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The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 27 Oct 2014, 20:17
by mac.hawk
The following is a direct 'lift' from the October version of 'The Guide'

From the end of October to mid-February the hours of daylight (sunrise to sunset) are less than 10 hours. Should you undertake ‘The Challenge’ within these periods it would seem to be common sense that unless you can confidently complete the route within the hours of daylight prevalent at the time (view the website link for sunrise/sunset times - the postcode for the cafe in Horton is BD24 0HE), you should take some form of illumination with you, whether that be head torch, hand torch or both - along with back-up batteries (or self winding dynamo torch).

The following is another good website that will also give sunrise/sunset times and additionally dates of the moon rise & set times (zoom in on the map and x2 left click on the point you want to see the information about).

Personally I’d avoid doing any lengthy periods of walking in the area in the dark. There are a number of reasons for this and they’re inevitably linked to safety (and note that when it gets dark in the area it’s pitch).

The route is indeed well defined and pretty much a doddle to follow in even the poorest weather during daylight but things begin to look very different in the dark. If projecting any lengthy period of non-daylight walking I’d suggest taking more than one torch in case of failure (and extra batteries etc), and a GPS. In the event that you get lost the GPS will give you an exact location from which you should be able to find your way back to the route or a route to safety. If you have to call the mountain rescue team they will certainly be thankful for a precise location.

You do also need to keep an eye on the weather forecast, allow for the greater chance of more inclement weather and dress accordingly. I would always advise to either wear or carry in your backpack a waterproof jacket, kagoule or poncho and cleats for your footwear if there's snow and/or ice about.

Re: The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 18 Dec 2014, 22:50
by marto
3 of us are going tommorrow,as near as the winter solstice as we could get. Will post on here how we get on.

Re: The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 21 Dec 2014, 20:37
by marto
three of us completed the 3 peaks on fri 19 december. the weather was relatively kind though extremely windy on the tops with a couple of stinging hail showers thrown in on wernside summit, underfoot we encountered very little snow or ice though the route was very wet & boggy. our clothing was full waterproof outer cove with spare hat gloves tops etc, we each carried about 1.5l of fluid ( i actually drank less than 1litre) with plenty of food.

horton 7.45am - pen y ghent summit 8.45am - whernside summit 13.45pm - ingleborough summit 16.00 - horton 17.55

9 hr 25 moving time 45min resting. 26 .85 miles with 9450ft of ascent.

the route is well marked and we had maps & compass though due to us wanting to take the route over horton moor todber moss & black dubb moss (the stepping stones were well under water by the way the beck been quite difficult to cross) we made a poor navigation error off pen y ghent ending up near plover hill costing about 1 hr of time. my map remained folded in my pocket the wind and rain making it near impossible to unfold and due to cloud & clag we missed the correct path. so one piece of advice would be to have your map open on the appropriate route in a holder aroud your neck.

darkness came just as we left ingleborough summit we had headtorches and i would say these are essential at this time of the year, we turned them off briefly at sulber nick and it was pitch black, the lights from horton village will not guide you down as they are out of site most of the way on the descent off ingleborough.

all in all a thoroughly good day out not to be underestimated in winter finished off with a pint in the crown.

Re: The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 21 Dec 2014, 21:59
by mac.hawk
Many congratulations for getting round in a little over 10 hours, especially in winter and via 'The Bog'. I would also congratulate you in going well equipped, most important if undertaking the challenge in the winter months.

Just to clarify something in your entry that people who are not familiar with the route might mis-interprate, there are no formal 'stepping stones' anywhere on the route across 'The Bog' (i.e. Horton Moor and Todber, Black Dubb & Red Moss's). If you want to be pedantic I suppose any stone you step on to cross a watercourse is a 'stepping stone' but there is certainly nothing that most of us would regard as 'stepping stones' i.e a line of (usually) large rocks, equidistant from each other from bank to bank, anywhere on the route. Hull Pot Beck is usually traversable by 'dancing' across stones, unless in flood, as would it seem to have been on your traverse on Friday.

Glad you had a good day and thanks for the report.

Re: The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 30 Dec 2014, 20:20
by marto
I did the route again today solo (with dog), i went the "traditional way" ie anti clockwise from Horton. Sticking to the way marked paths my gps measured the distance at 23.57 miles with 5922 ft of ascent and just as importantly 5922ft of descent.
managing to get round in daylight hours probably aided by the frozen ground most of the route although there was still plenty mud. I found the route well way marked and with the good visibility today straight forward to follow.

Pen y ghent - ascent up the scramble wet but no ice, dropping down the pennine way towards whitber hill plenty of ice very slippy.

Whernside - very icy on the flagstones climbing up. descended in sunlight, wet but pleasant enough.

Ingleborough - again plenty of ice on the flagstones leading up to the steep section which itself had little ice but was wet. Plenty of snow on the top a raw wind and little visibility all in all glad to get off. The descent plenty of ice mud & water.

Another good day out,although a lot of concentration /foot placement choice req.

Re: The 3 Peaks Challenge in the Winter Months

Posted: 31 Dec 2014, 13:32
by The Moth
To do it at this time of year twice in 11 days is a great achievement especially with the bad weather and limited hours of daylight so well done to you. Took me just over 10 hours in June so to do that in December is very impressive.