Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stunning conditions.

(Above) The Northern Corries from Loch Morlich this morning.
(Above) Telephoto shot of Braeriach from Whitewell. Excellent cover.
(Above) The crags of Coire an-t Sneachda from the slopes of Cairngorm.
(Above) Early tracks off the summit of Cairngorm. Looking towards Coire Raibert and Carn Etchachan. 'Dude' skiing on telemark gear.
                                                (Above) Taking ownership. A job well done!
              (Above) Carn Etchachan from the snow pit site at the top of the steep part of Coire Raibert

Fabulous conditions today. Cold powdery snow pretty much everywhere at first, making all turns on skis distinctly flattering. The snow got a little cruddy lower down as the temperature rose during the day. Several camel trains of ski-tourers seen heading for Ben Macdui. Most off piste ski runs close to the ski area were tracked out by late morning. Both upper car parks on Cairngorm full on Saturday with overflow parking on the approach road. Sunday weather forecast looking good

Friday, April 27, 2012

Snow White and the....

(Above) 'Bashful' at the cairn at spot height 1141m at the top of the Fiacaill of Cas. Note the thick rime on the north side of the cairn. (Actually, he's got his eyes closed due to the punishing spindrift...not because he's bashful...or a dwarf...although all his children are taller than him..and so's his wife, come to think of it!).

It's wintry with plenty of snow. Coverage is complete with very few if any rocks showing through on the plateau. Deep in places where it's drifted so skis are the preferred mode of transport up high. You could skin all the way from the car park to the summit of Ben Macdui without taking skis off (judicious route choice required near the car park). Ski touring highly recommended, though steep South-facing descents will continue to hold weaker windslab for the time being.
(Above) Wintry shot at 'Windy Col' with the some of the top of the Mess of Pottage crag in the background. There is a lot of riming on most North-facing crags but a lot of clearing may be necessary on some routes - deep, unconsolidated snow in places as well.

Very poor visibility today but the weekend forecast is for cold temperatures, light winds, occasional light snow showers and much brighter conditions.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Poor visibility with plenty of snow

Good snow cover on all aspects.
Poor visibility above 1000 metres.  Freezing at summit level hence the thick rim ice which has developed on the weather station.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Further snow showers

Coire an Lochain.  Quite a depth of snow developing above 900m.


And Mrs Ptarmigan

Spring has spring below 800m!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Northerly air stream

Looking over to Loch and Carn Etchachan
The Northerly airstream is creating the cold conditions in the Cairngorms, often with poor visibility especially during the snow showers; however there were a few breaks in the clouds today.

Good snow cover developing on the plateau, with Sneachda  in the background.

A snowboarder takes advantage of the off piste conditions in Marquis Well

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sun shine and heavy snow showers.

Good snow cover above 800 metres.

Deep soft snow in places this was on a South aspect above 1000m

Heavy snow showers from the North

Good snow for skiing especially at plateau level.

Here comes another heavy shower

Riming on the snow fences

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Diminishing snowpack

West side of Cairngorm
Main accumulations are on South, West and North-West aspects.  Although thawing its still knee to thigh deep in places.


The boulder fields are a bit tricky... if you stand on the surrounding snow it's so soft you can easily fall in up to your oxters 

Doesn't look like much but remember the boulder fields!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Is there any snow left?

Yesterday's thaw has had a big impact at lower altitudes

However; still quite wintry at plateau level 

Also on Westerly aspects above 950 metres.  

Patches of snow still knee to thigh deep with a breakable crust!  Skis recommended  higher up

Friday, April 06, 2012

Thawing snowpack

Looking down the ski area from the West aspect of Coronation wall.
Soft thawing snow at all levels, still deep in many places but no base underneath.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Whiteout !

Rime Ice - the only view !

An t Aonach ridge - view to spey valley from below cloud
Snowpack is slowly consolidating but remains deep in many places with hard going underfoot, knee to thigh deep !!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Deep Snow

Remaining cold on the tops.  Deep snow in many areas which presented difficult trail breaking, waist deep in places,  requiring some crawling and 'thinking light' action at times!

Looking toward Loch Etchachan

Looking across the Cairngorm Plateau toward Macdui

South side of Cairngorm

A pair Ptarmigan still wearing some winter  clothes on the plateau

A pair ascending to the summit of Sneachda

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Winter returns!

A real shock return to the depths of winter after the sunshine and warmth of last week, with bitterly cold, strong NE winds and heavy drifting snow; deep accumulations of unconsolidated snow lie on all lee aspects, are often knee to thigh deep and present hard going. Stability wise, the snow is lying on bare ground generally,  the snow was soft and loose when it first fell , this has since been covered by a harder slab of snow which currently presents an unstable snowpack situation, especially on slopes of any steepness and which are convex in shape.
Loch Morlich, Aviemore and the Spey Valley from ski road

A glimpse of Coire an t Sneachda from windy col 

Fragile cornices overhanging N facing cliffs

Cairngorm and Northern Corries

Coire Lochain from Glenmore

Conditions at the summit weather station on Cairngorm