Monday, January 29, 2007

Diminishing Snowpack

Coire Lochan from Glenmore.

Good cover on the plateau and E-S aspects - warm temps - snow still firm and in gullies - it will be good when it freezes !!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wet and windy in the Cairngorms.

Lots of people on Glenmore Lodge avalanche courses were making the most of the deep snow slopes and shelter of Ciste Mhearad today. A bit of a battle getting back out though against the strong North-Westerly winds.
Posted by Kathy

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Cairngorms today.

The ski touring looked amazing but it was hindered by a hard rain crust. Great views though!
At work and play in the Cairngorms today.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Today's Pit

It's been another poor visibility day here in the Cairngorms, not a very good photography day, but a great for navigation practice. This is today's pit. The snowpack has slowly consolidated due to last night's brief thaw but there is still a strong temperature gradient within the snowpack.
Posted by Kath

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A snowy scene

Quite a few people were making the most of the climbing conditions in the Northern Corries today. Here's Alladdin's Buttress and the Trident Gullies to the right; you can just about make out a few climbers in amongst the crags and gullies.
This is today's pit on an Easterly aspect. Lots of graupel around; over a metre here and this top layer sheared off very easily on a softer layer beneath.
No this isn't a scene from the 70's! Doesen't the ski area look great!
Posted by Kathy

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Deep snow on the plateau

If only clouds would lift from the Cairngorms, then the ski touring would be amazing. Quite a depth in places on the plateau. It's a fair old slog under foot. We did have a 5 minute interval of clearer skies which gave us a view instead of whiteness.
Posted by Kathy

Monday, January 22, 2007

Our first ski day of the season

Its been another poor visibility day with light winds at lower levals and fresh snow. The claggy conditions have led to quite a depth of graupel developing in places which in certain areas could even lead to airborne avalanches.
Alan is becoming an expert Mountaineering Assistant, better watch out he'll be after my job!
Posted by Kathy

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A misty day

The Northerly airstream has done its usual thing by creating thick mist over the hills, so mountain views were non-existent today. Everything was riming up really quickly in the freezing cold temperatures including my eye lashes. There is a nice soft layer of graupel and needles on the surface which could make an interesting snowpack tomorrow with the forecasted snow showers. Today's view is taken from the Sugar Bowl looking through the Caledonian pines.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today's Avalanche Reports

Here's Coire an t-Sneachda looking a little wind blasted, after last night's 120 mph winds. Where has all the snow gone? Some did managed to cling onto the Fiachaill Buttress though.

Couldn't see very much in Ciste Mhearad today. There was 80cm of weakly bonded slab at the pit site and deeper accumulations further left; a battle getting back out in the high winds.

The SAIS website cannot be updated until Monday. We will be posting on the blog till then.

There was snow overnight on very strong South-East veering
North-West winds. During the day it was mainly dry but heavy
drifting has led to new accumulations of weakly bonded windslab
building on Northerly through East to South-Easterly aspects
above 900 metres. South-Easterly aspects are mostly affected but
North to East aspects have significant build up in some areas
especially on scarp slopes and crag aprons. The avalanche hazard
is Considerable (Category 3).

Snow showers overnight on North-Westerly winds will become more
frequent during the day as winds increase and veer to the North.
New accumulations of weakly bonded windslab will form on
Easterly through South to South-West aspects above 850 metres.
Gully exits and scarp slopes on Northerly aspects will also be
affected. The avalanche hazard will be Considerable (Category

SNOW DISTRIBUTION: Deepest accumulations lie mainly on NE to SE

ICING: Easterly crags rimed up, N facing crags wind blasted.
Temperatures remaining very cold.

COMMENT: Steep slopes in Northern Corries still have very hard
old snow with serious runouts below.

After a brief thaw last night the temperature dropped during
Saturday. Heavy snow showers and strong Westerly winds have
deposited areas of unstable windslab on North-East to South-East
aspects above 900m. Although there are not great quantities of
this new snow, it does show some very easy shears. The greatest
hazard is at the top of slopes and gullies where deep deposits of
this fresh snow have accumulated. The avalanche hazard is
Considerable (Category 3).

