/ Snowdonia Winter Conditions Continued... 17/02/2014
Thought I'd start a new thread for Snowdonia winter conditions, to reduce the amount of scrolling as recommended. So please post reports from 17/02/2014 onwards here.
Quite impressive that the previous thread has virtually been maxed out despite there being almost no conditions to speak of all winter until last week!
'maxed' out? I think last years thread made it to 1000 replies!
Was planning to have a look this weekend, looks to be warming up on MWIS. How are things- is the avalanche risk still considerable is there good sport to be had?
Bit of advice needed - is it worth driving 6 hours to Snowdonia for some climbing? I've done a bit of research, looked at all the blogs, threads and weather forecasts and am still undecided. I know there's been some serious avalanches of late and there are large cornices in some locations. Also, the temperatures are fairly warm at the moment, making cornice collapse all the more likely. I was going to give Trinity Face a miss for this reason and was looking at the Glyders (Fach and Fawr) a look (the theory goes they should have had loose snow blown off as they face NW). That said, with the freezing levels having been above the summits for a while now, will I just be looking at slush with a layer of wet mud underneath? Any advice or route recommendations gratefully received by my car and I.
Not worth it mate. It's just not wintery enough.
Might be something to go at on Friday and Saturday. snow-forecast.com giving freezing levels lowering to @700m during Thursday aft/ev. Tower Gully (Cwm Cneifion) was in very good condition on Sunday with mostly great neve (NW facing). But the North and North East facing slopes in Cwm Cneifion (as you'd expect due to prevailing wind beforehand) looked loaded, large cornices also. Freezing levels have been above summits Monday and today so snowpack probably soft now but there was a lot of snow up above 700 metres so a with a possible refreeze on Thurs/Fri, may come good again high up.
Cheers mate. Going to give it a miss I think. Deep sigh.....
Carld, cheers for the advice. Going to give it a miss I think. Can't really justify the travel for the current conditions. Unfortunately I'm busy this weekend but fingers crossed, it'll get colder in the not too distant future!
Saturday morning may be a possibility... What height is the base of Tower Gully (Cwm Cneifion), is it 850m ish? May be tempted.
For wintery ridges graded II/III, your choice is a bit limited, but try......
Clogwyn y Person Arete (Cwm Glas)was well above the snowline and was carrying a lot of snow last week.
Cneifion Arete (Cwm Cneifion) is probably too low for current conditions.
North-East Spur (Y Garn)looked pretty white but I haven't been up there recently.
Unless the temperatures drop significantly, these will probably only be snowy scrambles, where you are clearing away the snow to find the handholds.... so forget the axes.
Went up Y Garn today (Tuesday). Had a look at the base of Banana Gully. All the gullys are still full of snow above Cwm Clyd, but snow pretty soft and slushy. Some big cornices at top so gave the gullys a miss. Went up North East Ridge and could see cracks in the cornices. Snow line generally above about 850m on NE Ridge. Lots of water in streams - what we need now is a good freeze!
Did the Cneffion arÍte today in totally no snow conditions very slippery. Looking up into cwm plenty of snow but looks treacherous massive cornices and the tempreture at Ogwen cottage 8 degrees at 8.45 this morning. Need a big freeze
Walked onto Carneddau past Black Ladders today. Evidence of avalanches at bottom of most gullies - freezing level above summit so soft snow but still masses of it. Foel Grach shelter completely buried - no sign of it. A good freeze and conditions would give superb conditions.
Was up on Glyder Fawr from Pen y Pass on Sunday, up to 800m snow was soft, 800-900m good snow for kicking excellent walking, 900-1000, lots of ice most parties had crampons but, I was quite happy without.
Snowdon was a nightmare with avalanches and unconsolidated snow, it really has been so mild of late better to err on the side of caution keep away from gullies, stay on ridges and use a bit of common sense !
So Tower Gully is probably no good, looks like a small freeze thurs/fri but perhaps not enough to bring it into condition for Saturday morning?
It's warm. There is no frost alert on my dashboard, nor a minus in front of the temperature figure. Infact that figure is in double figures. So I would think a walk, on a ridge would be your option for Saturday.
where are you?
We went up parsons nose/arette on Tuesday was patches of snow on it no ice just a wet snow scramble no crampons or axes needed, evidence of avalanches to the right of it though!
