Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Warm windy and sunny

Looking into Coire an t Sneachda
Hells Lum Crag with debris at crag base probably due to cornice collapse
Cock Ptarmigan on the Cairngorm Plateau
Looking toward Cairntoul across the plateaU

Monday, March 30, 2009


                               Note large new cornices above Central Gully area
                                  A changed scene after yesterday !

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Large quantities of spindrift

Fiacaill Buttress seen inbetween strong gusts which carried large amounts of spindrift from the plateau.
Many people were climbing on Mess of Potage today.
The short video clip shows large amounts of spindrift loading the top of the Goat Track in Sneachda.  It looked like The Niagra Falls

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The clearing

There has been snow showers on North winds and cold temperatures for the last 24 hours. We left the summit of Cairngorm to go and dig our snowpit on the South side noticing 3 walkers wandering around on the summit.  They were still wandering aimlessly when we returned half an hour later.  "Which mountain are we on" they asked "is it Sneachda we seemed to be lost can you show us the way down!?" "Yes do you have a map and compass so we can point out your location?".  "No" was their somber reply.  "Oh dear"  So the girls were just about to lead the boys safely off Cairngorm when we heard an engine close by... it was Adam in his Piste machine also on route to rescue the disorientated 3 after receiving a mountain rescue call.  Well done everyone it could have been a long, confusing, and exhausting walk for the 3.  
A brief clearing in the Northern Corries
Michele scribbling at the pit.  Below you can see some very large Graupel which was continually drifting into our pit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cornice Bunny

Cornice Bunny Steve, testing conditions at Ciste Mhearad today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Storms and Blizzards

                                        A glimpse of buttresses of Coire an t Sneachda
Conditions near the moraines of Sneachda

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mild with drizzle

Poor viz on the tops today and a poor photo in the rain of the corries from Glenmore - Deep accumulations of slab have formed on East to South aspects above 1000m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cold and Windy

Looking towards Cairngorm

The 'Dubliners' dodging the wind

' Skinning' up Cairngorm

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another day at the office

Winter has returned with snow, cold temperatures and strong winds....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wet and windy at times

A very quiet Coire an t-Sneachda.It was quite a windy day in the Cairngorms with showers of rain falling as very light snow above 1000 metres.     

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mild and damp

The morning looked very promising with some sunshine but this was soon replace by thick mist and rain with 20 metres of visibility. It didn't last too long though as later in the day the cloud lifted just as quickly hence the photo of Lochain. We are expecting a return of the snow tomorrow fingers crossed!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Warm and sunny

The snowpack is rapidly thawing in the mild temperatures (+7.8 degrees C) at 1050 metres today.  Some recent debris was noted from Cornice collapse on an Easterly aspect.  
Hazy sunshine over the Cairngorms
Ranger Heather on the catwalk in Ciste Mhearad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Continuing Mild

                                         Climbers ascending the Fiacaill a Choire Chais
                            Cloud boiling over the Northern Corries

The snowpack is diminishing fast but the snow remains reasonably firm - the buttresses are black, loose rock and stonefall has been noted at the base of crags. Still ok for touring on the plateau

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunny with good snow cover on Plateau

                           Coire an Lochain form Glenmore

Shaded slopes remained frozen and hard pretty much throughout the day,  whilst the sun-touched S and E slopes and the plateau, softened to provide good spring snow conditions for a number of ski tourers
Skiers heading toward Ben Macduibh

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mild and damp

Debris from a collapsed cornice on an East slope above the Strath Nethy
Collapsing cornices - very soft snow with surface cracks showing snow creep.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It still mild

Even though mild today there was quite a strong chilly wind blowing in exposed areas.  A few folk were out climbing today; the main gully lines are still complete and there is even some ice remaining on steep ground.  Rock fall is the main hazard at the moment.  This is enhanced over a period of time from many freeze thaw cycles which eventually loosens the blocks and due to the lack of snow leaves them exposed, and some end up a bit loose and teetery.  Be careful out there and mind what your pulling on!  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wet and windy

Drier snow crystals still exist within the snowpack
It wasn't such a nice day in the hills today with rain and strong winds.  A layer of slush has developed within the snowpack at around 30cm.  During tests this particular layer sheared.  In the meantime SARDA lakes are in the Cairngorms all of this week.  They will be making use of the snow by training their search dogs to find avalanche victims who have been buried.  Below trainee search dog Einich has a successful find in one of the Ciste Mhearad snow holes.

A layer of slush at 30cm,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nice conditions in the Cairngorms

Views of the Shelter Stone and Carn Etchachan.
We had great conditions in the Cairngorms today.  It was still a bit chilly in the wind but the sunshine has some warmth in it now which does help to speed up the snowpack consolidation period.    
Coire an t-Sheachda above and the plateau below.  As you can see from the photo's there is still plenty of potential for ski touring.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cooler with Strong Westerly Winds

                                   The Northern Corries from Loch Morlich

The snowpack has refrozen in the cooler temps - it has developed a crust which gets thicker at height - Ice sheets are present on the plateau !!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Plus 5 degrees on the Summits !

Looking into Coire an t Sneachda from the Fiacaill - soft thawing snow - should be colder tomorrow and the snow should re-freeze

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good wintry conditions

Looking across Coire Raibert  to Coire an t Sneachda -  
A good snow cover with largely firm snow-ice underfoot - but with some poorly bonded windslab deposits in sheltered NE-SE aspects mainly above 950m

Monday, March 09, 2009

Weak Windslab forming at high levels!

Crack appearing in snowpack on 25 degree South-East aspect at 1100 m.

Very strong  NW winds today have have contributed to heavy drifting and the formation of very weakly bonded windslab in sheltered locations, Elswhere at this level on wind exposed slopes the snowpack has refrozen and is quite icy. So the areas of recent accumulation are quite marked. An uncomfortable day in the drifting snow.!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wild and wintry

Winter has returned with strong winds and lots of snow.  New weakly bonded
accumulations are developing rapidly, some thigh deep in places. 
We had very poor visibility at times especially when the strong gusts came whipping up the spindrift.  The skiing was exciting on the variable terrain of sheet ice and deep drifts! 

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Temperatures remained cold over the summits leading to more snow above 1000 metres and rain below this.   
Our pit was dug at 1110 metres on a NE aspect;  in the meantime back at the office James plays a snow dance, and it worked as there is more snow and cold temperatures expected tonight and tomorrow!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Cold and clear

Winds increased during the morning leading to drifting at higher levels.  The photo shows drifting taking place on these North to East aspects in Coire an t-Sheachda.  

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stellar crystals

Stellar crystals have been deposited due to cold temperatures and at times light winds.  In quantity these crystals can lead to loose snow avalanches.  One was noted today on a Northerly aspect at 1095 metres.
Coire an t-Sneachda today.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Windy with Heavy drifting above 900m

Tap test on N aspect at 1100m showing weak layer. 
Also other tests identify weaknesses, cracks underfoot, and snow block releases.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Increasingly Windy,with some snow showers

                                    Looking toward Loch Morlich from the Cairngorm Plateau
View into Coire an t Sneachda - all visible snow is firm and solid  - a dusting on the buttresses make it look a bit more wintry.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Light snow showers

Summit of Cairngorm and today's pit which was dug above Strath Nethy on an East aspect at 1094m.

Snow holes in Ciste Mhearad.  Spot the lone ski tourer in the middle of the slope.