/ Lochnagar conditions? 2013

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masa-alpin - on 26 Mar 2013
I am wondering if any one has any idea about the conditions (both climbing and walk-in) in Lochnagar at the moment and towards Easter this year 2013.
No climbing is recorded in the UKC logbook in the past week...
Is the road open and accessible by car to the carpark?
What is the walk-in like? Maybe ski-in is better? Or is to too bare to ski in?
Is there any convenient site to make snow-holes up there?
Any information is greatly appreciated!
Masa
Lamb - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: We optimistically plodded in on Sunday 17th, a wee while after the easterly storms started, it took us 3 hours to get up to the Meikle Pap and we were on the compass as well! The storm has been relentless since then. There will be deep deep drifts the whole way up, you will be able to ski tour the whole way up the land rover track, possibly up to the Meikle Pap but not so sure (big boulder field).
Cliffs will be completely roughcasted, there is no doubt about that, accessing routes will be an issue. Although current SAIS forecast suggests routes North of Douglas Gibson may be slightly safer prospects access wise. Would take it easy though.
There are no obvious snow hole locations, probably be some deep drifts on the West side of the Pap but they will all be fresh deposits. There are a couple howffs but they will be completely buried. Best staying down in the car park, or even better in Ballater - there's a cracking bunkhouse beside the Alexandra Hotel.
Not sure on state of play with road. Would give Grampian's finest a buzz and they should be able to tell you.
Lamb - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: mate has been up today. Reporting knee deep snow at the visitors centre and that's not even drifts. Will be a long walk up the hill!
masa-alpin - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Lamb: Thank you very much for your extremely valuable info, Lamb! Given the past history of weather, the amount of snow is hardly surprising. Good news is there is hardly any snowfall this week since Monday. Is it too optimistic to think the snow may get a bit more consolidated by Friday? The temperature has been continuously freezing for past days apparently, and in that sense will it be still powdery?
Hmm. Difficult to judge. Anyway, if we go, I think we are going to camp. Walk-in and out for consecutive days, taking over 6(?) hours each day just to walk, seem to be too laborious...
Any further update and/or info is appreciated - any one?
Thank you!
Masa
CurlyStevo - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
Lochnagar is generally lower humidity than the west coast hills and normally takes even longer to consolidate without freeze thaw. If there has been no thaw it will not have consolidated much at all in a week. The snow will still be drifting, don't underestimate how hard the walkin is in these conditions, I too walked in one morning in similar conditions, ended up turning around at the Pap knackered at mid day! (the drive too had been a nightmare and the access road often drifts over so be careful!)

Have you considered mid to low level ice venues like Beinn Udlaidh, Eas Anie, Sgurr Finnisg-aig etc. Glen Clova may also be an option.
Lamb - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Nah, it is snowing on and off everyday up here in Aberdeen, same out Deeside, just keeps rolling in off the North Sea. Woke up to another good covering this morning in the town centre.
Don't expected consolidation, still very cold up there, about -5 to -6 at 900m everyday with constant flurries and winds.
Fair play if you plod all the way up into the corrie with a tent and what not, make no mistake it will be hard graft. You'll no doubt be doing a lot of digging on routes too.
masa-alpin - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Thank you very much, CurlyStevo and Lamb! The comments based on local knowledges are most valuable!
So, it seems the walk-in is likely to be hell and the conditions of routes won't be nice...
We have decided to give Lochnagar a miss this Easter. I think we will head to North East, maybe dropping by Udlaidh etc on our way.
Looking at the current snowy conditions, hopefully I will have a chance to visit Lochnagar in April!
Thanks again, Masa
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Lamb - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Some lads walked up to the Pap yesterday and thought the better of it and headed back down. Think west is best atm (although I'm not in the loop with conditions out west!).

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