Monday, 23 January 2012

Glencoe conditions update (posted by James)

Fresh snow on The Aonach Eagach this morning

I walked up into Coire nam Beith this morning with the intention of trying to climb one of the buttress routes. Unluckily for me I'd been beaten to my route of choice by another team, and the other ones didn't look too appealing to solo, so I decided to leave it and come back another day.

Fresh snow has been falling in heavy showers over the last two days in Glencoe on the higher tops, and a drop in temperature last night has given a new snowline down to 500m this morning. It's not a big dump of snow but there's been a fair amount of drifting going on and above about 700-800m there's quite a bit of fresh powder.

In Coire nam Beith the turf wasn't frozen very well at the base of the routes and although there's a fair bit of ice around on the rocks it was all dripping and very rotten.

Due to the wind direction there's been quite a lot of winslab deposited on North through to Easterly slopes so the avalanche risk has been bumped up. The easier gullies will probably be quite hard going and not a great idea until it settles down a bit.

However the mixed climbs on the higher crags might be very good indeed now - Church Door Buttress on Bidean nam Bian was looking very iced up this morning, and I know that "Spectre" (IV,5) on Stob Coire nan Lochan was successfully climbed yesterday.

An t-Sron this morning

All the classic mountaineering ridges (Aonach Eagach, Curved Ridge, Sron na Lairig) all have a healthy coating of snow but may be hard going as most of it is new and unconsolidated.

So overall not looking bad at all, and if the forecast thaw on wednesday doesn't do too much damage, then the high pressure promised for next week might do just the trick.


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