Friday, 27 November 2009

This could be it!

For two days now, near-incessant rain at glen level has been dumping large quantities of fresh snow on the mountains. The Upper Tier of Aonach Dubh's West Face is currently holding some snow in the scoops and gullies, but buttresses seem to be largely bare; above this, Stob Coire nan Lochan is shining uniform white.

Although I have not yet been to check for myself, I anticipate that most of this snow will be damp up to around 900m, and above this it will likely be poorly-bonded and deep in places. I have heard reports of unstable new cornices. Although the wind has slackened off considerably at valley level, it has still been strong at times on the hills, which will be depositing windslab onto lee slopes--probably in quite large amounts.

The saturated ground underneath this snowpack, combined with an increasingly prolonged period of sub-freezing conditions on highest levels, will be gradually improving conditions underfoot. However, I think it is safe to say that few winter climbs will be in condition in Glen Coe at the moment, and care will be needed for all mountain travel, with the burns in spate and potentially large areas of unstable snow conditions. It's worth bearing in mind that the Scottish Avalanche Information Service does not start broadcasting avalanche assessments until the 1st of December, so until that happens we are on our own in terms of avalanche forecasting.

Given the high pressure zone and deep freeze we are hoping for over the weekend, there is a fair chance some climbing conditions might materialise early next week. I am planning on getting up onto Bidean on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to see what is going on.

1 comment:

  1. I was on a Corbett behind Dalwhinnie today. Lots of wet snow - knee deep from about 775m.