/ Backpacking in a week's time. Winter gear needed?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Siward on 11 May 2013
The plan is to be in the hills for the best part of a week, lightweight backpacking. I'm probably going to start at Ben Cruachan and head north towards the Etive hills, staying high where possible. That plan may change although likely to stay west rather than heading to the Cairngorms.

I hear talk of dumps of snow recently. Is there going to be any need for an axe and/or crampons? I would rather not carry them due to weight but if needs must etc.

I will bung them in the car but its often hard to judge whether one will need them up high, particularly when I will be ascending slopes of varying aspects. This is supposed to be late May. I was thinking of a pair of shorts and a sunhat!

So, have people been in the hills recently who can assist?
Trangia - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Siward:

I don't think recent trips into the hill are relevent, it's what's going to happen that counts and the met office are predicting snowfall at high level.

But they were predicting heavy rainstorms and thunderstorms here in the south east today. It's actually been sunny and warm out of the wind all day, although the wind is strong.
Siward on 11 May 2013
In reply to Trangia: That's very true but fresh snow isn't so likely to necessitate ice axe/cramps- I could get by with walking poles. It's the old hard patches that pose a potential problem.
xplorer on 11 May 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Spreading the love as usual.

Take poles and lightweight crampons, but any hard snow will be pretty much avoidable wont it?
benstu - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Siward: its snowing were your heading so forget the light backpacking & be prepared for winter mountaineering or wait for some sun ,i think the sun is a big yellow fellow in the sky haven't seen it since last year ,but seriously winter mountaineering or stay low ,the snow may miss you brrr iv been waiting to do the cape wrath trail was meant to be on it end march still waiting on spring good luck
Tim Chappell - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Siward:
> (In reply to Trangia) That's very true but fresh snow isn't so likely to necessitate ice axe/cramps- I could get by with walking poles. It's the old hard patches that pose a potential problem.


Exactly right-- and it's been a big winter for snow, it's never got very warm since, and it's turning cold again right now. So you have every chance of running into unavoidable old hard snow/ ice. This can happen in July, never mind May. Take the kit then you don't have to worry about it, would be my advice. In fact if you've got the kit you can design your ascent route around as many gully-strips of ice as you can find. On a warm, sunny day, hacking up a hard old gully is an absolutely brilliant feeling. I love it when you get your shadow on the snow behind you just as you're topping out. A real Alpine moment. But only available if you pack the axe and the crampons!


Siward on 12 May 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
Do you know, you've convinced me! Seek out the gullies rather than avoid.

I'll just have to carry less of something else.

It's been a long standing quest of mine to get my backpacking rucksack to be light enough that I can carry it over the tops. In the long run the fact that I don't ever have to retrace my steps is fantastic. Bring it on!
Gav M - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> So you have every chance of running into unavoidable old hard snow/ ice. This can happen in July, never mind May. Take the kit then you don't have to worry about it, would be my advice.

Surely you wouldn't take axe and crampons in July?

If the objective is lightweight backpacking I would be more inclined to leave the 2 kg of winter gear in the car, try to choose routes that avoids old hard snow but be prepared to find another way if faced with unavoidable patches.
Jamie B - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Gav M:

> If the objective is lightweight backpacking I would be more inclined to leave the 2 kg of winter gear in the car, try to choose routes that avoids old hard snow but be prepared to find another way if faced with unavoidable patches.

Second that, Tim's reply did strike me as a little strange!
Siward on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
Decisions decisions. Um. Carrying heavy extras is all well and good sitting on my sofa but rucksacks are heavy. Light it is then. Let the sun shine...
Siward on 15 May 2013
In reply to Siward: bump. Any recent experiences anyone?
prog99 on 15 May 2013
ads.ukclimbing.com
Tim Chappell - on 15 May 2013
In reply to Gav M:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]
>
> Surely you wouldn't take axe and crampons in July?


I've been in a situation, in July, where I wished I had axe and crampons. I was contouring around the north side of the Fannaichs to avoid a reascent, and I faced a succession of gully-beds which were full of old hard snow. Being young and foolish at the time, I just tried to skip across them instead of going round. I soon wished I hadn't.

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