Was good to play in the snow on the way down though definitely looks wintry around there although its fairly soft snow!
Right but the forecast is for freezing levels to 750m tomorrow pm until Saturday am so may be ok up Cwm Cneifion... Really hoping somebody goes up there tomorrow or Friday
On the hill (idwal circuit) yesterday Weds 19th - Plenty of snow over 700m - but warm, warm, warm. Snow was soft and struggling to take any weight. nothing climbable, need a freeze....
Been onto the Glyders today, up y Griben and down by the Devils Kitchen.
Towards the top of the ridge the rock was icy and the snow a lot firmer than expected.
Crampons useful for the snow slopes off Glyder Fawr.
Saw some folk in Cneifion, plenty of snow in there but the crag was black .
A few not particularly useful shots here: https://www.facebook.com/jbmountainskills
Up on Snowdon yesterday, snow and ice pretty firm up on the ridges above ~800m, and continuous with good cover above 900m. But wasn't too cold, so expect we need more cold weather to freeze things up some more. Crampons made going much easier, low cloud and strong gusts into the afternoon, but otherwise a good day out on the hill.
Anyone got any updates?
Is winter over now?
Did it ever start
Well seeing as it has been 10C + the last few days - 2014 winter has been and gone in a flurry of rain.
And yet some of the coldest weather was in march last year...
That was quite unusual for Snowdonia though and the weather pattern this winter is very different to last. The odds are IMO that if the existing snow melts out that will be it for snowdonia this winter. Still anything can happen I guess.
Been up tryfan today. No snow on tryfan! Some snow remains on the glyders and y garn and in cwm cneifion(spelling?) the snow that is there isn't supporting weight and is melting. It was 6degrees at 08.30 and was raining at 10.30 when I left. Wind speed was v strong on the summit you couldn't stand.
I agree on the wind. I was on summit of Snowdon on Saturday. Total cover above 800m, and wind gusting to 75mph (apparently). Strong enough to knock me over at one point.
Is anyone able to report on the condition of Central Trinity, Parsley Fern or other easy gullies?
As many people constantly seem keen to point out. This was an extreme event, and as much as you keep your fingers and toes crossed it's unlikley to happen again this year.
We've had a far mor typical winter, with generally mild temperatures and (alot of) rain - not every winter is an alpine wonderland! People seem to have rather short memories regarding weather.
Even with a 'long' memory i doubt it is long enough to be able to give an accurate prediction about any weather we get from now on.
Unless i am much mistaken this winter isnt exactly a 'standard' winter, whats wrong with a glimmer of hope eh? Why rule out all hope even if it is the tiniest of hopes?
Well Said James91 Last year the snow was falling heavy in March/April with freezing temperatures. Don't count out the winter yet. Still time for our random weather to conjure up some magic.
Just a quote,
This scenario would allow for the development of some severe and sustained cold blasts and significant snow (even to lower levels). From mid-March onwards there is the risk for a dominating period of cold and snow to develop for at least 30-60 days, due to a favourable pattern change to a more negative NAO and in consideration of certain stratospheric influences leading up to this period.
PLEASE NOTE - A strengthening and more active phase of the MJO does not reflect in a negative NAO until 14-21 days later (the reason why computer models are still indicating a positive NAO for the foreseeable at present).
It must also be noted that abnormalities in temperatures near Greenland also suggest a continuation of more recent weather types due to a stronger jet-stream. This would also prevent above average heights pushing into Greenland. However, the characteristics and wavelengths of the MJO for this particular phase (phase 8) should eventually allow for a more negative NAO to develop (my estimation for signals of this occurrence is from mid-March onwards).
The start to March and the spring period is also likely to begin on a much drier note than of late in terms of rainfall amounts, with more in the way of developing sunny periods. This will also bring some interludes of near average daytime temperature to places for this period. However, some showers and very windy periods are still likely to develop at times, in particular, in the northern half of the country. Some of these showers may also turn wintry in parts of the north for in or around the 3rd March. Thereafter, is likely to bring progressively colder temperatures and the increased risk of widespread frosts and some notable snow.
So although March may deceive us in thinking that spring has arrived early due to some decent intervals of sunshine and somewhat drier weather than of late to begin with, do not be surprised to see weather models adjusting to this scenario and a more negative NAO as we progress throughout the March period and into the remainder of spring.
