/ Snowdonia Winter Conditions
Yeah there was a pretty nasty looking hailstorm in Llanberis yesterday. Fortunately I was hiding inside in the Slate Museum!
The speculation is part of the fun. Anyway winter conditions could have come and gone before anyone has time to post.
Is it really that much ofa problem to you. It's nice that it has snowed!
Is snow dusting a tool within photoshop?
Can it be made more permanent by the time of the Chilli Bash weekend(10d or so)?
Give me a call anyway as I may be over then, and I may want to catch up over a beer(cider in your case?).
No, we can't, I've waited years to be the one to start this thread! Snow has fallen so it's game on. I predict some very wintery looking mountains by the end of next week :)
Thanks, i think i'll go mountain biking!
And that webcam link is ace
Iv just done LH Parsley Fern & LH Trinity today. It was poor conditions. Snow line starts bottom of Parsley. Turf wasn't frozen. Axe placement pulled out a metre sq of crumbling ice/melt. Moved onto the Parsley ridge direct! Which was fun and a bit sketchy soloing & given it was thin. Last 200 metres was good.
LH Trinity was much of the same. I think we sent most of the route down. Last 300m was good! Someone else was on Central. It was -1 on top at 1pm in the sun.
Eastern Traverse on black ladders might be a bit of fun this weekend but don't come out expecting to get a route just yet.
Will try and update my blog with pics later.
Climbing unfrozen routes isn't cool by the way......
Either a troll or a very very naughty (and possibly stupid) boy. You will be in a lot of trouble any minute now.....
Not big or clever.
I could say more ...... But I won't
Nice one Andy, it's become a bit of an institution so good to see it back :)
Thank you. I can understand the deliberating but welcome back and let's hope things work out well.
Ruining lines before they're even in...
Perhaps you need to learn a bit more about winter conditions and ethics.
Good to hear you're back Andy. I really appreciate the time you spend in compiling your blog. Living 200 miles away from the Welsh mountains its been v helpful to have your conditions reports to judge whether its worth making the long journey. Hope to bump into you on the hills one day.
Well stupidly left the axes and crampons in the car could have really done with them for the top 400 to 500 ft very icy up there yesterday (Crib Goch)
Did exactly the same thing last year and ended up cutting steps with the axe. Didn't look like there was anything up there from the bottom.
I was out this morning. Went up Y Gribin Ridge onto the Glyders. Some snow cover and even patches of ice on the ridge, but I didn't use crampons or an axe. Then went for a poke around at the head of Cwm Cneifion with the†Intention of dropping down and coming back up Hidden Gully, but snow was unconsolidated on top of unfrozen soft turf, so unfortunately had to give it a miss :-(
Will put some pics on blog later.†
well it was great conditions for fell running on the carneddau this weekend. Passed a few surprised walkers with crampons on at the top of Pen yr ole wen, but it was a tad slippery coming down Carnedd Llywelyn to pen yr helgi Ddu :)
Andy its great to have you back. I have always appreciated what your contributions made to those of us who appreciate the genuine view of someboby who is often there on the spot.
ha haaa - must have done the same route! needed the axe off Llewelyn but picked up some kicked in steps which helped!
pics here on the blog: http://sarzmountainrun.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/carneddau-snow-run.html
great photos, i didnt bother with a camera as I thought it was going to be dull!
I did see some running shoe prints on the way up PYOW - walshes or similar?
Yeah I could have done with an axe off Llywelyn too, was a tad icy but fun :)
PyB weather page claims snow and ice patches on Snowdon, recommends axe and crampons?
How true is that?
I plan to come this week-end and try to keep my snow expectations as low as possible to avoid disappointment but I am human and get a little bit excited every time I see freezing levels descending around 600m.
I can't see Snowdon at the moment as it's in cloud but it looked snow free the other day and we haven't had any precipitation so you may be out of luck! :(
Ah the nasty liars :). Thanks for the info. I guess I can live without snow. I think...
Take a look at the snow forecast for Snowdon this week. You might want to change your view with rain, snow and freezing temps forecast.
I also need to change my pants now
The conditions at the northern/western end of the Glyders on Saturday:
Snowdon looked fairly snow-free, but couldn't see to the usual troublesome areas on the PYG etc.
Am off to London for a few days at the end of this week so I fully expect North Wales to turn into Rjukan in my absence...
Glad to hear you back Andy - let's hope the weather this season gives you something to blog about
See you on the Hill.
Have we given up guys...or can someone post some hopeful comments?
Not looking for classic routes in nick...just whether the mountains might have half decent winter coats on in the next few days.
The hills are certainly white higher up and looks 'wintery'. Im in Bethesda and look towards the Carneddau and Ogwen. Pretty mixed up weather on the cards with up and down freezing level. Looking colder next week. @WelshWinter has regular updates.
Well Nick you started this thread a while ago,rather optimistically,but your hope did not come to fruition.
Is it going to be better next week?
I'm wondering whether to head over for New Year's eve after working during the day.
I had a bit of fun in Scotland last weekend and on Sunday went over GlenShee from Braemar with difficulty only to get stopped by the snow gates on the Spittal side!Luckily I found the farmer who had keys.He said that the gates should have been shut on the Braemar side too.Luckily my old Renault Kangoo van got me over,although I had kit for the opposite possibility(shovel,flask,food,sleeping bags extra clothes and full tank and optimism).
So is Wales a go for fun next week?
