Friday, December 31, 2010

Avalanche Debris

This two day old avalanche debris was on a North aspect at 1110 metres. It released on the weak facet layer which was sitting on top of the ice.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slow thaw

We have mild temperatures in the Cairngorms with the freezing level above the summits. Its not all doom and gloom though as it's still looking very wintry in the Cairngorms and the weather outlook is suggesting cooler temperatures for over the new year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strong winds with heavy drifting

Looking down the Ciste Gully whilst braving the Strong South winds. Drifting is very heavy at higher altitudes. The terrain is still hard and icy on exposed slopes with accumulations of windslab in the more sheltered areas.

Working in today's wild Conditions above the Ciste Gully on a North aspect at 790 metres.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Windy with drifting

Wind starting to arrive at Fiacaill Buttress
Bad weather approaching from the South
Wind increased in speed dramatically around midday with very strong SW winds at plateau level.
Recently scoured areas very hard and icy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Change in the Air!

Coire an tt Sneachda
slab cracking underfoot very easily - !!
New windslab is very weak as it is forming onto buried surface hoar which is pretty evident when you travel around as it will crack and block away underfoot.
The new weather system of southerly winds which will be gale force form sunday evening will drift new slab onto the surface hoar in many areas, so be wary of any new slab , and have a great day working off the turkey !!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Poor Viz

Looking toward the Spey Valley -
The best view once descended from the clag - Good skiing and climbing to be had, new snow will lie on a weak layer of surface hoar and will be unstable where it accumulates into windslab on East aspects.
Merry Christmas to all !!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another cold day

Poor visibility up high today. A thick surface hoar layer is developing in the calm and very cold conditions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cold and Clear

Looking toward Carn Etchachan whilst heading down Coire Raibert
Great conditions for both climbing in the corries with boiler plate snow-ice and ski touring on the plateau - but watch out for very hard snow ice hidden below powdery shallow snow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bright and Sunny and calm

The cloud cleared at long last and what a stunning day. A few centimetres of fresh snow fell last night which has left a blanket of snow over the hard icy layer....nice for ski touring.Views looking across the Plateau and into the Northern Corries. In the picture is the RAF sea king they came over to drop the stretcher off from yesterdays rescue.
Here is a mixture of surface hoar and new snow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poor visibility in the Cairngorms

Still very cold with snowpack weaknesses on many aspects. Facets are developing due to steep temperature gradients within the snowpack. This small cornice didn't
take much persuasion before it collapsed
The views were not so great today

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Very cold with bright spells

Some avalanche debris was noted just below Jacobs ladder on the right of this photo and below mess of potage below the crag apron. The snowpack very cold and weak on many aspects.
Tap test revealed a weak faceted layer just above the old hard snow ice layer on a NW aspect at 1050m.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Still bittlerly cold but a brighter day

Clouds lifted around midday to reveal the crags in the Northern Corries. The approach slopes are mainly very firm and icy but there are a few patches of weakly bonded wind slab mainly in steep sheltered locations.
It's forecast to be another cold day tomorrow (minus 9 on the tops) so wrap up warm and have a fun day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bitterly Cold and Windy

At the snow pit site on the South East side of Cairngorm - bitterly cold and windy !!
The old snowpack has refrozen completely and is very hard, the new snow is building very rapidly in the strong winds and is pretty poorly bonded in itself, surface cracking when walking, indicating weak layers below. Layers of Graupel are the culprit. So the new snow is pretty weak wherever it is lying. The old snow is providing really good snow ice and good climbing conditions.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting colder!

The cliffs of Coire an Lochain
Snow is a bit easier to get through today - has become more crusted above around 700 metres, pretty pleasant but windy first thing - cooler temperatures have started to firm things up, looking promising for climbing with the expected colder temperatures.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Very windy - Deep moist snow

Looking at Aladdins Buttress with two folk heading towards Aladdins Coulouir.

