/ Have any Scottish snow patches survived the summer?

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JamesRoddie - on 14 Oct 2009
I know there was a thread on this a while back, but does anyone know if any snow patches in Scotland have survived through this summer?

I know that the last ones melted in Glencoe in late July, and that there weren't many left on the Ben in early August, but what about elsewhere?

Just interested!

Ta.
OMR - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to JamesRoddie: Garbh Choire Mhor snow was still there on August 22
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to JamesRoddie: The only snow pach that usually survives is on braereaich (sorry can't spell and on iPhone)
AlH - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to CurlyStevo:Not necessarily so. I've been taking regular pics of the Observatory Gully patch this summer for Iain Cameron and Adam Watson who study these things. The Obs Gully snowpatch is now 3 years old. There is a good thread here: http://www.winterhighland.info/forum/read.php?2,105949,page=34 (warning, 34 pages long) on snow patches.
Al
Ron Walker - on 14 Oct 2009
AlH - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to Ron Walker:Is that one of yours Ron? I was going solo on Tower Ridge on the 8th and wouldn't have made it to the top w/o crampons (axe wasn't use and hands were bare though).
Apparently that shows the 'classic m shape of the Observatory Gully patch' and the 'usual late season split into 2'.
Al
AlH - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to Ron Walker:Oh, I see, its one that I sent in
Al
Ron Walker - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH:

Is that patch next to Gardyloo?

;-)
Geoffrey Michaels on 14 Oct 2009 - host86-156-2-250.range86-156.btcentralplus.com
In reply to JamesRoddie:

Best place to ask is on Winterhighland as there are a number of people with detailed knowledge of this and very well informed.
Only a hill - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH:
Yep, noticed that snow patch when I was on the Ben on the 8th ... interesting juxtaposition of old/new snow.
muppetfilter - on 14 Oct 2009
In reply to Only a hill: You really need a woman soon.....
Robert Durran - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to JamesRoddie:

There looked like there was an old one below the N face of Aonach Beag last weekend.
Andy Moles - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to muppetfilter:

What's that all about? In-joke, bad joke or just picking on the guy?
AlH - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to Robert Durran:Do you have any pics? I know the researhers are after a recent one of this patch.
Al
ceri's - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH: I went up the East ridge of Aonach Mor on Sunday (11th Oct) and have a picture of a snow patch in the corrie to the left of the ridge as you're heading uphill (so between Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag) - is that useful?
Robert Durran - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)Do you have any pics? I know the researhers are after a recent one of this patch.
>
I don't but my friend might. though we were some distance away on the Grey Corries.

Robert Durran - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to ceri's:

That will be the same one I was referring to I think.
ceri's - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to Robert Durran: It looked old, had a brown streak down the middle. Also saw a fresh cornice next to the top of the top ski lift!
AlH - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to ceri's and Robert Durran: The team would be very grateful for any pictures of this patch post 15 Sept. I can forward if you could e-mail to alan@climbwhenyoureready.com
Many thanks,
Al
ceri's - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH: Will do, though will probably be at the weekend when I can get a replacement for the lost data cable for my camera!
CurlyStevo - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to AlH:
how often doesn the Ben Nevis patch survive? I thought it was less than half the years, but a quick google seems I may be wrong.

Pretty sure according to the Martin Moran book that the other patches disappear more years than they survive.
AlH - on 15 Oct 2009
In reply to CurlyStevo: Not sure, but asking on the winter highland forum here- http://www.winterhighland.info/forum/read.php?2,105949,page=34 would elicit an answer I'm sure. They're very keen on snow patches!
Al
Geoffrey Michaels on 15 Oct 2009 - host86-165-95-235.range86-165.btcentralplus.com
In reply to CurlyStevo:

You should have been at the day organised at Glen Shee by Iain Cameron and which was attended by Adam Watson. Adam has been documenting and recording snow patches for decades and is the authority on them. He showed us his very detailed maps and discussed his survey techniques.

He also has a wealth of knowledge about place-names and local names for snow patches and the hills, mostly unknown to climbers and walkers but well known to other mountain users.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to Donald M:
Theres quite a bit about it in the book "Scotlands Winter Mountains"
Geoffrey Michaels on 16 Oct 2009 - cnag4.gotadsl.co.uk
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yes there is and I used to view that as a good source but some of the people I met at Glenshee and especially Adam Watson have taken this to a different level. Their breadth of knowledge and dedication to the cause is impressive.

I was left with the lasting impression that the boarders and skiers there, many of whom climb too, are just as easily just well informed about the hills in Scotland as most climbers. The prism of Bonnington et al wasn't present.

Anyway, I think Iain might organise some more events and I would highly recommend them.
ronofcam on 16 Oct 2009 - 87-194-71-115.bethere.co.uk
Thanks to everyone who’s taken an interest in this. My name is Iain Cameron and I’m one of the authors of the annual paper which appears in the Royal Meteorological Society’s “Weater” publication.

For those interested, I’ll give you a little overview of 2009…

For James Roddie’s benefit (since he started the thread), the last snow in Glen Coe was actually in August, not July. A little patch persisted beneath the little col between Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire nam Beith until the 6th August. Although there didn’t appear to be much on Ben Nevis in August, the main Observatory Gully patch was still 85m long and approximately 9m deep at its greatest extent.

