Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wet to Summits then Colder

A diminished snowpack that is wet and saturated to summit levels.
Late afternoon the temperature dropped and the snow has became much better. This evening and tomorrow the temperature at summit level will be minus 5 C.
Snow still present on buttresses - bodes well for climbing during the next few days.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

To the dogs

In Ciste Mhearad today we were at least immune from the cornice collapses which affected Coire an Lochain. In the top picture, Blyth and Eley are seen at mid-day prayers and in the other she and Chris are seen with the dogs. The promised return to colder conditions is good news for the International Climbing Meet at Glenmore Lodge.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Today in Sneachda

Here's a picture of Blyth below Aladdin's Couloir, looking just a tad knackered. Well, it is quite a long way up there. Unfortunately, none of the pictures of the girls came out! The pit showed easy shears at two levels. It would take high additional load to release a slab, but definitely not Category 1 yet. Remaining cornices above mainly North aspects will be getting very soggy in tomorrow's rain and thaw.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wetter wetter..

The picture shows Blyth examining something interesting in the snowpit. At 1050m we were right on the snow-rain limit around lunch-time. We were safe enough in Coire Cas, but large wet slab avalanches and cornice collapse were reported from Coire an Lochain about the same time. Hopefully, most of this activity is now over.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A little snow...

Some new snow occurred overnight, giving some small fresh accumulations at highest levels. Here Blyth investigates stability of the new deposits a short distance from the top of Cairngorm. It was quite a pleasant day on the plateau, with only a slightly fresh breeze and visibility as much as 100 metres at times.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A visit to Coire Laogh Mor

We went to Coire Laogh Mor for the first time this season. Snow cover, as can be seen from the North aspect picture of Joy, is distictly patchy. The snowpack at that altitude (850m) is now isothermal in distinct contrast to the colder snow temperatures and strong temperature gradients seen yesterday at 1150m.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A quiet weather day

Fine, dry weather saw many people visit the plateau today. Snow conditions were stable and our snowpit on West-facing Coronation Wall showed no shears. Our photos show an Eastward vista over still-frozen Loch Avon and a view of a black-looking Carn Etchachan.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Cooler temperatures

There was lots of action in and around the Cairngorms today. Both buttress and Gully lines were being climbed in the Northern Corries. The freezing level dropped a little earlier this morning which helped conditions.
There was a real change of scene in Ciste Mhearad today as this cool and trippy gang of boarders were seen practising the half pipe for a competition this weekend.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A slight freeze overnight

It was less windy today and a little cooler. The freezing level dropped to below the summits last night which has led to a much firmer snowpack today. Here is Coire an t-Sheachda looking in fairly good shape after yesterdays mild temperatures.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wild and windy

It was'nt very popular in the Cairngorms today due to the 114mph winds and rain. We managed to battle our way up to the Cas Headwall along with a brave group from Glenmore Lodge. Here's Joy having a nice time staggering about in the wind.
Posted by Kathy

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine memoirs

Great views again today. Sneachda looking particularly stunning framed in this lovely heart.
Loch Etchachan
And a thorn between two Valentine roses. Lucky Alan manages to squeeze between Kath and Mavis in the drift.
posted by Kathy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Good views today

Coire an t-Sneachda looking very impressive with all the snow.
A frozen Loch Etchachan viewed from Cairngorm.
Joy posing as a Womble after collecting rubbish from this snow hole in Ciste Mhearad...Naughty!
posted by Kathy

Monday, February 12, 2007

Milder temperatures

There was some fresh snow overnight followed by milder temperatures today. Lots of debris was seen in the Northern Corries due to the sharp temperature rise this morning. This graupel seen in the photo landed at some stage last night.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Calmer conditions today

Skis would have been a good idea today due to thigh deep snow in places. The snowpack has consolidated significantly at lower altitudes in the slight temperature rise but summit temperatures are still below freezing. Here is Joy wallowing in deep snow with Ciste crag behind.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stormbound conditions.

The old ticket office doorway at the Ciste car park was a popular hang-out den today. Here Langdale Ambleside MRT have a gear sort along with my mountaineering assistant Alasdair. Conditions are very unstable at present due to heavy drifting and snow showers. Careful route choice was needed for today's pit as a very shallow angled small slope earlier in the day cracked and slumped as we approached it. Posted by Kathy

Friday, February 09, 2007

Maelstrom Conditions

Joy with cornice on Coire Cas ski traverse.Kathy doing today's pit .

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cold and Wintry

Photo: Blyth at work
Snow has been transported into gully tops and scarp slopes in Northern Corries- Natural avalanches observed out of Jacobs Ladder - Gully exits are thought provoking !!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blue sky day

This morning's mist cleared to leave a beautiful sunny day. The plateau looks impressively well covered but you would have to pick your line carefully for ski touring as the rocks are just below the surface of the newly laid soft snow. There is a good depth in places though. Mess of Potage looked white today.
Alladins Buttress and beyond.
Fiacaill Buttress.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cold temperatures continuing

Its been mainly poor visibility again today with light winds but we did have half an hour of sunshine around midday which was bliss.

Our pit was dug on the SE side of Cairngorm and there are still lots of facets and graupel within the snowpack. This Rutschblock test went on a weak graupel layer at about 25cm.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weakly bonded snowpack.

Accumulations of new slab with significant depth were weakly bonded due to layers of graupel and facets which are shown in the pit below. This is on the South-East side of Cairngorm at 1095 metres.
Today's pit. Note the strong temperature gradient and associated facet development.
Posted by Kathy

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Heavy traffic in Ciste Mhearad

You're never lonely in Ciste Mhearad; it's often a hive of activity full of enthusiastic mountaineers looking at snow and digging holes. It's a great place. We had a small amount of fresh snow to look at today and there is more snow on the way tomorrow. Happy days!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blue sky day

Lean conditions in Coire an t-Sneachda.
Carn Etchachan and the Shelter stone are looking a little black with Loch Avon below.
One or two ski tourers were seen heading for Ben MacDhui linking snow patches.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Colder Day !

Looking into Coire an t-Sneachda from the plateau.

All snow very hard and icy - surefooted technique required - bad runouts into cliffs and rocks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sparse Snow Cover

Reduced snow cover !!
Some snow to come though