A new dusting of snow down to about 500m this afternoon on westward slopes of Carneddau etc.
Anyone in SE Wales? I was looking down that way from a hill in Worcestershire just a couple of hours ago and pretty certain I could see white on the hills down that way - Black Mountains I guess?
Out on Cadar Idris today, light snow down to about 600m, about 3-4 inches higher up, all soft. Enough to make route finding a bit awkward as paths covered but "not a lot" to quote Paul Daniels.
Yeah, there's snow down here - a good dump down on the high hills and lighter stuff down as far as road level. We were a foot deep in drifts on Pen y Fan today and Mynydd Du (western hills) looked impressively white. However, the ground isn't properly cold, and unless tonight's stuff comes down white, it's going to wash much of it away.
Ta mate...watching weather for w/e and early next week
Heading up with the family for a few days, anyone got an idea of latest conditions. Webcams aren't very clear today.
Likely to be icy high up and in all likelihood would ideally need some form of spiked footgear on the standard routes up Snowdon. Not been up but from what I can see on webcams, from past experience and reading between the lines...hopefully someone will post some actual observed conditions.
Does anybody know if routes on The Trinity Face are likely to be in condition this weekend? It's hard to tell for sure from the webcams, but looks like a fair bit of snow has been stripped in the past 24 hours. Cheers.
It's depressing watching. One week for perfect conditions to form... not gonna happen :(
Most of the snow thst was about has now been stripped by heavy rain and wind, the ground is generally soft and nowhere near frozen, any lingering snow is nothing more than slush really and the only ice is on frozen puddles. Take your waterproof and go for a walk instead!
Thanks for that info Neil. Very frustrating isn't it? I'm not going to waste a load of petrol going up there now. Fingers crossed for a cold snap and some decent conditions soon.
I can see Banana Gully on the webcam!
Ironically, the front page of UKC just offered me 'Top tips to beat the heat'
Very frustrating indeed but looks like we will all just have to be a bit more patient! I saw the webcam yesterday but on closer inspection today it really isnt anywhere near reasonable condition. Best to sit infront of the fire, read the next chapter of the book you got for Christmas and maybe pour yourself another glass of single malt
I think very lean conditions would mean lots of loose stuff on the routes up Trinity. I wouldn't venture on if it wasn't properly frozen
I'm thinking of going for a walk/scramble tomorrow so would be very interested to hear from anyone up there today. The freezing level is meant to be below the summits, but has any snow come down and stayed? Or any hoar on the rocks? Or is it just some icy puddles but bare ground. Having decided what route to do yet.
walked today up Pen yr Olwen allong ridges to drop down reservoir road back into valley by Gwern gof Isaf and there was snow on tops but no need for axe or crampon just WARM clothing
We were thinking of heading into the Beacons tomorrow (Sunday) in the vain hope that there may be a bit of snow left ...does anywhere out there look promising?
Up on the Carneddau today. Frozen hard on the tops with snow cover above 850-900 metres. Nothing climbable anywhere I could see but definitely winter walking with plenty of surface ice up there.
Are the rocks getting rimed at all Simon?
Good to see that you are still getting out and about. Thought you'd be working Sunday!
Did you need crampons?
Look out for Wendy R and myself tomorrow. We planning Carneddau but possibly in Betws later on.
No snow on the beacons at present.
Yes but only on the summits!
Identify yourself, friend - don't recognise your username! I was up there on Saturday and yes I am working today.
We carried crampons but didn't use them as all the ice was avoidable on the ridge tops. I'd recommend going prepared though.
Snowdon today via y gribin. Used Campons for the top of the Watkins path and descending the zig zags (pyg track).
Went up cneifion arÍte today. Perfect summer climbing conditions, but a bit colder! Fair bit of unconsolidated snow going in gribin ridge and very verglased rock at the top and across the glyders. Put crampons on for part of the descent to the top of devils kitchen- doable without but definitely easier with.
Went from the Cromlech boulders up to the North Ridge of Grib Goch - at the top the rock was rather verglased and when that was under snow you needed to be careful. Oddly on the summit of Grib Goch and along the main ridge the wind seemed to be melting the verglas so it was snowy and there was plenty of hoaring on Crib Y Ddysgl but it wasn't too slippy when standing on the rocks. From Crib Y Ddysgl onto Snowdon it was rather snowy with some hard patches, but dropping down to the col on the Watkins path you were out of the snow, and it was very snowy going over Lliwedd. I guess everything is melting tonight though according to the forecast.
I used crampons and an axe for some of it which seemed a good idea but was very much in the minority. Approach shoes, jeans and even shorts in one case seemed popular!
Well I've lost hope of any chance of decent winter climbing weather by the weekend, but do people think it'll be a good weekend for some winter hillwalking around Snowdonia?
Didn't make it down this weekend, was feeling a bit ill yesterday and couldn't contemplate the long drive over.
Is there any end in sight to this crappy weather? It's getting me down now
Bit of very wet snow on the tops today.
There was a surprising amount of snow on top of the Carneddau on Thursday. From about 650m the depth increases with height to give a good covering above 800m. This fell Weds/Thurs night. The forcast suggests warmer temperatures (rising +3 @ 1000m) and more rain.
I was out on the Glyders yesterday. Good snow cover from 700m. Forecast looks good for saturday, cold and clear. More wintry showers in between. Reckon it'll be fairly wintry for a walk.
Presumably it's melted now as the webcams show nothing but rain.
ive not seen any snow on there the last few days, nothing but dreary warm rain and wind.
