/ The thaw

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
tomjagger - on 03 Jan 2013
From what I can gather the whole of scotland will pretty much be stripped by next week, how unusual is it for a thaw like this to happen, this time of year?
Milesy - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger:

the norm.
Dave Kerr - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger:

It's quite common.

Gorms is holding up pretty well so far although that might change if we get rain or the thaw continues for more than 4 or 5 days.
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Milesy:
Its very common for a heavy thaw sometime around mid december isn't it and I can think of a few years that it's thawed heavily after some climbing around xmas new year time. Does seem to be going on a bit though this one. I cant imagine all the gullies and snow fields high on the ben are going to go back to zero though, there was a good build up right? And lets face it mixed routes often come in to condition very quickly with a cold snap.
Jamie B - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger:

> how unusual is it for a thaw like this to happen, this time of year?

I don't know, if only there was a website that told me what the prospects are?

jhw - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

Heh...
AlH - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: There was an adequate build up and a lot of ice around. However there were still lots of rocks showing through in Coire na Ciste. It all depends how much rain we get with this thaw. Today was a lot drier than yesterday which was drizzly rather than some of the downpours we've had here recently. The Cairngorms sound to be fairing better with some turf exposed today reported as frozen.
Jamie B - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH:

> The Cairngorms sound to be fairing better with some turf exposed today reported as frozen.

Surprised at that; were there folk climbing?

AlH - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: On easy gullys! Also seen a bare boots (no crampons) pic of climbers on Fingers Ridge today.
prog99 on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
I was on the plateau above glen feshie today and it was a lot more solid than I was expecting with great walking conditions and the exposed turf was indeed frozen. Softened up in the afternoon.
A very cold wind which may have helped?
Dave Kerr - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Mike_Watson_99:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead)
> I was on the plateau above glen feshie today and it was a lot more solid than I was expecting

I too was pretty surprised by how solid the snow was on Cairngorm even quite low down in Coire na Ciste. Made for quite unpleasant skiing.
AlH - on 03 Jan 2013
Jamie B - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH:

I've seen worse at this time of year - I'm sticking with the "judge in April" polemic!
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: aye thats some pretty major melting going on there :(
Scott_vzr on 03 Jan 2013
If you look at Winterhighlands PUBLIC REPORTS from today on Nevis Range, you will see the coverage and a wee peek at the NE Face of Nevis itself.

http://www.winterhighland.info/publicreports/
Only a hill - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger:
I've only been climbing for a few years but have seen several major thaws like this before. Good conditions always return!
Only a hill - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
P.S. I'd like good conditions in about 2 weeks if anyone can arrange them...
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Only a hill: the best late season year ive seen on the Ben was about 5 or so years back and it had majorly thawed around now, hardly any other venues in scotland came in that year. however march and april were stonking on the ben, fat ice everwhere even on many of the thin ice routes and very settled weather, the next year was similar and nearly as good as well.
Wainers44 - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: do you think it would still be worth an early morning walk up into one of the N Corries tomorrow? We were hoping to something nice and straightforward (I/II) on the last day of our trip up here. Any ideas?? Thanks
AlH - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: There is still quite a bit of ice around. From the horses mouth (or James Thacker's anyway) yesterday on Ben Nevis and today in the Cairngorms- http://audioboo.fm/boos/1139819-scottish-winter-3-1-2013
ads.ukclimbing.com
AlH - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Wainers44: From James's report today you've a good chance. Add this http://saisncairngorms.blogspot.co.uk and this http://www.sais.gov.uk/page_northern%20cairngorms.asp and it sounds worthwhile for you.
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: although sais are saying with the temp inversion it could be as high as 12 degrees on the tops tomorrow.
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: i was going to suggest an early start but its 6 degrees on top now! http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/weather/maps/city?3&TIME=std&LANG=en&WMO=03065&ART=te...

The forecast is for 55 mph but as im sure you will have done ive gone out before on those forecasts and got much calmer conditions (and other times proper hardcore wind that blows you over when it gusts).

To the OP if you want to go i'd start by getting up and checking the wind and temp on the weather station and have a backup plan of a lower level walk.
Wainers44 - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: thanks for those. Looking across the Corries from the walk into the Challamain Gap there looked to be plenty of snow, I wasn't sure if somthing like Central Gully would still be ok. From the info on those links it looks likely to be alright.

Nice to getthanks again
James Thacker - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH: Cheers Al. Having driven over from Fort William this morning I was pleasantly surprised, I thought it would be much worse in the Sneachda. It's not exactly vintage condition but there is plenty to do in the I/II maybe III bracket.

In reply to Wainers44: I would avoid the Red Gully area in thawing conditions, it's quite loose. Would imagine that the Runnel is good, Fiacaill Couloir will be ok at a guess...
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Wainers44:
check the link i posted. MET says aviemore 8 deg and in the last few hours tops rising currently to 6 deg, doesnt look like any major temp inversion (hut temp at 760 m) roughly 6 deg. Likely all the neve is turning to mush / spring snow. It maybe better walking than being in a gully if the situation is the same tomorrow morning. If the sais weather prediction is right of 12 degrees on tops you may be wise to avoid being under cornices for long periods, gullies can be especially vulnerable to this.
Wainers44 - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Trying to check this on the phone means I can't seem to open some links (and more poor spelling in my posts than normal!).

