Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hogmanay snow


Heavy snow came in around mid-day. Here Kathy does her snowpit in around half a metre of new slab at 1100 metres in Ciste Mhearad. Much spindrift in the high winds. Bodes well for the New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back to winter


It was colder today although the winds were less. Snow arrived in the afternoon and drifting (see photo) caused some shallow windslab build-up. The old snow is now re-frozen, so the danger of slips or trips above rocky runouts is still there. We are still hearing of more incidents due to this.

Friday, December 29, 2006

117 mph today


That was the top wind gust today on Cairngorm summit. The wind and rain rather restricted observations, but here is Kathy on the Coire Cas headwall. Sorry about the raindrops on the lens! Weather is forecast to be colder and windy into the New Year

Thursday, December 28, 2006

SAIS at home



A dry and increasingly windy day here today, with not much change to the snowpack and surfaces still icy. Kathy Grindrod and Sandy Allan were your Observers today. They didn't have the camera, so no hill pics. Here SAIS Co-ordinator Blyth Wright pontificates while Kathy disagrees.
The snowpit shows that the temperature gradient is decreasing from recent high values.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Cold on trhe tops with a slight breeze and good visibility - Grey cloudy skies give the impression that some snow is on the way, lets hope so!.

Snow remains rock hard everywhere.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Colder on the tops today, the remaining snow that lies in patches mainly on East to Southerly aspects is still bullet hard and ice glazed. Poor visibility for most of the day on the tops with the sun breaking through for moments.

Monday, December 25, 2006

25/12/06 Looking into Coire an t Sneachda


Warm on the tops and cold in the valleys - the snowpack is diminishing in the warm temperatures, but the remaining snowpack is bullet hard and ice glazed, requiring crampons to be worn to progress on slope angles more than 5 degrees !!!Crags remain bone dry with loose rock and the snow gullies in the Northern Corries are now broken.

However a great day for being on the tops with sunshine and good views, now, all that is required for the perfect day is to get home for Christmas dinner.

Merry Xmas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cairn Toul beyond the Plateau


Another glorious day - views as far North as Ben Hope.

Very hard ice glazed snow.

northern Corries Buttresses dry and black with some loose rock.

Scary descents into corries due to rock hard snow and bad runouts.

Saturday, December 23, 2006




The first picture shows the remaining snow cover in Coire an Lochain. Despite warmer temperatures,inversions around 700-1100 metres mean that the snow is hard-frozen and icy. Combined with the rocky runouts, this presents very serious conditions, when the consequences of any fall are maximised. On a cheerier note, the other picture shows today's all-girl team enjoying the winter sunshine!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A great change from yesterday with very strong winds and drifting snow being transported into isolated locations on Easterly aspects above 1000m.

The snowpack is generally very very hard, and requires careful movement on steep ground as the runouts are very rocky and end in boulder fields - some normal descents into corries from the plateau are now very serious due to the bullet hard neve.
Other descents are fine with regard to conditions.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006



Perfect conditions on the hill today with fabulous views across the Cairngorms. Although the freezing level was well above the summits everything remained well frozen. Pictures show (bottom) Hell's Lum Crag and (top) Shelter Stone Crag and Carn Etchachan.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Conditions on the crags look very lean but with ice forming on seepage lines. The snow in the gullies is rock hard.
It may be possible with imagination to ski across the plateau to Ben Macdui!
Today's snowpit shows a very strong temperature gradient in hard surface layers.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Coire an t Sneachda from Windy Col - thin snow cover !
but, what is there is iron hard - on the cliff the cold is firming up the ground which has been soft -
Nice day - No wind -

Friday, December 15, 2006

North Cairngorms opening day


Well, the girls and boys were out today on Cairngorm. Here Kathy Grindrod's snowpit on Coire Cas headwall clearly shows the interface between the new slab and the hard crust below. The deeper old snow below has not yet frozen, so breakable crust exists in many locations. It was quite cool today with summit temperatures around minus 2 Centigrade, so here's hoping for a wintry winter!