My mate who's an MIC has just got back from taking two clients up Carnedd Llewelyn. He says there's a fair bit of snow right on the summit but it's very slushy and they didn't bother putting crampons on at all.It's also absolutely pissing it down at the moment!
With rain that is, not snow.
I was out on Crib Lem. Have popped in on the blog.
Did Southern Carneddau circuit on Sat. Lots of fresh hail above 600m, snow started at 700m. Snow was 5-10" deep along the crest of the ridge, soft and didn't need crampons. No ice around and nothing climbable in Cwm Lloer, Black Ladders, Ffynion Llyffant (although more snow in the latter). Nevertheless, a lovely winter walk, swirling cloud and brocken spectres, and tops cleared by mid-pm. Frosty night on Sat but by mid Sun pm the snow level looked to have risen to over 800m.
its a very thin covering above about 600m dont get too excited, but its a start, although with heavy rain forecast for the next few days I dont think it will last
Please don't ruin it for me :(
Freezing level is forecast above the summits until Monday at least. This is getting boring now. It needs to be winter!
Time to go north of The Wall I think...
I hate to be a downer, but I don't think it will happen - I know its early, but the weather pattern (i.e. the jet stream) just isn't right for a good old continental sourced high and the associated freeze :(
Remember last March? It's only mid January! Having said that, there was only one winter weekend in 2011/12 as I recall...
Well yeah, but the prevailing conditions were right - stuff had already been in (late Jan) without much warming in the interim - so cold groundwater et al. were all there ready to form ice with a little cold snap.
This year I've barely seen a hard frost - like I said above, the jetstream just hasn't settled in the right place for a cold winter.
And lest we all forget - good welsh winter conditions is not the most common of beasts! I think its time to stock up on petrol and head north.
Anything going on, anything at all?
Not looking good from the webcams http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Snowdon/webcams/latest
More snow on the way over the weekend until Monday. Not a lot. But it's a waiting game
Had a great hillwalking day on Sunday. Lots of people out and about on Y Garn, clear skies and good views, snow was pretty thin.
If you're waiting for good winter climbing conditions you may be waiting a while but there are still good days out to be had walking.
Approaching the summit of Y Garn on Tuesday. Snowline started at the lake in the bowl below the summit. Snow got progressively deeper though was only above 1-2ft at max and the wind was horrendous, almost taking me and my friend off our feet at several points. Crampons and ice axe definitely required. Top was stupidly windy and everything was iced over. Cornice had formed along the summit. However, walk down another 100m or so and the snow abruptly ends and it was miserable with sideways rain, gusting around 60/70mph. Still no proper winter.
I think what you've described *is* proper winter!
Does this entire thread qualify as an oxymoron?
It had all melted this afternoon on Y Garn (Glyderau) bar the remnants of the cornice.
Looks like lots of snow forecast for next weekend...
With winter looking like finally starting - hurrah! a quick report on conditions in the Carneddau from Thurs 23rd for those who can get out in the next few days.
Light snow/ice covering above 800m, with hard wind packed snow/hoar frost on the summit plateau. The high cwm ( the highest in Wales ?)Ffynnon Llyffant below Carnedd Llewelyn was holding a reasonable amount of snow and the Grade I routes looked complete ( and will give a decent remote mountaineering day out with the new snow now falling) - beyond the top cornices there was nothing in the Pen yr Ole Wen gullies and the black ladders were black and lean
this does not seem to correlate with the elidir fach - snowdon webcam which shows only rain
edit - but fingers crossed MWIS does predict snow
It's pouring with rain right now in Capel Curig. I have no idea what it's doing higher up however.
Shit loads of snow in Scotland though so when the wind dies down it will be time to head up with the planks!
yeah i know ive been looking at buchaille webcams, very jealous. its just a long drive from north wales, was up over new years but v wet
Mainly dry with some brighter spells and light winds, but feeling much colder.
Generally good or moderate.
Patches above 400 metres at first, lifting to around 600 metres in the afternoon, this mainly in eastern parts of the area.
Maximum winds above 500m
Valleys: Minus 1 rising to Plus 5 Celsius
900 m: Minus 3 Celsius
Freezing level: Around 300 metres.''
Can anyone suggest a good grade 1 route in the Snowdon Group? I'm thinking the Snowdon Horseshoe ***(1), but would prefer more of a climb than scrambling.
central trinity, grade I/II but easy. and given the forecast I recon it should be in acceptable nick, if not on thurs then defo sun. I expect the trinity face on snowden will be the only place with any chance of climbs being climable, but im sure there will be plenty of wintry ridges
Well I have been working winter skills ion Wales for the past few weeks.
The base layer has been grauple, successive layers of wet snow, then thaw, sat on top has produced some deep drifts in the gullies, also cornices still exist, some of these, Black Ladders, have a good depth to them, however when inspected they had around 1.5m deep grauple layer sat on 2ft of wet snow, which was on top of a 1 inch ice layer, then another couple of inches of grapple not bonded to the ground.
Hasty pits released with ease, full depth.
Avalanche debris observed in Broad Gully, Cwm Lloer last week when the temps went up.
Some steep cornices on Y Garn, with very similar snow pack structure.
Head Wall Cwm Lloer had good neve at the exits in the bwlych, However, large areas of the neve slab had a 3 inch gap at the base level, so basically a shell that was not bonded to the slope, not safe.
