Thursday, January 07, 2010

Snow and Ice conditions in the NW

We have had two days of bright sunshine now up here, however this has been intermittent in some western hills. This has helped the snow on the tops, ridges and anything with a south aspect to consolidate and had helped build up the ice as melt water had trickled down onto the shady north aspects.
There was a MASSIVE spontaneous avalanche on the southern flank of Ben Wyvis yesterday morning when the sun came out causing some melting to trickle down and lubricate a weak layer on a southern leeward convex slope at about 900m. The crown wall was a couple of hundred metres across and over a metre high in places. This same slope avalanched under very similar weather conditions that we has last year.
If you are out touring or walking take great care, the sun is helping to stabilise some previously loaded slopes but it is so desperately cold that many dodgy slopes will remain so.

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