Overnight snow showers will ease, and Westerly winds will veer to
the North during Sunday. This will continue to deposit windslab
on North-East to South-East aspects above 900m. This windslab is
expected to show poor stability, and avalanches are likely on
steep slopes and gullies where it accumulates. The hazard will
extend to South aspects later in the day as the wind veers. The
avalanche hazard will be Considerable (Category 3).

SNOW DISTRIBUTION: New snow above 500m today, drifting in the

ICING: Good snow and ice for climbing reported on Ben Nevis.

COMMENT: Large cornices above some routes on Aonach Mor and Ben
Nevis at the moment.

Strong West to North-Westerly winds and snow showers above 350
metres have affected the area. The greatest accumulations of new
snow are above 800 metres. The strong winds have scoured and
re-distributed snow on to NE to SE aspects continuing to form
layered windslab in sheltered locations. The snowpack is weakly
bonded on steep slopes and in gullies on N through to SE facing
aspects above 850 metres. Where these conditions exist the
avalanche hazard is Considerable (Category 3).

Frequent snow showers will occur through Saturday night becoming
more scattered on Sunday. Strong Westerly winds becoming
Northerly will continue to build additional windslab in all
sheltered locations with the greatest deposits being on NW
through E to S aspects above 800 metres. Where deep accumulations
of weakly bonded windslab exist it will be unstable especially on
steep slopes around the tops of gullies and on scarp slopes where
avalanches are likely. The avalanche hazard will be Considerable
(Category 3). Cornices will also be unstable.

SNOW DISTRIBUTION: Snow above 350 metres with the greatest
deposits in Northerly sheltered corries.

ICING: Becoming colder, freezing level 750 metres during Saturday
night lowering to 600 metres on Sunday.

COMMENT: Buttresses are the safer option.

Moderately to weakly bonded windslab is present on N through E to
SE aspects above 800 metres. Very sheltered locations on NE to SE
aspects above 900 metres are the most affected holding greater
quantities of re-distributed snow. Exposed locations are wind
scoured and some areas have a thin melt-freeze crust. The
avalanche hazard is Considerable (Category 3).

Recent snow will consolidate slowly in the cold temperatures.
Very sheltered locations on NE to SE aspects above 900 metres
will contain moderately to weakly bonded deposits. Moderately
bonded deposits will also be found on N through E to SE aspects
above 800 metres. Scattered snow showers will form limited
accumulations on mainly E to S aspects. The avalanche hazard will
be Considerable (Category 3).


SNOW DISTRIBUTION: Mini melt-freeze cycle and re-distribution
have occurred. Exposed areas have thin cover.

ICING: Continuing cold with some ice now forming.

COMMENT: Wind speed will increase through Sunday.

Strong, cold W winds and snow showers have affected the area and
there has been been significant wind transport of existing snow
above 650m. Deep and extensive accumulations of weakly-stabilised
windslab lie on all NE through E to SE aspects above 750m.
Although there has been some localised scouring of a few S
aspects, stability is poorest on corrie backwalls and gully tops
above 850m where new slab build up is now very deep. The
avalanche hazard is High (Category 4). Avalanche and cornice
debris noted below steep SE aspects as low as 750m.

It will remain cold with NW then N winds and snow showers that
will become more frequent on Sunday. Additional poorly bonded
windslab will form on NE through E to S aspects above 750m where
avalanches will occur. The avalanche hazard will be High
(Category 4).


SNOW DISTRIBUTION: Fresh snow down to 450m on Saturday with heavy
drifting above 650m.

ICING: Observations impossible as the crags were obliterated by

COMMENT: Full on winter conditions here at `Meggie.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Varied conditions

Here you can see the difference in the snow cover; quite a depth on this South-East aspect but fairly lean conditions in other areas. There is a real mix of conditions underfoot, verglassed rocks, very hard old frozen snow, and soft deep snow. Some of the gullies still have a lot of loose rock in them under the new fluffy snow.
Posted by Kathy 16.02

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday on Cairngorm

Photo 1 looking at Cairngorm from Sneachada
Photo 2 Looking into Coire an t Sneachda East flanks of gullies loaded with slab
Photo 3 Look down Alladins Coulouir Windslab accumulation pockets on L.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Snow and Windy

Coire an Lochain from Glenmore
windy day with snow showers and heavy drifting - some hard snow remains in gullies localised accumulations of windslab. Buttresses still dry with a dusting of new snow - lots of unpleasant spindrift for climbers on the crag.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Clear day on Cairngorm no wind !!