Went up Banana Gully, Y Garn today. Reasonably firm sugary but not wet snow all the way from 50m below the dogleg with a small cornice overhang, firm and easily avoided. Gully lines immediately to left incomplete and a worrying-looking cornice overhang over the complete ones further left. In Cwm Cneifion Tower Gully looked complete together with the headwall. Parsley Fern Gully also looked complete. Not particularly wintery but worthwhile
We were in Cwm Cneifion today - not as cold as forecast and wet sugary snow for most part - Tower Gully was incomplete with water running over the exposed rock.
anyone been up to the trinity face this week?
Well hopefully the perennial question of "is it in or not?" in Cwm Idwal at last can now be answered (almost) definitively. Working with National Resources Wales (NRW) and the National Trust, the BMC has established a live temperature monitoring station near the base of the Devil's Appendix in Cwm Idwal to enable climbers to check on conditions before venturing out.
The project (mainly funded by NRW, with a grant from the BMC's Access & Conservation Trust) has been set up in order that climbers can make a more informed decison before getting out to Cwm Idwal and thus hopefully minimise damage to the rare and protected alpine flora that's found on these cliffs, which all lie within a National Nature Reserve.
Feedback (via the link on the live page)would be appreciated as this is a trial project.
The info is found here :-
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales)
this is great! Genuinely useful AND straight forward to understand.
Very useful and straightforward design!
Great stuff. Can you put one in parsley fern gully! Lmao.
Glyders or Carnedd Llewelyn.
Walked from Y Garn over the tops to Bethesda on wednesday. Almost no snow or ice on the tops.
Rev your engines ;)
Isn't Wales great.
People climbing good snow on Snowdon whilst we were climbing in the Sun at Tremadog.
Nowhere better to live!
Anyone been into/around Cwm Lloer lately?
Been up Tryfan and over the Glyders today. The north ridge of Tryfan had a dusting of snow from the cannon stone up, with more ice present higher up. Lots of snow on Bristly Screes up to Glyder Fach, it's much more consolodated now than a fortnight ago, there is a large cornice present to the left. Plenty of snow on the summit of Glyder Fach with some big drifts. Glyder Fawr still has plenty of snow, big cornices present with some huge cracks appearing! The top half of the descent down to Llyn y Cwm has formed quite a convex snow slope that needs care. No snow or ice present in the devils kitchen.
On trinity face yesterday. We checked out trinity buttress but turf was unfrozen so went for a romp up central trinity as teams were above is on other routes. Central trinity had bomber snow ice all the way up. Reports that conditions on trinity RH were ok but turf unfrozen. Other climbers on LH trinity, Ladies gully and Cave gully but didn't get a chance to speak to them. Temperatures warmed up a fair bit towards evening.
We approached the spider from the bottom left at about 0900. The snow on that approach was OK but certainly not bomber displaying with marginal layers in it. It was good on and above the spider I wouldn't have trusted the apporoach as temperatures warmed later in the day.
I shall be following this thread with interest as im heading up to snowdonia the week after next - fingers crossed for some good winter conditions!
Dropped Black Diamond walking pole near top of Parsley Fern on Thursday.
Would be very grafeful if anyone who picked it up could return it.
Parsley Fern was a plod in the slush from top to bottom. Ridge down to Crib Goch scoured and icy.
Warm and wet today, anyone been up high?
I'm glad you said that. We went to do Central Trinity, but didn't like the look of the layers at all (pulled a windslab layer off the top of my test column easily) so we backed off and did winter skills practice. Gutting after driving all that way, and it was our first attempt at a proper winter route so I thought maybe we were a bit over cautious. Started up the base of the snowfield beneath the spider at maybe 12
better to be cautious and live to tell the tail than suffocating in a slab avalanche.
Were you the team of 3 that we saw about then as we came back down the zig zags?
It's always tough making the choice to back off but it's never wrong to go home safe.
If you were the guys that stopped and chatted to us, then yeah. I think you said you'd done a gully higher up.
We did at least have some fun in the snow. A day in the hills always is better than doing nothing at home (but not always better than a day in the pub!)
It is beyond a shadow of a doubt the best place in the world. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong
We didn't speak but I saw a group of 3 at the base route about then.
