Great End Winter Conditions Monitoring
This page provides temperature data live and direct from one of the Lake District’s
most reliable winter crags – Great End. The aim is to provide accurate information to
winter climbers about current and historical temperatures to allow better decision-
making before heading out for a winter climbing day in the Lakes.
Why monitor conditions?
The cold and wet conditions which make the Lake District’s winter crags sought after venues
for winter climbers also provide sanctuary for rare Arctic-alpine plants, with the inaccessible
location preventing sheep grazing. The turf these plants live in is easily damaged by ice tools
if not fully frozen; even a single ascent in marginal conditions could irreparably damage the
plant or habitat. But in well frozen conditions, the turf won’t be damaged by climbers – good
news for plants and climbers too, given loss of turf can quickly change a route from steady to
a desperate grovel.
How it works
A set of temperature probes located near the base of Great End on a similar aspect and
altitude take readings at hourly intervals and transmit these to a base station in Seathwaite
to be uploaded to this webpage. The probes are located at approximately 750m altitude,
buried in turf at 5cm, 15cm and 30cm, as well as one probe measuring air temperature. The
aim is to inform how conditions might be shaping up on Great End (and potentially other
winter crags of a similar altitude and aspect,) by showing historical temperature data of the
air and within the turf.
We stress that this is not a definitive system – it will not give a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to
whether conditions are good for climbing. Small differences from the effect of weather on
different areas of the crag may mean the measurement site shows frozen turf when the turf
on the crag (or part of the crag) is not, or vice versa. Likewise, weather can affect similar
crags even a small distance away differently. There are many variables which contribute to
bringing routes into condition and the data below should simply be used as a guide for
climbers to make their own, more informed decisions about likely on-crag conditions.
The information on the graph below should always be used alongside the
Lake District White
Guide. This contains vital information on which routes to avoid in marginal conditions with
easy-to-understand colour topos and other useful information to aid planning for winter
climbers. It is also available as a free hard copy from the BMC shop or various climbing walls
Interested in learning more about how to assess conditions for winter climbing? Read: How
to judge winter conditions for more in-depth information.
Conditions Apply: winter ethics
Winter skills 1.5: conditions and weather
Winter skills 3.1: finding the right climb