Looking into Coire an t Sneachda and to the Fiachail buttress - very hard snow in Northern Corries gullies and slopes- However will become a lee aspect and become loaded during tonights snowfall and Southerly winds- use your eyes tomorrow !!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Another 117 mph day.

A bit of a wade through thigh deep heather. There is snow out there honest, it's just a longer trek than usual!

Here's a nice view of Lochain showing conditions still rather bare.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More snow than expected in the Cairngorms today

Some keen mountaineering assistants waiting to jump in the car!

Heavy drifting seen here on the strong North-Westerly winds.

This spontaneous avalanche happened in Ciste Mhearad whilst we were doing the pit at around midday.

Posted by Kathy

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another wet windy day

We've had another wet and windy day with mild temperatures.
The picture of the avalanche Debris was taken in Ciste Mhearad today. It was on a Northerly aspect and probably happened early Friday morning as the temperature rose sharply. These three clever Ptarmigans demonstrated their climbing skills to us by using their beaks to pull themselves up over the windy lip!
Posted by Kathy

Friday, January 12, 2007

138 mph day

It was an exhilarating day in the hills with winds reaching up to 138 mph. A lot of the snow has disappeared with the heavy rain and Cairngorm hair dryer on full speed. Here are a few shots of the remaining snow, staff meetings in the hills and general wildlife.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blizzard Conditions

Quite a lot of snow has fallen overnight and today. Temperatures were not that cold as it was thawing at the carpark. Not the most pleasant of conditions to be out in with 127mph gusts over Cairngorm summit but hey it's winter!
Posted by Kathy

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Looking toward Lochan from Glenmore 15:30 hrs

More snowfall occured than expected so significant accumulations of dry snow on Southerly aspects.
Tonight high Southerly winds with more snowfall will shift this snow to Northerly aspects and will create significant unstable windslab snow on Northerly and North-Easterly aspects. Gullies in North facing Corries will be loaded with unstable windslab. Use your eyes well !!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Snowy conditions above 1000 metres.

These pictures show the extremes of conditions above and below 1000 metres. Within the recently developed deeper windslab a very weak soft layer exists beneath around 22cm of firmer snow.
Posted by Kathy

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A busy day in Ciste Mhearad

A winter scene in the Cairngorms today with lots of drifting after the overnight snow. There is plenty of snow in Ciste Mhearad and Glenmore Lodge are seen here making the most of it with one of their avalanche courses. So all you keen snow- holers get digging, we've got snow!
Posted by Kathy

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pleasant Conditions in the Cairngorms

Here are a few pictures for all you skiers and climbers out there showing a view of how conditions are shaping up! Today was quite pleasent on the plateau with some blue sky and being able to walk in a straight line in the lower wind speeds was quite a novelty

Posted by Kathy

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lean Conditions in The Northern Corries.

These pictures show the lean conditions in the Northern Corries at the moment, but its cold again and snow showers are forcast so hopefully it will improve again.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Conditions 4th Jan 2007

Bare ground, but very hard snow where it lies.
Very windy on the tops today gusting 75mph..
Bottom photo looking across Coire Raibert to Derry Cairngorm.
Top photo looking into Coire an t Sneachda from Plateau

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Gone today here tomorrow !

Howling SW gales with summit readings of 110 mph - warm temperatures have stripped the snow from all aspects and altitudes ribbons remain. Getting colder though with some snow forecast.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Whiteout conditions for most of the day - Buttresses look much more wintery. Windslab pockets in gully exits and flanks. Sharp temperature rise and very strong SW winds for tonight and tomorrow will mntns strip again but snow will return.
Note Snow profile weak layers at 10 cm and 53 cm from a S aspect at 1100m altitude

Monday, January 01, 2007

Conditions on Plateau today

Heavy snow showers and strong winds for most of the day - providing healthy amounts of much needed snow.
Heavy drifting in sheltered places, high up above 900m and into gullies in Northern Corries were it is very unstable during this storm phase. Snowpack is quite moist so some stabilisation should take place given time