2009 has been a poor year for survivals thus far (the season isn’t yet over, and more snow could disappear). Aonach Mor, which survived through 2007 & 2008, vanished in mid-September. This is the snow mentioned in Martin Moran’s book. Also, Braeriach’s snows (in the Garbh Choire Mor) are still there. No surprises there, as these are Scotland’s longest lasting, and have disappeared only 5 times in the last 100-years.

However, the one patch that Martin Moran (and others) have never made any mention of is the Aonach Beag one. This is no doubt due to the fact that it cannot be seen from the summit of Aonach Mor or Aonach Beag, nor from the roads below. The only place where you get a good, clear view of it is from the ridge between the Aonachs, and even at that you won’t see it in anything except good visibility. Because it sits around 600 ft below the ridge (at an implausible altitude of 3150 ft), mist obscures its view.

I’ve emailed ceri’s about the Aonach Beag patch, which I’m very keen to see. The last time I saw a clear picture of it was on 18th September, and I’d like to view it before I visit it on the 24th October. I expect it to be small, but still there. In 2007 and 2008 it was Scotland’s largest patch to survive till winter’s snows arrived (around 45 metres long). It sits at the foot of the 1000ft cliffs of Aonach Beag’s north face, and is very well sheltered indeed.

I keep an archive of snow patches (yes, I know I need to get out more). 2009’s diary can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28183399@N03/collections/72157616751507342/
Tim Chappell - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:


I walked over Aonach Beag and along the subsidiary ridge of Aonach Mor with the Munro tops on it on 13 Sept. Looking S, there was a BIG snow-patch on the N side of Aonach Beag.

That's a magnificent N face, incidentally, one of the finest in Scotland. Owing to bad luck with weather etc, I've never seen it properly or close up before.
Andy Nisbet - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to Tim Chappell:
>
> That's a magnificent N face, incidentally, one of the finest in Scotland. Owing to bad luck with weather etc, I've never seen it properly or close up before.

Yes, go there this winter, it's a remote and very impressive place. I've climbed on it three times from the gondola (but not the 8am one) and although I've missed it twice back down, it's only 45mins walk down.

CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
45 mins walk back down! I must have gone the wrong way, took us about 3 hours down from the top of the route to the car once when we missed the gondola.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:
How often does the ben nevis patch survive?
CurlyStevo - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:
Infact how many patches survive more years than they disappear?
ronofcam on 16 Oct 2009 - 87-194-71-115.bethere.co.uk
CurlyStevo,

Ben Nevis’s snow historically survived longer than it does now. Between 1933 and 1970 it disappeared 10 times in 38 years, making it approximately 1 in 4 years it survived. Nowadays it survives less often, although if it persists this year (I’m fairly sure it will) then that will mean it’s been there three years on the trot, last disappearing in summer 2006. The same goes for Aonach Beag, but we have no historical records for this snow. It is fair to say, though, that this patch will persist through many years.

Garbh Choire Mor, of course, persists through 95% of years, having disappeared in 1933, 1959, 1996, 2003 & 2006.

There are other patches which survive, but the survivals are the exception rather than the rule. These include: Aonach Mor (Coire an Lochain), Ciste Mhearad (Cairngorm), Garbh Uisge Beag (Ben Macdui) and other Cairngorms locations.

Here’s a question for mountain buffs: Outwith Nevis Range and the Cairngorms, what was the mountain that last saw surviving snow to the following winter? It was in 2000, if that helps…
Tim Chappell - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:


My guesses:

Lochnagar?
Glas Maol?
Ben Lawers?
Ben Wyvis?
Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan?

In that order
LakesWinter on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam: I'd go with Ben Wyvis myself
ronofcam on 16 Oct 2009 - 87-194-71-115.bethere.co.uk
None of those!

Roughly (and without a map): south of Lochnagar, west of Glas Maol, north-west of Ben Lawers.
Only a hill - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> That's a magnificent N face, incidentally, one of the finest in Scotland. Owing to bad luck with weather etc, I've never seen it properly or close up before.

It is a fantastic North face. I had the privilege of climbing it on the 11th of May this year in perfect winter conditions, after a walk-in from Glen Nevis and an idyllic bivouac in the high corrie. I did an ice route approximating to the Grade III line Dragonfly--absolutely fantastic Alpine ambiance. I think the face should be on every winter climber's list, whatever route you decide to do.
Tim Chappell - on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:

Aha! Ben Alder.
Scomuir on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:
Geal Charn or Ben Alder
ronofcam on 16 Oct 2009 - 87-194-71-115.bethere.co.uk
Bang on, Scott!

Geal-charn by Ben Alder was the last mountain outside the Cairngorms or Nevis range to hold snow all year. The snow persisted on the Aisre Cham, which is marked only on 1:25000 maps.
Scomuir on 16 Oct 2009
In reply to ronofcam:
I have to admit that I could be accused of cheating, since Adam sent me a number of his reports earlier in the summer. Whereas I don't specifically remember reading it, I must have!
AlH - on 17 Oct 2009
I went out to the NE Ridge of Aonach Beag today and took some pics of the snow patch which I've e-mailed to you. I think it's about half the size of your last pic.
Photos and video here: http://alanhalewood.blogspot.com/
Al
Nick_Scots on 18 Oct 2009
I saw a wee patch from the Spey river, past he sawmill going down river from Aviemore on wednesday, it looked east of Bynack More.

Nick
ronofcam on 22 Oct 2009 - 87-194-71-115.bethere.co.uk
Some excellent pictures and reports of members on Winterhighland inspecting the remaining Scottish snow at the weekend: http://www.winterhighland.info/forum/read.php?2,105949,page=35

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