Hard walking getting to the corrie thigh deep in places with wet snow at lower levels - just moist above 700 m. Getting colder from tomorrow which will really improve the conditions both for climbing and snowpack stability. Some cornice collapse evidence at base of crags.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Wndy, Heavy drifting

Exiting Coire an t Sneachda

A very cold day with strong Southerly winds and heavy drifting, North facing slopes getting loaded with new snow, cross loading onto East and West slopes too. On a number of aspects windslab overlies very sugary unstable layers, surface cracks and slab releases occurred when descending the Fiacaill of Sneachda on West facing slopes. A wild day !!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cold, Deep Snow, Blizzards

Leaving the cairn at the top of the Fiachaill a Choire Chais
Looking into Coire ant Sneachda
Crown walls of observed avalanche are just visible in the top left corner of picture. Avalanche released either yesterday or last night. Crown wall 1m deep in places and 100m across has travelled 350 metres with enough debris to bury a car (size 3 avalanche) NW aspect 1100m.

A respite in the storm gave us some visibility for a short while - closing in again later with heavyy snowfall. Snowpack remains weak on most aspects.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Deep snow - Poor viz

The only view ! Looking across Loch Morlich to Cairngorm.
Deep snow everywhere above 500 metres, hard trail breaking - really poor visibility today -
I expected more scouring of the snow from NW aspects, but this was not the case. Generally the snowpack feels spooky and unstable especially by not being able to see what is above and being unable to see any angles or definition in the flat light.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colder with snow getting firmer.

Looking West from Cairngorm toward Northern Corries

Conditions shaping up to be very good for walking and climbing - the snow although still fairly soft is developing a crust which increasingly holds your weight as you ascend in altitude. Colder temperatures will continue to improve the situation.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Avalanche Reports start

Looking into Coire an t Sneachda fro windy col
Looking N toward Glenmore from the top of the Goat Track

Winter has arrived and it looks as though will be cold from this weekend and into next week at least.
Today the snow has been pretty soft and is generally moist, after much avalanche activity in the week the snowpack has settled in the warmer temperatures and become much firmer with good climbing conditions in prospect.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Warm dry and sunny on the Tops

Looking toward Sneachda
Carn Etchachan, Shelterstone and Ben Macdui
The ridges of Fiacaill Coire an t Sneachda, Sron na Lairige and the Sgorans
Looking toward the Northern Corries from Cairngorm - Good snow-cover remains at plateau levels - heavy going in the new wet snow which is on the surface - but nonetheless a lovely day with good views at last.
Inverness Mountaineering Club members celebrating the clubs 60th year set of towards Coire an t Sneachda.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blustery conditions

After Fridays glorious conditions today was a complete contrast. Strong winds with occasional snow showers made travel on skis a little more arduous!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stunning conditions in the Highlands

Today's pit was dug East of the Great Slab in Lochain.
During the very warm period last weekend a large section avalanched at full depth on the slabs.

Looking across at the Lochain cliff tops.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Warm and sunny

A great day in the hills today. Many people were out and about enjoying the sunshine. Snow boarders head off for some off piste action

A telemark skier in Alladins Couloir

Great ski touring on the plateau

Shelter Stone crag and Etchachan.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Very mild conditions

Huge Cracks and crevasses have appeared on the Great slab in's only a matter of time...
Very mild conditions generally.
Sneachda today.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Clear at last!

Coire an t Sneachda

Looking toward Bhein Avon from Ciste Mhearad
Cairngorm plateau with Ben Macdui, Cairntoul and Sgur an Lochain Uaine and sh 1176

The snowpack is stable and spring like on the plateau getting softer as you get lower into the corries, but generally the snowpack is well bonded and stable throughout.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

There is a lot of snow

And it just keeps snowing... This is the Ptarmigan bull wheel at the very top of the Cairngorm ski area. Some serious digging is needed to excavate the T bars!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Snow showers cleared

It was a pea souper this morning but visibility improved during the afternoon... Looking down the Chais
Doing a tap test on a NW aspect at 1030m.
Measuring snowpack temperatures every 10cm. There is still a significant steep temperature gradient.