Fresh wet snow on Monday evening and Tuesday, some windward S-SW facing slopes were quiet bare, lee slopes had a fair amount of fresh snow depth.
With temps set to be cooler today and tomorrow, then a rise in freezing level on Friday and then up and down in a high level thaw freeze cycle over the weekend, I personally would not be making my way up unstable wet snow filled gullies over the weekend.
All of the key warning signs that start alarm bells ringing in the heads of experienced winter mountaineers are there, this steers us to a safe objective for our work days and our days off.
Steep mixed routes good, Ridges good, but be aware of possible pockets of snow instability in deeper drift, low grade snow slopes and gullies not the greatest idea.
Next week looks to be very interesting, Unysis GSF model run has been spot on the last month for those who look at such things.
Opinion based on stated evidence and reasoning. I wonder if it signals a new trend on internet forums?
Good work, thanks.
An excellent update Mark, thanks! Had been considering Parsley Fern gully tomorrow but think I'll head up the Cyrn Las ridge now instead.
ive been looking foreward to parsley fern and ladies gulley this year
Mark, I was thinking of heading down there from here (Queensferry area) tomorrow. I see you are not far from me on the Wirral. If you want some company let me know.
Now that's a good idea Andy especially as I'd be heading right past you on the way there!
Has all the wintry weather knocked out the web-cams?
I wanted to see if Snowdon was getting snowed on.
Given the excellent snow report and what seems like a very sensible appraisal on likely gully conditions does anyone have an idea of the North ridge and Crib Goch conditions?
OVMRO put this on facebook this morning...
"Following last nights rescue on Tryfan it is important to say that full winter conditions exist above 700m with 20cm of firm snow / verglas / black ice. Be aware and more importantly be equipped for winter walking including axe & crampons"
Don't know any other details of the incident but it may be a handy indicator of conditions.
There seems to be some disagreement between the met office and mwis re: the amount of snow tomorrow. MWIS suggests a good dump of snow high up where as The Met Office describes largely a rain event. Any advance on this?
4pm this afternoon-Carnedd y Filiast/Elidir Fawr:
Everything rimed above 650m. 80-100mm of crusting snow above 820m.
Cloudbase 700m, but further east Capel Curig in grey murk. Very still.
Looks like the summary for the weekend is either get avalanched in a gully or blown off a ridge! MWIS forecasting 90mph gusts.
gotta love it when mwis says -
Walking very difficult from low level up; any mobility tortuous on higher areas. Severe wind chill.
Best stay in the low lands of the shire and drink cider then ;)
Hopefully this winter will pick up a bit. It was this time last year that I made my first venture up North for the season. Currently though, I'm not even considering South West rock, let alone winter climbing.
From the ground up it does look bare but I was surprised how much snow and ice there was on Wed night. Steps were easily kicked but you certainly needed an axe. Most of us ended up on our face at some point.
Becarefull looking at the webcam - N ridge is very ledgey so you might not see much snow/icw from on the ground. I checked just afetr you posted and the cloud was down to about 500m - might well have been snow above that!
I think very wintry conditions will be found on the hills this weekend. Combined with the weather it should be quite entertaining for those heading out! Stay safe folks!
Walked Crib Goch Thursday morning. Lower down there is solid neve from ~50m above where the trail splits from the Pyg Track. The top half of the ridge has unconsolidated and wet snow, giving way easily under-foot.
So my experience today I hoped the weather forecast wasn't as bad as predicted and try to safely get something done: - Thought after a partial thaw yesterday afternoon and subsequent refreeze that Parsley Fern may at least be safe enough to enable me to stretch my legs and try out new boots and crampons ahead of Scotland trip.. Parked in Llanberis Pass - (snow on the road at the top of Pen Y Pass BTW)- rain sheeting down in the pass and looking uninviting. On the approach the snow level started properly at about 500m, but still wet. Approaching upper Cwm Glas found me wading in deep powder trying to make out the start of Parsley Fern, as I found it to my horror there was a small Avalanche/snow slide coming down and it would have also been a wade. So I decided to climb the rib to the right to see how far I could get. Here conditions were better and the axe was biting into the snow/ice for the majority of the time. Looking down into Parsley Fern I saw the whole gully move again, again a small avalanche travelling down the gully, watching the whole gully moving (not spindrift). I kept on going on the higher rib with the wind picking up all the time (circa grade I/II ground). Eventually saw the cornice, it was pretty small and the 20m below was pretty hard neve. As I topped out looking for an easier way off - i.e. the Miners track the fun then started! Tried to head on a bearing, but almost impossible to walk in a straight line/if at all. Decided on heading up hill until it levelled off (Garnedd Ugain) and then head to the right to the finger stone. In summer this would have taken 10 mins, it took a lot longer and at a couple of points I was knocked off my feet and even transported by the wind - I have never known anything like it. Very relieved to see the finger stone, but even getting down here was not simple, the wind was so ferocious there was the risk of being thrown over the headwall which has built up down towards Glaslyn. So resorted to the tactic of digging two axes in, flat against the slope and moving whenever there was a brief lull in the wind down towards the diagonal direction where the path would be to get some shelter. Very relieved to be heading down relatively safely. No evidence of anyone else having made it up/down this way. The snow level continued all the way down to where the track levelled off and even here it was wet slush.
In summary feel quite humbled my nature after today and it has emphasised that getting off the mountain can sometimes be a lot harder than the actual climb/route up. It is most definitely winter high up in Snowdonia and when the wind dies down there should be some good climbing to be had, although a small thaw and refreeze would work wonders!
