and I was trying to keep him in sight here. This was short, but that gives no testament to the work involved getting through this thick duvet of Christmas covering. Finally and thankfully, we came to the Hause between Broad Crags and Scafell Pike. The final section is the steepest, but with the top in sight who cares? As Steve had time on his hands waiting for me he had altered his clothing for the final thrust to the top, but I needed time to don more layers and change gloves. This is hard when you can't feel your finger ends and Steve had to crack on to keep himself warm.
While taking a short bait we were suddenly joined by a lone hiker who had come from Wasdale, this being the only person we had seen to date. The four men who set off from Seathwaite we knew we would be in front of and to be honest we expected them to turn back in these conditions. This walker was completing his Wainwright round and was well attired for the conditions though I would have advised a walking buddy on such a day. He was moving on to Scafell via Foxes Tarn and after advice on his route we left him after we sorted out our layers for the route off.