Sunday, March 07, 2010

NW and Cairngorms

The thaw has been on for a few days now and the freezing level has gone up to the tops of the hills, or above, most days and down to the valley at night. This is helping destroy and consolidate some of the weaknesses in the snow pack, which was saturated in a pit dug on Ben Wyvis on a southern aspect at about 700m today.
The snow level has retreated up the hill so it is not possible to ski car to summit any more on Ben Wyvis, we carried for about 2km.
There has been heavy rain on the coastal NW hills (Applecross) and this has been very detrimental to many of the ice routes there. The ice is still hanging on further inland though such as on Liathach.
Conditions this w/e in the Cairngorms were great with hero neve forming in the gullies; the rise in freeing level has done great work there stabilising the snow pack and refreezing the snow to make climbing much more pleasant.
Sorry, no pictures; my rechargeable battery isn't behaving. Will try and fix this asap.
Coda...Also forgot to add lots of avalanche activity in the past 3 days all over the place, saw lots of old avalanches on West and Sw slopes on Wyvis and lots in the Corries, and there may be more if the cornices fail. Y gully area in Lochain i often pretty bad for this

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