I don't suppose anyone has any suggestions for some easy winter climbing/scrambling tomorrow? I was thinking of heading up Cwm Cneifion and having a look at Hidden Gully but "bowls" has put me off with avalanche talk! Maybe something like Tryfan North ridge might be a bit safer? I haven't done much in winter before, so not after anything too exciting but it'd be fun to get the rope out
With regards to the 'Avalanche talk' comment am not suggesting that avalanche conditions were rife as they are currently in Scotland but it was disconcerting to see snow on two occasions sliding full length down the gully having no idea what the upper gully or cornice were holding. Either way it was enough for me to stay out of the gully
just been on a circuit above cwm lloer, Pen yr ole wen was iced up pretty nicely from about 100m below the summit onwards. Nice conditions today with a few strong gusts, pretty much bang on MWIS forecast.
Definately needed an ice axe or poles as a minimum, should have taken crampons too but opted for Yaktrax instead which made it more 'fun'.
The gullies in Cwm Lloer look like they may be in condition soon, has anyone been up for a reccy?
Good conditions in Cwm Cneifion today with several party's out. We did Tower Gully very enjoyable the ice bulge is just starting to form, then descended via Seniors Ridge and did Hidden Gully which is always a treat. All in all an unexpected great day. Hope these conditions continue
Was out in Cwm Glas late morning/early afternoon today. Followed some fresh tracks up Parsley Fern Gully. Some evidence of avalanche at the base of the gully (c.800m) but the snow was firm all the way up, perfect for kicking steps. Turf not frozen & not a lot of ice forming yet, so if you're after steeper routes you'll have to wait a while. Good ice & rime on the ground from 900m upwards: Crib Goch was lovely (& empty). A few teams visible on the gullies on the Trinity Face. At last winter has arrived!
I find this very odd - you watched two non-human triggered avalanches near you, but you say avalanche conditions weren't rife? Eeek! Wouldn't want to be ANYWHERE near the mountains when you judge them to be rife!
Had a similar experience on Saturday in the Cwm below Y Garn. We headed up a rib below a buttress and investigated snow conditions, but the gullies on either side of us were releasing and sliding a long way on strong gusts of wind. Not enough snow on the buttresses etc to be an avalanche risk on whole slopes, but the gullies were very much a no go area. (3-4'' of semi consolidated stuff on top of a thick layer of 'polystyrene ball' stuff - released at the slightest trigger)
We backed off, deciding the wind at the top would be pretty evil. Got knocked about a fair bit by it near Cwm Idwal - exciting but very wet and windy day out.
Avalanche debris at base of your route and you still went up, with temps rising and 1ft of snow in the preceding 24hrs, Ah well live and learn.
I enjoy the mountains all year round, more so in winter, however my awareness of what the past, current and forecast weather is finely tuned in and switched on, I have used the NIVO test as a way of coaching clients on the basics of being aware of avalanche risk to help stay well clear of it.
Its a great prompt for learning to be aware all the key factors that increase the risk of snow slides.
I would highly recommend everyone to do some homework, refresh and learn, there are plenty of interactive sites about, especially from the mainstream avalanche research institutes from Canada, Switzerland, France and the US.
Alarm bells ring for me when I see avalanche debris, it spells danger, it doesn't say " hey there is no more snow to slide on this slope or down this gully" it just says 'hey stay the hell away!" Perhaps its a slide from a steeper section midway up that firm snow slope route, perhaps the top cornices are just waiting to go as your making your way up.
Heading up that route with the debris at the bottom is basically wholly selfish, MRT members or others in the area will also be heading in to a danger zone to possibly dig your body out.
So please ladies and gents, don't ignore the danger signs, and if you don't know them, have a good look on the net or go on an awareness course, don't be ignorant to the danger.
Sorry if this seems heavy, it is, Rattles my cage to read that type of comment on here, never mind me having spent several years on MRT , I just don't like people not going home alive.
It only takes a few inches of moving snow on steep ground to take your feet and possibly your life.
Sorry for singling your post out Geoff b, but I feel strongly about your ignorance or lack of knowledge or basic disregard of a warning sign staring you in the face, don't become an accidental mountain death statistic.
Thank you for your pertinent words of caution. Rest assured that I gave it more than the scant regard you suggest. I didn't have the time to post a lengthy blog but will add a bit more as it seems sage to do so. Having many years of experience, recently attended an SAIS course on the latest research & precautions, as well as having more than a fair degree of caution, you'll be glad to know that I didn't just head off regardless of the risk. The last thing I want is my mates from the Llanberis MTR team digging my cold corpse out of the snow! The snow had clearly thawed to some extent since it fell the day before & had consequently frozen above 750m (the gully starts at c.800m) & what had avalanched was at least 24 hours old and well bonded to previous lower layers. I dug down in a number of places to check for snow layers & bonding and proceeded cautiously as it was clear the slope was more than stable enough. Contrary to your suggestion I'm not totally ignorant but equally I didn't make that clear! Your words of caution are indeed welcome.
All the best,
Was out on Craig Dafydd Sunday 2nd feb, soloing.
Firstly evidence of a very substantial avalanche in cwm glas bach, the whole area of pressumably wind slab above the trident face had slid the debree had got down as far as the top of the water slide at the start of the slog up to crib lem. This would have buried anyone there let alone swept them off the cliff.
Snow was exhausting and wouldn't hold weight till 800m or so, that said lots of snow ice high up and some exposed turf was very icy.
