Swallow/Nethermost Gully,Nethermost Cove, Helvellyn (Winter Climb)

Swallow/Nethermost Gully,Nethermost Cove, Helvellyn (Winter Climb)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 54.52706°N / 3.01815°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Easy
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


The View of Nethermost cove...and Swallow/NethermostGully.a view accross Nethermost Cove towards the gully

If you want to try a different way up to Helvellyn in the winter.
If you have been over the fabtastic Striding Edge enough for now.
If you want to try an easy Winter gully, with just enough exposure,
with a reliable (as much as it can be) condition,
with a new and quiet approach..........then How about Swallow Gully?

The gully is only about 150m in height. It is easy to find. And if you find it in less than a good climbable condition, then its only a short climb and traverse to join the route up from the end of Striding Edge.
Nethermost gully

Getting There

This route is started from either Patterdale or Glenridding. Both have ample parking to be found.
To get there, use the A592 on the west side of Ullswater.

From the south. M6 to Jcn 36. then A590 north to A 591 to Windamere, then Ambleside taking the turning at the small roundabout to the Kirkstone pass A 592, following the road down past Brothers water to Patterdale.

From the north. From the M6 jcn 40, turn westbound signed Keswick. Take A66 to first Jcn Signed A 592 Ulswater, continue to Glenridding.

O.S 1:25,000 map would be of great help.

Route Description

Swallow Gully, Nethermost Covea few of us approaching our first obsticle
Selfindulgent pic of me just...me nearing the top
DD Just getting to the top....DD on the last few feet of the gully. It's fairly steep but not technically difficult


The direct approach involves entering Gisedale valley, along the road.
You will find yourself entering one of the most endeering valeys in the lakes.
As you walk the view gradualy opens up more and more secrets.
On your left the large humpback of St Sunday Crag gets slowly higher and reveals, after a while the rough hidden side to it containing Pinniacle Ridge.

Meanwhile on your right a small valley floor is hemmed in by a rell thats gently rising towards Hole In The Wall and then Striding Edge (wich from this valley floor is quite a hidden Gem).
But,........what now! We pass a farm building and continue along what is now a rough stony path and have before us some new sights.

From the left to right you see Falcon Crag, Dollywagon Pike, then Eagle crag topped with Nethermost Pike, and to its right Striding edge.
Follow the path until you can take a right where the stream joins from Nethermost Cove. Follow it up, (mostly on the left) until you arrive in Nethernost Cove.

This has been quite a slog, but worth it.
You are now in a very beautiful and isolated cove well worth a visit.
Nethermost Cove between Lad Crag and Nethermost Pike.

The climb is at between 700-850m, giving reasonably reliable conditions.
The approach to the crag contains some interesting lines and short ice-falls which if formed, which can be linked to provide some interest.
In a good winter there is even some sport to be found on frozen waterways on the way up, but normally it is not worth the bother.


You can clearly see the gully now. As seen in the photograph above, it is to the left of the rightmost section of crag.
The gully starts in a wider enclosed manner. It then turns leftwards.
Soon after you see a projection of rock within the gully. This once passed leads to a further slope at a slighly lesser angle, but now more exposed. The exit from the gully can be very steep and, of course consist of a variety of snow and ice, probably topped by a Cornice.
Nethermost gully

Hamish, Nigel and Myselfat the top of the gully, Hamish Me and Nigel having a well earned snack

Once on the Summit plateau, you can take your pick on where to go.
Up to the Summit and down Swirral, or Striding egde are only two options of many.
For a few details on that see here.........STRIDING

Essential Gear

O.S 1:25,000 map would be of great help.

Ice axes.
A pair would be the best option, although if the conditions are right, I have seen it done with one. Two is best for obvious reasons.


Always a good idea when climbing in my opinion, especialy in a gully.

The usual mountain clothing. In winter this mountain can get some very cold conditions. Check the net for weather info.

External Links


Helvellyn Website. Containing area info, shopping,walks, pictures,places to stay and more...... www.helvellyn.com


Leanys lakes Some great info and pictures


Striding Edge website Area info, Helvellyn page


YHA yha lakes


Lakes weather Forecast www.escape2lakedistrict.com


Mountain Conditions + daily picture (winter)Helvellyn weather>www.lake-district.gov.uk/weatherline


Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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georgen - Feb 17, 2009 10:51 am - Voted 10/10


Lake district winter climbs/cicerone.frcc 2006/.This is must have book for anyone who does winter climbs in Lakes.

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