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Where's the Peak gone? Snow 2013.

Friday, 29 March 2013

After a week hunched over a computer in the Vertebrate attic, I finally made it out into the snowy Peak this morning.

The amount of snow that’s fallen is bonkers.

Riding out of Sheffield on the bike via Rivelin and Stanage Pole was fun, but not particularly out of the ordinary. A little tough going in places – mainly due to the mud in Rivelin – the wind has scoured the moors, sweeping them clean of snow. It's pretty, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Looking Peakwards from Stanage Pole. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

Peer over Stanage though, and it’s like clambering through the wardrobe and in to Narnia. The crag is, in places, totally banked out in snow. Entire climbs have vanished beneath drifts and decent-sized cornices are curling off the tops. Wall End Slab has vanished. Goliath’s Groove is no longer a groove and there’s a bergschrund beneath Crescent Arete. It’s nuts.

Wall End Slab is under there. Somwhere.

The top half of the plantation descent isn’t there. You’d need a spade and several days to find it. I took an ‘alternate’ line straight down the crag instead, attempting to ride the rock-solid snow but managing only a couple of metres before having to dig the bike sideways into the snow, using the pedals and bars to bring me to halt.

There's a great descent and a load of rock climbing under that lot.

The rest of the plantation descent is a perfect bobsleigh run. A nice groove has been trodden into the snow, filling in all the holes and leaving a flat out, swoopy descent. Get off the brakes, get low and go with the slides! Or just get it wrong, hurtle out of the groove and go flying over the handlebars as your front wheel vanishes into soft knee-deep snow on either side. You'll have a massive grin on your face either way (although one of the grins will have snow in its teeth). I'd have stopped to take a picture or two, but I was having too much fun.

The rest if my ride took me past Burbage, over Houndkirk and down Blacka Moor in much the same manner. Where plenty of walkers and riders have passed, the snow’s nice and compact and great to ride. Where they haven’t, you’re not going anywhere fast - so the more people who get out there, the better! If you’re riding, I’d suggest making an early start. Things were getting pretty mushy as the sun hit them and by midday it was definitely less rideable than straight after breakfast.

The climb from Stanage towards Burbage, complete with an alpine-style wall of snow where the road's been cleared.

There are ski tracks up on Houndkirk and people are once again boarding on Mam Tor. I’ve heard stories of sheep being dug out of snowdrifts, seen cars buried with only their roofs still visible and been shown pictures of people dropping off Burbage on snowboards. It looks like the snow’s going to hang around for a while, but make sure you get out there before it’s gone!


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