Attempted Goliath and fell from the crux (30ft up) into big drift as it dinner plated on me, shame as the higher gully looked much better.
So moved over to my own route 'Wayward Prong'and that was good sport and quite fat snow ice if a little soft in places.
More wet snow then a couple of days frost and things will be quite good
That must have been quite "substantial" to go that far!
Encountered remains of a biggie last Easter from rhs of the Ladders, similar aspect I think.
We traversed in to the top part of Banana Gully on Y Garn yesterday, just to escape the brutal wind! Snow was ok, followed steps up, probably from previous day.
Seems to have been a little more snow last night but off to the Beacon today...
Couple of shots here: https://www.facebook.com/jbmountainskills
Myself and a mate have just been out on Y Garn looking to climb one of the buttresses to the left of Banana Gully. Lots of fresh snow about. C Gully had recently avalanched and the debris had spewed out a good 40m from base of gully and was several feet deep, so had been substancial. As we stood there looking up we could see A Gully moving!
To be honest I still fancied getting on the buttress, but it would have been a case of floundering about on rock covered in a foot of fresh snow and hacking away at soft turf, so we retreated.
Sounds like some good skiing to be had soon! :-)
I was up on the Glyders on Sunday. Devil's kitchen full of slush but tops across Glyder Fawr and Fach were had a thick layer of ice on snow and verglas. Some big cornices up there and things appeared to be melting.
Don't want to put a damper on it but temperature was rising quickly in Ogwen this afternoon and snow cover disappearing qucikly on lower slopes. Tomorrows forecast with heavy rain and freezing level above summits is going to strip a lot of snow despite the depth on high east/north facing slopes. Typical Wales weather !!
RHS of ladders is a death trap for windslab avalanche esp if wind has any south or west in it, from Somme to well past icefall gully. 2 fatal incedents there 4 dead in late 80's early 90's. Was some debris there on sunday.
Did anybody get out yesterday? what was it like?
Or today? wondering if the gullies are generally an avalanching death trap or if they've firmed up a bit...
Planning to get out Tomorrow, probably in the Ogwen Valley if possible.
I know it's old news, but got out on Tuesday and they were an avalanching death trap (Central Trinity) with a hard, consolidated snowpack under a load of fresh unstable powder.
I did The Headwall today, didn't even put crampons on til about 200ft from the col, snow was pretty soft all the way, then walked to Daffydd summit, been here since monday night, had a big thaw wednesday as it pi$$ed down. Forecast for weekend looks horrible and im supposed to be here til sunday camping in my van.
Id bring wellies!!
There was some small patches of snow above halfway station they might be able to collect together to create a small run...
I was on Cader on Tuesday, not much snow but I managed to climb a small gully high up next to the foxes path. Today i was in Cwm Cneifion, snow above 700m, all the gullies above tower gully were full but there is no ice whatsoever. Had a look at the climbs on the buttress below Clogwyn Du but they rely on ice. Climbed nameless gully on mediocre snow, the avalanche risk seemed low. Downclimbed corner gully and traversed over to hidden gully. Some (old) avalanche debris on the way over, i think it was from the massive cornice at the back of the cwm. In the middle of the bowl was some windslab (inch?) on a layer of graupel but this was the only place with unbonded snow that i found. Hidden gully was alright, snow was deeper and softer than elsewhere and the last 20ft was steep and a bit sketchy.
Out today - did a circuit of Ogwen, did banana gully on y garn ( not really worth it! hard snow plod)
little avalanche risk around, but likewise not much climbable. Only really freezing over 900m , and the easy gullies are full on soft slushy snow. all the gully headwalls in the nameless cwm have large cornices ( scottish is size) and they look unstable having partially slumped recently ( yesterday ?) - I wouldn't like to have to dig through one. Buttresses were all black. Masses of snow on the glyder plateaux; knee deep or deeper, but again not taking any weight! it was snowing hard and settling between 1 and 2.30 on the plateau - oh for a cliff over 1000m in n Wales - because it would have been good. snow line is 700-800m depending on aspect;
it was warmer all the time on the descent, and raining on the A5 by Corwen; so I fear a thaw is on the way but snow quantity should hold in the lower grade gullies for the next wearther window.
It cleared up in the afternoon and then started to snow again at about 3 or 4pm with rain below about 600m. Im sure it will have settled up there last night...
Went for a look at Clogwyn Left Hand Branch in Cwm Cneifion today but unfortunately had to turn back at the base. It was looking lovely and fat but just too warm and we didn't want to trash it.
Given tomorrows forecast I don't think it will come in for the weekend but maybe worth a look in the early part of next week. We ended up going up Hidden Gully instead which is definitely climbable for those needing a winter fix this weekend.
We ventured into Cwm Cneifion yesterday afternoon, climbed Nameless Gully - snow generally not very good. Came round the descent slope on Clogwyn Du side where avalanche debris was very evident. We went up Hidden Gully, Snow wasnt in as good nick as the previous route and we actually felt the top snow wall move while we were on it, luckily it did not collapse.. there was a guy following us up too. It will still be unstable so pllease take care if you are out this wekend, conditions are far from perfect. Caution and care is needed and my advice would be to stick on buttress routes until the snow consolidates and ice gets more chance to develop.
Both Tryfan Ridges, North and South, make great sport in such conditions as does Bristly Ridge for those wanting a grand day out.
