/ Weather advice for a newby
I'm trying to get my head around the weather reports but I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Obviously I know to avoid things like heavy rain/ thunderstorms etc, but it's things like gauging snow conditions from reports that I'm a bit confused by. This might found like a bit of a stupid question really but I'm never afraid of asking really!
For example weather reports for fort William predict heavy rain tomorrow but a fair weekend, some snow fall on sat night, heavy winds throughout. Is it worth a trip up or just wait?
I just don't want to make the trip up there and not be able to climb or enjoy the climbing due to bad conditions.
Can you navigate, self arrest, walk using crampons and have your winter hill craft sorted? If not, forget climbing.
Yeah it's a big jump. Though as you say good thing you're not afraid of asking. :)
It's a big jump almost to the point the two activities are completely unrelated. Go climb a few mountains first to get some experience without even worrying about the climbing. There's a lot to consider and a lot of gear you need. Gear you'll need: stiff boots, waterproofs (trousers and jacket), gloves and maybe spares, axe, crampons, map and compass. I'm sure there's more. Learn the map and compass until you can do it without thinking. This can be practiced at/near home. Good to get it nailed before using it in extremis...
Also ask, can you place gear, set up belays, make a decent judgment of the avalanche hazard (SAIS.org.uk can help with this one). At this time of year the weather affects where the snow lies and how susceptible it is to avalanche.
So you can imagine it bears essentially no relation to the indoor wall. Remember that many winter routes are a 3000-foot-high walk with climbing in the middle so I'd suggest learn to get up and down mountains safely first.
Yes definatly, the wind direction can blow snow about and windblown snow setting on leeward slopes can be a really serious risk so apart from the type of route to consider there is also the walk in and out to consider. 'Roadside' fun mountains like the buachaille have taken clambers lives as it has a descent route that is very avalanche prone. Take care out there and consider hooking up with someone a little more experienced
If i was to be starting out again, knowing what i know now, i wouldn't hesitate in getting a guide for a few days.
Right ok thanks for the replies.
I've done a few mountain/ hill climbs over the summer like snowdon and a few round the Peak District, and the sandstone trail around Frodsham. Like I said nothing serious.
I've done navigational stuff with the cadets and still understand maps and compass use. Obviously this could all be refreshed.
I've looked into a few courses and thinking about a weekend course to go over the basics, glenmore lodge courses look good and they include accommodation and full board.
I'm not naive about the climbing I just wanted to gain some advice off forum members.
A bit of background info helps a lot. Indoor to winter mountaineering is a big jump but you're already part the way through that process.
I think at your present level a winter mountaineering course is the perfect thing. I speak from experience that serious tuition or guiding might be the best way to learn if you've got the cash. There's nothing like knowing the definitive way it's done rather than making it up and having a close-shave-death-fest up something.
Like I say, it's not the climbing that is the issue. It's the hill craft. Glenmore Lodge is a good place to learn that.
If you go on a winter skills course you still need to find some partners after you finish it. Better to find a partner first and skip the course (spend the £250 on climbing.) You can find partners at your local wall, (put a note up,) a local mountaineering club, or sticking a post on UKC (put up a profile.) If you find someone that knows what they are doing, be keen and enthusiastic and you will wear them down until they take you out, or introduce you to someone who will.
> I'm trying to get my head around the weather reports but I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Obviously I know to avoid things like heavy rain/ thunderstorms etc, but it's things like gauging snow conditions from reports that I'm a bit confused by. This might found like a bit of a stupid question really but I'm never afraid of asking really!
I was going to try to answer you point by point, but I think most stuff is covered here: http://www.gumclub.co.uk/safety-and-skills (apologies if some of the links don't work.) If that doesn't help, keep asking!
If you're going out solo in winter with little experience you'd at least be advised to pick a day of good weather. Doesn't look like this weekend would be a good time for the first time.
Put the pipe down and take a look at yourself will ya?
> For example weather reports for fort William predict heavy rain tomorrow but a fair weekend, some snow fall on sat night, heavy winds throughout. Is it worth a trip up or just wait?
This may be obvious, but the weather 3-4000ft up a hill will be much worse than that at sea level in ft william.
There are many routes to winterclimbing/mountaineering. Find an experienced partner, join a club, learn as you go with a friend, go on a course. If you can get on a conville course, that is a good start. Winter hillwalking gets you in the hills in changeable conditions, gets you fit and teaches you to survive.
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