Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lots of deep snow

New deep accumulations in Corrie an t Sneachda

There are deep snow amounts at all altitudes which make for very difficult trail breaking.
The snowpack is very weak on most aspects with heavy and hard windslab overlying sugary faceted layers.
In the cold temperatures this weakness will remain for some time

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Drifting at higher altitudes

We have an unstable situation in the Cairngorms with newly drifted windslab lying on an already unstable cold snowpack. Views into Coire an's or snow shoes recommended for travel as the snow is waist deep in places.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bitterly cold day

Climbers below Aladdins Buttress in Coir an t Sneachda

A burp test showing failures in the snowpack on buried surface hoar on a West aspect at 1080m.
It has been a bitterly cold day with light East winds, but only a little drifting has taken place. Generally the snowpack seems well consolidated but weaknesses do exist and will become more pronounced if these layers are covered by windslab and more snowfall. (it has been unusually calm for the last 10 days or so).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pea soup day

Views from Glenmore...lots of snow

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stunning conditions in the cairngorms

Coire an t-Sneachda
Today's pit was dug on at SE aspect at 945m. Several weaknesses were noted and there is a very steep temperature gradient.

Spey Valley

Great ski touring.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas

We have a lot of deep soft snow in the Cairngorms, skis or snow shoes recommended. Happy Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thick Cloud- Deep Snow

Looking onto Mess of Potage in Coire an t Sneachda.

A day of very poor visibility and deep snow - difficult trail breaking - it took a party 3hrs to get to the base of the crag in Coire an T Sneachda from the car park !
The snowpack feels very spooky especially with the weak layers 40 cm down on the old surface hoar layer on what seems like all aspects.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Pea souper !

At the profile siteLots of fresh snow overnight has added to the snowpack of yesterday. The new snow has fallen on the surface hoar layer which is now buried and presents a very weak layer about 40cm down. The weak layer above the old hard snow mentioned yesterday is still present.
Shooting cracks occured underfoot on all aspects above 800m.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Glorious winters day

Coire an Lochain
Mess of Potage Coire an t Sneachda

Looking toward Creag Meagaidh
Looking towards the Northern Corries and the Sgorans
It has been a rare day with good visibilty and snow - good touring on the tops -
hard work on foot.

Some deep instabilities are present in the snowpack at about 50cm depth on
NE aspects at 1000m level. There is a strong temperature gradient which is
producing facets above the old neve layer.
This will develop in the cold temperatures and shallow snowpack.
I'll look at this layer again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's still snowing!

The Cairngorms are looking very white and wintry. Accumulations of new snow are quite deep and unstable on many aspects especially in steep terrain. Great snow for skiing apart from the poor visibility.

looking into Sneachda

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wild and wintry Conditons

As forecasted we had a spell of strong North winds with heavy snow, leading to poor stability and visibility. Great snow for the skis!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cold and calm

Its still very cold with snow showers. Everything on the plateau was completely white due to the good snow cover and mist, so we couldn't see very much but we did have one friendly visit from this Snow Bunting.

Today's pit was dug on the South side of Cairngorm.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter in the Cairngorms

Climbing Conditions in the Northern Corries are looking good now that temperatures have fallen considerably.

Thick blue ice has developed on the Cairngorm weather station

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Warm and sunny

This is our last observation day of the season, hill conditions are dry and settled with the dominating high pressure over Scotland. The photo below is of Coire an Lochain which is still holding some snow. We look forward to issuing our reports again for next season starting mid December 2009. Have a great summer .

Friday, April 17, 2009

High pressure and low cloud

Ribbons of snow remain in Ciste Gully Conditions are calm with the dominating high pressure system. Unfortunately with the Easterly air flow the Cairngorms tends to get cloudy weather. We did get the odd glimpse of blue sky today as it tried to clear but it didn't last for very long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Firm Spring Snow

Looking across the Northern Corries from Cairngorm - It has been surprisingly cool on the tops today and the snow is quite firm after the previous nights cold temperatures freezing the snowpack. Some reasonable large fields of snow cover the plateau which can be linked with imagination if on skis.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Warm and sunny

We have had another nice sunny day here in the Cairngorms. It was generally quiet in Lochain two climbers were seen at the bottom of The Vent in Lochain. The rest of the population were mainly bird watchers....Spring is nearly here. There are still some bosses of ice on the easier angled terrain. Some recent cornice triggered avalanche debris was noted in hanging corrie East of the main Lochain buttresses, presumably from Friday when we had mild wet conditions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crampons and ice axe required.

There has been a re-freeze of the existing snowpack leading to icy conditions in places underfoot. The two figures sat amongst the marker poles were very determined to summit Cairngorm as they used the "crawling on all fours" technique on the icy sections.

The plateau is still holding plenty of snow although careful route choice is needed if your ski touring to avoid the bare patches.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thaw conditions

I spotted this pair of male and female Ptarmigan creeping around the boulder field. They are never very far away from each other, also their plumage is changing very fast now from white to the motley brown and black. (The male is the one with the red strip across his eye).

The photos above are of the trident gully's and the Fiacaill buttress in Coire an t-Sneachda.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mild wet and windy

Warm Southerly winds gradually increased with gusts over the summits of up to 75 mph. Visibility was poor and this thaw is expected to continue through Friday with cooler conditions moving in over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Westerly winds with snow.

There is new snow above 600 metres and quite a lot of drifting has taken place at higher altitudes. Our pit was dug on the South-East side of Cairngorm today, the visibility was pretty poor on route especially as there is a lot more snow on the ground making the terrain look very featureless. During the afternoon the cloud lifted and the Cairngorms looked stunning.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

snow showers

Any new snowfall has been above 1100 metres today and new windslab accumulations have formed on NW to NE aspects. Visibility did improve during the afternoon. We are expecting more snow tomorrow...winter is not over yet!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dry and windy

Mountaineering assistant Alexy admires the view.

We had dry conditions in the Cairngorms today although the winds gradually increased as the day went on.

The mountain hare's and Ptarmigan's are beginning to change colour from white to speckled brown, summer must be on its way.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Clear and sunny

Conditions in the Cairngorms have changed dramatically after yesterday's gloom. The old snow surface has re-frozen and new accumulations have developed on lee slopes.
The photo's from top to bottom are Coire an t-Sneachda, the plateau and
Loch Etchachan with South Cairngorms behind.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What's this.

Unfortunately the outdoor photography was totally uninspiring today as the cloud level eventually dropped to around 600m along with wet snow and heavy rain:( and so I took advantage of a grand tour around the bowels of the Funicular on Cairngorm mountain which we can use on a regular basis as part of our commute up the hill weather permitting. (We are eternally grateful for this!!) The top picture shows the underneath of one of the trains and the clip is of the huge wheels that run the funicular line. Apparently the funicular generates power into the national grid if it takes a carriage load of people down to the bottom. It can also transport over 1000 people up the hill within the hour.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Warm and windy

It has been another lovely day in the Cairngorms. The sun is really catching East to South aspects where remaining cornices are still prone to collapse.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dry, Sunny and Warm

Hells Lum crag, and the summits of Cairn Lochan, 1176, and Cairngorm from near Beinn MacDuibh
snow profile site - Gharbh Uisge Beag
Cornice triggered slab avalanche on a Easterly aspect on Sron na Lairige - time unknown