Sadly the forecast looks dodgy for both weekend days with high winds and persistant winter showers.
How was Clogwyn Ddu looking, rimed up and wintery or (more likely!) all black? Did you get a chance to test any turf?
I saw the crag whilst descending via Gribin yesterday. There was rime on only some aspects in general. The steep cliffs of Clogwyn Ddu were pretty black yesterday but all the ledges had plenty of snow. Left Hand and the approach to Pillar Chimney were full of snow (Pillar Chimney approach is mostly just a snow bank!). There looked as if there maybe significant ice in the top half of Pillar Chimney but couldn't tell for sure whether it was ice or snow. Ice was starting to form on the upper parts of Clogwyn Ddu. As regards turf, did Bristly Ridge and turf that I came across was unfrozen except for last difficult step before the top, where there was some useful turf.
Thanks. More freeze thaw followed by colder temperatures required!
Out on Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon again today, up the Miners track & down the PYG track, keeping out the wind, which even on the summit ridge wasn't quite as bad as forecast. Much of the snow evident on Friday has been stripped off the hills by Saturday's warm rain. That said there's still plenty of snow in the North & East facing cwms above 600m but its quite damp until you get to 900m. Turf is still unfrozen except on exposed ground sbove 900m & there's little ice yet. Couldn't see much of Clogwyn y Garnedd/Trinity Face as the vis was poor but I suspect the gully lines would need a good freeze to be safe. Snow was falling again early this afternoon. QMD!
Up Tryfan N.Ridge and down the other side today - snow is soft all the way up both sides, with touches of hoar and ice forming only right on the top. I imagine the east face gullies are similar - Central has a lot of snow, but v soft.
Wind was really going on top and in the bwlch too. fun.
If someone could walk into Devil's Kitchen/Cwm Cneifion on Friday, have a prod before report back, that would be much appreciated.
It's snowed like crazy this week, forecast is for some rain today and freeaing level above the summits for a time. Maybe that will help consolidate things otherwise i would imagine there's lots of powder and windslab on the N faces?
Looks savage up there all week - very high winds towards the back end of the week too.
Anyone want to get out tomorrow? I will be heading down from Queensferry tomorrow.
Coming up for a first shot at winter mountaineering and camping for a few days this weekend. Already delayed it by 3 months so can't back down now. Hopefully it will be a bit calmer by then.
Repeat after me; 'Our father...'
Anyone been out in the last 24-48hrs? Wondering about trying my luck tomorrow?
Anyone been out today ?
Out on Thursday. Wall to wall snow in and around parsley fern gully in reasonable condition. No ice but also no wind until topping out (normal windy weather on the tops). Walking off down the Pyg track we could see all the gullies and cliffs of Snowdon plastered with snow with some frozen snow and ice. Looked great. Lots of avalanche debris at the foot of many gullies but it look a few days old. Also some front pointable ice on boulders on the way down (at about 700m). Several parties walking up at 16:00. Not sure if they were just desperate for some winter conditions or there is a new craze for night time winter climbing.
Was out on the Carneddau today for a run, snow line was around 650m. Very slushy, better higher up but fairly powdery. Cwms looked fairly full from what I saw. A lot of Rime Ice on Bera Bach, reckon the higher areas need some freeze thaw before coming into condition. Going to get out tomorrow and have a look in Ogwen too see what conditions are like and possibly do a ridge, will report my findings then.
Although posting under my work profile....this is really from a Llanberis Mountain Rescue view .....for anyone thinking of getting out on the white stuff tomorrow..be very very careful!! Avoid the gullies and east facing slopes. There are seriously massive unstable and loaded cornices on Snowdon. There were two serious incidents today - both caused by either cornice collapse and/or avalanches. There have been 80mph W and NW winds and a huge amount of re-deposited and fresh snow above 700m. We saw several massive cracks over 3m in from some very large cornices all the way around the top of Cwm Glas, especially Parsley Fern. One of our own party had a cornice collapse on him (he was tied on) and the slopes below were as unstable as anything I've ever been on! One incident involved a long fall as result of an avalanche on the top of the PyG Path and the other when a cornice collapsed close to the top of Parsely Fern. One person has serious injuries and the other fortunately survived unscathed after a fall of over 150 feet. Have fun.....but take care!
Good advice. Stay safe.
Been on Snowdon today, the snow line is roughly 550m/600m. It' was very slushy on the lower parts of the Pyg track. We turned back at the penny post on the bottom of the zig zags as there was evidence of the big cornice collapse/avalanche from yesterday and still a massive cornice remaining above that looked very unpredictable. Where the Pyg track tops out was completely corniced but a party ahead of us did manage to break through it, I still didn't fancy taking the risk so turned back and descended the miners path. We did see one chap ahead of us solo a route up the Trinity face.
Fantastic conditions on the black ladders today! approached the base of the crag very gingerly as the amount of avalanche debris was truelly astounding. EVERY major line had huge banked out piles of debree at the bottom. The going was tough but stable up to the main terrace so decided to press on up.
Did Western Gully direct and it was is the most awesome efemeral condition I've ever seen in the 24 yrs since I first set foot on it. Banked out everywhere with deep firm snow which was incredibly steep icy and became more and more icy ,rimed and plastered in wet stuff that had frozen. The biggest problem was finding the route and its features beneath all that, however with care you could literally climb anywhere. I was solo so it did feel serious but technically only a stiff steep sustained IV maybe V 4, The crux was banked out and the evil slab had a foot of rimed snow ice / neve on it! Wanted to do right hand finish but wasn't up for russian roulette with the cornices, so went left onto flanders to finish.