It's the dilema us foreigners often have...very rare trip this far north, less than ideal conditions and only one day left. Of course though one poor climb is not worth taking an unreasonable risk for. I think we will take an early walk up for a look and check the weatherstation too.

There are worse places to have breakfast even if a climb isn't on :)

Advice all much appreciated!
jhw - on 03 Jan 2013
Do we think there will be enough to ski on up on the Cairngorm plateau?
Cuthbert on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to jhw:

Yes.
Kevin Rutherford - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to jhw: Climbed in Sneachtda today. Still alot of very firm snow around, crampons required on any ground off horizontal even walking out just before 4pm. Still great snow cover on the plateau looking over towards Macdui but again icy in places. Very surprised considering forecast that was given and the so called thaw. Buttresses are stripped, gullies still ok, Mirror Direct had a few ascents but had a bit of a mini waterfall on the right hand side. Hopefully we ve had the so called thaw.....
Kevin Rutherford - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: 2 droopy cornices still remain above Central Gully area....
CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Ecosse Mountains: 60 mph winds with 100 mph gusts on the weather station just now.
drunken monkey - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Was 12c at 7am driving into Aberdeen this morning.
jhw - on 04 Jan 2013
Jetstream forecast currently suggesting warm through next week until Friday

http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=jetstream;sess=

CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to jhw:
well jet stream wind speed and warm are a little different.

unisys saying colder from weds.
http://weather.unisys.com/gfsx/gfsx.php?inv=0&plot=850&region=eu&t=9p
jhw - on 04 Jan 2013
Schwing! Thanks CS, helpful link. Please keep the reports from on the ground coming people, they're much appreciated :)
george mc - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to jhw:

Does look to be getting colder from next week and looks set to stay cold - well as much as weather outlooks are accurate - still least it is saying cold...
http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten/fsavneur.html
rossn - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger: I couldnt believe this but I found a small caterpillar outside yesterday and its 14 degrees here in the north east of Scotland. To me thats just not right.

RN
CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
Dave Kerr - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to tomjagger:

Still lots more snow on Cairngorm than at this point last year.

I was up again today. All the easy gullies seeing action in Sneachta. Team in Red Gully but it looked a bit black and drippy
AlH - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: I've just seen primroses in bloom on the west!!!!
Dave Kerr - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr) I've just seen primroses in bloom on the west!!!!

Did you write a poem?

AlH - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: Yes. 'An ode to rain' It goes like this.
"F@*k off Rain"
Wainers44 - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: well we did get there for first light and climbed to the base of Jacobs Ladder in fairly soft snow. I had clearly eaten too many pies judging by the number of times I broke the surface and sank!!

At the base of the route we found a big gap opening up as the slope sagged away from the base of M o P. Our judgement based on no knowledge of the route was that this could be a clue as to the condition of the cornice, so we decided to leave it and traverse left and then climb out....to find the wind as gusty as expected....I am sure the route was fine though and we saw at least 3 other teams climb it ok. Ah well, next time!

We walked back up there with the dog in the afternoon and although the melt was ongoing the snow cover still looked pretty good.

Well done to all who did get a route done today.
Joe G - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to jhw:
> Schwing! Thanks CS, helpful link. Please keep the reports from on the ground coming people, they're much appreciated :)

Well seeing as you asked, I had a wee wander up the Fiacaill Ridge this afternoon, lovely day, great views, not bad snow cover for May... aye it would appear that a lot of snow has decided to go on a jaunt to the seaside.

The easy gullies are still fairly well banked out and I passed a bloke topping out of one of the Trident gullies, but didn't stop to ask how it was. I saw someone else heading up the steepish ground by the Goat Track while I was on the ridge and I could see their legs which would suggest that they weren't sinking in up to their crotch. Mind you, I was glad to be on the warm dry granite of the ridge!
CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Wainers44: yeah it got a bit colder overnight but still above freezing and didnt warm up until 2 ish. Its your judgement call to if it would have been safe enough / worth it or not. Personally the cornices wouldnt have been worrying me too much within several degrees of freezing given they would likely have gone through quite a bit of freeze thaw already so an early morning assent may have been fine. That said conditions didnt sound stella and winters a numbers game, the more risk you take the greater chance of getting bitten. The gully will be there next time!
CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Wainers44: the thing to remember imo is getting away with something doesnt justify its safety as a regular practice, unfortunately its the typical pattern of human learning, if it works most people tend to think you can try it again.
Kevin Rutherford - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:Aye missed this, too early for me, having lie in as i was OUT on the hill yesterday...
CurlyStevo - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Ecosse Mountains: yeah problem with scotland is now i dont live there i cant take random days off and maximise conditions and weather, the alps are becoming more and more attractive after a great summer trip and the hope of catching cogne in good nick in the near future!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.