If anyone found a handful of wires on Saturday morning on right hand trinity, clogwyn y garnedd and feeling generous they would be gratefully welcomed home! Woops!!!! They have white electrical tape on them and sad faces.
A mate of mine said he found some wires on the same route on saturday, i've brought this post to his attention, so if you're lucky you may get them back.
Thanks a million, will keep my fingers crossed
Was out in Ogwen working today. The patchy snow on top of Seniors Ridge was surprisingly hard.
Great neve on the Carneddau today but with weather due to warm up later in the week - be very careful !
Hi Rach. Yep, I found 3 wires at bottom of Trinity RH on Sat. Will PM you now. Cheers, Mike
Legend! Hope you had a nice climb, great conditions!
Opinions on Ogwen for this weekend? More for group scrambling.
Worth taking spiky things? Last year the top of Pen yr ole wen was a death trap.
Mostly for taking a group of novices, nothing more demoralising than being near the summit to be greeted with hard ice and not a crampon between them.
I think it's worth taking ice axe and crampons if you are going high up at the moment. There have been two rescues on Snowdon in the last two days caused by slips on snow http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2014/03/05/second-snowdon-walker-injured-in-carbon-copy-pyg-track-f... and last weekend there was still snow and ice on the Carneddau http://www.ogwen-rescue.org.uk/incidents/incidents.php
Anyone know what sort of shape Trinity face might be in at the moment? Will it be worth making the trip to Snowdonia at the weekend to see or will it have turned to steep slush by now?
Yeah everything is looking pretty warm from Saturday onwards, but still coldish tomorrow. I was thinking about trying to get up it early Saturday morning before the big warm up kicks in. I know at least one person on the thread climbed on it on Tuesday but its been a little above freezing all week and I don't know how well it will have held up.
Maybe I'm just over-keen to play in the snow though.
Lot of heavy rain thurs night so no snow line but still plenty of snow in gullies on high N facing areas eg trinity face, nameless cwm. Clear sky and temp dropping to zero in Ogwen at 19.30 tonight friday as I came through. Some good sport if you get up very early but big cracks in cornice lines will be dangerous as it warms up on saturday
Just spent a weekend wandering around Ogwen, there's a little bit of snow left but it's sugary and rubbish. Nice and warm today was walking around in just a base layer.
Anything left in any of the gullys?
Look at the weather forecast. It has been 10C+ for three days.
Yeah....and someone has supposedley climbed Hidden Gully today.
I haven't been up high today, but it was still pretty cold in the shade today on the crag. Still snow up high.
Either way it's perfect cragging weather.
I hope they left some grass for the next ascentionists.
It could have been pretty good too - hard frosts at night and that gully get very little sun
Have you been there lately ? - the top of the gully which last week was waiting to fall down gets full sun early in the day
Some up high but it wasn't brilliant.
I'm sure 9 months is long enough for it to recover
Has anyone been across Crib Goch/Crib y Ddysgl recently? Are crampons/axe still necessary, a good idea or a waste of space?
Bump......also keen to know what it's like please, anyone...?
We did it yesterday morning. It was dry and there was no snow.
did you carry on up the zig zags to the top of Snowdon ? If so, any need for axes and pons ?
has anyone been up this weekend? webcams show a bit of white on tops
Yeah went up Llech Ddu spur yesterday and down Pen yr Ole Wen east ridge. Needed the axe but not crampons although the snow is very hard on the upper exit slopes and some determined step kicking was required! Only met one group of 3 all day despite the great weather. Hope you managed to get out.
in case anyone's interested... went past the base of trinity face today, so popped up to see what conditions were like (been in Scotland of late), thought I might solo Central trinity if snow was ok.
Snow slope leading up to start of Trinity Gullies was very soft and loose - dug a quick pit at top, just by start of climb proper:
1-2cm fresh powder on top, then 3-4cm hardish crust (1F-P), then about 10cm of very soft (fist), loose, unconsolidated snow, some looked like hail or graupel. Barely moist. Zero bonding to base. Crust was cracking into slabs around feet, and sliding off scree. Needless to say, no water or turf is anywhere near frozen. Air temp was about -1.
Might have been better in the gullies themselves if there's enough old snow remaining, but as I was just out for a bimble by myself I wasn't tempted. Unfortunately looks set to get steadily warmer from tomorrow...
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