Finished off with a descent back down crib lem then over to Goliath on Craig Dafydd. This was in stonking nick and a breeze at IV due to the exceptional conditions. One hell of a day out!
Please note extreme care is needed on the approach to the crag base and at the upper 1/4 of the crag especially the cornices
Well, according to the 'Mail' they fell over 1000ft on Mount Snowdon, not 150ft above Parlsey Fern, so there! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560673/Couple-swept-1-000ft-Mount-Snowdon-avalanche-strikes...
Sounds slightly scary is anything in the devils kitchen area "in"?
Or anywhere safe to climb/ski tour at the moment?
Once the pyg track gets a bit less dangerous if anyone finds any ice axes in the path of the pyg track avalanche I'd appreciate it if they got in touch with me. Some of my friends were caught by the side of it and lost 4 walking axes, some belonging to them and some to the club. I'm happy to pay for their return as I'm sure they'd appreciate not having to pay to replace their axes.
Went up the South Ridge of Tryfan yesterday, took some variable lines looking for interesting sections. Largely powedery with some areas that have been stripped and developed a thing crust. Snow line pretty much starting at the lip of Cwm Bochlwyd. Looking at the Glyders I would stay well clear of Bristly Screes as it is completely loaded at the moment, the ridge looked in reasonable nick but the initial gully looked pretty loaded.
Couple of questions following recent events in Snowdonia...
Is there any avalanche risk assesment information available for Snowdonia online or is it only after avalanche incident it hits the news and avalanche warning is being issued by dailymail and metro ? I know that experienced hillwalkers and people that have done any avalanche awerness courses can work it out by weather patterns and snow stability tests but it seems that avalanche risk information would be useful for less experienced.
And second question, are there any other avalanche black spots, apart from zig zags on Pyg track below Bwlch Glas, routes known for avalanche incidents and people being hurt ?
But they will be exactly that - place where accidents have happened rather than places of particular risk. A 'black spot' is way more likely to be a place where people regularly go - a path, an access to a climb, a climb itself - than somewhere where avalanches are more likely. So people shouldn't get the idea that by avoiding certain places they aren't putting themselves at risk.
I don't think there is any regular avalanche forecasting in Wales because the quantities of snow necessary isn't that common. Hence you need to go away and read up on avalanche prediction as best you can then go and apply that to the weather reports and what you see on the ground.
Read up on avalanches, then you'll be able to see the black spots for yourself! Much better than waiting for someone else to call it a black spot for you after an incident...
My suggestion is to start a new thread for Snowdonia Winter Conditions to avoid people having to load this massive thread on their mobile devices.
When someone starts one I will close this thread. Please put the rough date in the thread title when you start the next thread.
I've have read on it and I have also attendend avalanche awarness course last year.
I've learned that knowing places where avalanches occur on regular basis in certain conditions helps a lot in route selection.
There is great map for Scotland ( http://www.sais.gov.uk/avalanche_map.asp ) and I was hoping to find something similar for Snowdonia
That's not really a great map though, it's more just a mapped archive that shows where someone has reported an avalanche. The spots happen to be popular spots for climbing/skiing. I don't think you can take much useful from that in terms of what it says about the rest of the highlands.
Avalanche risk in snowdonia is in general concentrated on the leaward slopes of all the high peaks within 48 hrs of heavy snow fall. This can be confounded by susequent temperatures and wind direction at these heights. A good rule of thumb would be to not go on the hill within 48hrs of a big snow fall regardless of valley level conditions. Failing that while out avoid large snow fields, gully bottoms and cornices and anything beneath, look up and pick a way which skips from rock to rock or skirts the base of a crag (i.e actually on the rock)
Most common spots.
Top of PYG track, Cwm Glas (parsley firn, all of it!), Cwm Cneifion,Descent from glyder fawr to devils kitchen, Cwm Clyd (y garn). Cwm Lloer (pen yr ole wen) Cwm Glas Bach- craig dafydd - approach to crib lem on Carnedd Dafydd. All of black ladders esp RH side. Cwn Fynnon caseg side of Carnedd Llewelyn.
Cant stress enough if you must go out in such conditions without a guide or very experienced team member with years of mountain craft experience look at weather reports from the days before you set foot on the hill.
STAY ON THE RIDGES.
Walked into Upper Cwm Glas on Friday 7th February. Snow level was 650m, it was wet, soft and about 20cm deep. There was avalanche debris from Parsley Fern & Sinister Gullies.
At foot of Parsley Fern , the snow was 150cm deep, moist, mainly unconsolidated but with a few frozen layers - there was no ice.
As we climbed up the gully the snow improved and became good neve at the narrows. The final slopes were too hard for the shaft of my technical axe and I resorted to daggering. The upper rocks were well rimed.
We continued on to Yr Wyddfa and descended via Crib y Ddysgl & Bwlch Coch. We met a party of two topping out from Trinity Right Hand who said that no turf was frozen and that there was little ice.
Coming down to wales tomorrow will give gullies a miss any suggestions for a good ridge grade II
Caneifion arÍte is always a good shout at that grade
I did Cneifion ArÍte yesterday with my son. There was very little snow on the first pitch but the scramble did require occasional use of an axe. We didn't use crampons and opted to bum slide down to Bochlwyd. You might need them if you were to decend the Gribbin although it has be quite warm today.
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