Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nw conditions update

Just a quick update via the phone as I'm in the middle of cooking dinner for my guests. Poachers fall received several ascents today in good conditions. Showers I'd heavy warm rain on the walkin tested the faith of man y people today. The freezing level was at or just above the tops and the temp went up hits quickly during the day. My party was on An Teallch today and pretty much had the same experience as my guests except for the great ice conditions! We found pretty soggy snow and blackening buttresses in the showers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ski touring in the Cairngorms

Today the weather was glorious: but i was working indoors.
Yesterday i took Jim and Ann on a day of introductory ski touring. We went up to the summit of Cairngorm and over to Ben Macdui and then back to the car park via Lurchers Gully. The visibility was absolutely zero all day and snow fell on a moderate to gentle wind all day (today was wall to wall sunshine and snow in contrast). We covered kick turning, avalanche awareness (we actually met the SAIS on the top of Cairngorm and had a brief chat with them also). We also looked at safe, cautious 'survival' skiing techniques for zero vis and zero contrast. Fortunately Ann and Jim are quite strong skiers and coped fine with me out in front to break up the surface of the snow and give the ground some definition.
The ski touring will now be good for several weeks and the time for the big 4000ers tour is now as the snow settles down, visibility is good and there is deep snow on all parts of the Cairngorms. Sadly i'm working indoors till the weekend.
Here are some pictures of the zero vis for what they are worth and some shots from earlier in the week in Glen Torridon area.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nw conditions update

First off apogies for the break in blogging; the conditions as I'm sure many of you knew were quite poor in the nw and whilst the easy gullies in the cairngorms and the ice routes (and crowds) on Ben Nevis have been ok I re-arranged much of my remaining winter work for this season I to the future as no one really likes going for a soggy hillwalk.
However the nw conditions have come good again. Conditions on Beinn Eighe are really good with the stormy snowfalls riming much of the steep ground up. Ice is growing again on liathach and a team was on a thin poachers fall today. I don't know how they faired on the last corner pitch which can be challenging in thin conditions.
In fact pretty much all the steep nw mixed climbing venues are back into condition. He exposed turf up high is ok, but the buried stuff isn't great; if your route requires lots of well frozen turf it may be worth either waiting a while of having a back up plan.
What we haven't had much of is good visability in the last few days. I will try and show a picture of the snow level in torridon from today if I can find my camera later.
I'm ski touring in the Northern Cairngorms tomorrow and I'm hoping to chase down that very elusive thing known as "blue sky" but may have to settle for some blue sky thinking instead.