3 Peaks Challenge in December - War stories? Tips?

The forum to discuss the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
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Joined: 29 Oct 2014, 18:42

3 Peaks Challenge in December - War stories? Tips?

Post by AK1 » 29 Oct 2014, 20:26

I am tentatively planning a trip in early December to do this hike. (It will be a very small group of 2-3 hikers.) I consider myself fit (I run/walk/hike/stair-climb) a lot, and I'm not afraid of a challenge. (The challenge is the part that I'm attracted to!) However, I understand that December might not be a rare time for attempting this hike.

Any war stories or tips? Are we completely crazy to attempt this?

(Thanks to mac.hawk for his Guide and winter tips.)

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Joined: 15 Apr 2014, 20:41

Re: 3 Peaks Challenge in December - War stories? Tips?

Post by Farcelt » 31 Oct 2014, 17:02

Hi, I completed a solo nightime 3 peaks in September a couple of years ago on a night with a full moon which turned out to be very cloudy so very little moonlight to aid route finding. I had a head torch and because I am very familiar with the route, having completed I guess 50 plus circuits had no problems at all. However, and this is the point I want to make, if unfamiliar with the route I would not advise anyone to attempt it unless they are confident of completing before nightfall and would also suggest setting off before dawn. The early start whilst still fresh and with progressively more light will pay divdends in avoiding finishing in the dark, tired and having to pick out the way.
December has very short days so I usually wait till begining of February when the days begin to lengthen before making a winter outing. Hope this is of help, enjoy your 3 Peaks.

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Joined: 19 May 2011, 19:19

Re: 3 Peaks Challenge in December - War stories? Tips?

Post by mac.hawk » 02 Nov 2014, 22:24

Farcelt gives good advice as on the 7th December (AK1's projected date) there are a touch over seven and a half hours between sunrise & sunset (8.12 to 15.49) plus an additional 40 minutes of twilight time at each end of the day. An early start would be far more preferable to a late finish.

I'd also suggest starting/finishing at Ribblehead. The reason being that once you've descended Pen y Ghent the footpath to Ribblehead is much more friendly underfoot than the path from Ingleborough summit to Horton (other than a short section between God's Bridge and Nether Lodge) and much better suited to traversing in the dark.

It's do-able if you're unfamiliar with the route and/or walking in the dark but to avoid any lengthy walking in the dark you need to aim for the 10 hour schedule really.

If you start in the dark at Ribblehead at approx 7 am you should reach the aqueduct at 7.30 just as twilight is kicking in, reach Whernside summit just after sunrise. On the 10 hour schedule you'll reach Pen y Ghent summit at approx 2pm. You will then have approx 7.5 miles to reach Ribblehead and roughly 2 and a half hours daylight/twilight left. The last 2.5 miles from Nether Lodge to Ribblehead (about an hours walking) is along track and (unlit) road that is generally good underfoot and mainly flat.

Alternatively after you summit PyG and then descend to Tarn Bar, if you're behind schedule, the weather is that bad or you simply don't fancy a trek in the dark to Ribblehead you can take Horton Scar Lane back into Horton and get a train or taxi back to Ribblehead.

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