Good news for winter hillwalkers and climbers: This season the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) are planning to trial a new avalanche forecast for Torridon, for limited periods from December to February.
Winter mountaineers in the northwest Highlands have always needed a strong streak of self reliance. While the SAIS has provided detailed daily avalanche forecasts for five main climbing areas further south and east (Glen Coe, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, Northern Cairngorms and Southern Cairngorms) this is the first time that the service has expanded its coverage north of the Great Glen - where conditions can often be totally different. As a fairly small area with a concentration of popular winter climbing,Torridon is an obvious candidate for SAIS forecasts.
A pilot SAIS Avalanche Information report for the Torridon area will commence on 24th December 2013, and will then run for limited periods during the winter (24-29 Dec 2013, then 1-5 Jan, 10-12 Jan, 31 Jan - 2 Feb, and 14 - 22 Feb).
But as the SAIS point out, this is no substitute for taking personal responsibility:
'We would also recommend... [that] [a]valanche hazard considerations should always be part of any winter hill goers daily plans and we would recommend that climbers, walkers and off-piste skiers currently venturing into the hills, continue to note snow and weather conditions in respect of any potential avalanche hazard. Be prepared to modify your plans accordingly.'
Meanwhile, daily forecasts for the five main areas start for the season on 12 December.