/ UKC Winter Conditions Reports - Ben Nevis 12/01/17

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Mike Pescod - on 12 Jan 2017
Very cold and snowy weather has arrived in most places of the UK. In Fort William we have snow down to sea level and the tops are several degrees below zero. Combined with strong winds you'll need to wrap up warm if you go into the hills!

We have a covering of fresh snow but not a huge amount really. The wind has blown it onto east facing slopes and gullies and we have a general thin covering elsewhere. There was old snow in some places though and ice is forming fast again. Rob and Oliver climbed Green Gully on Ben Nevis and found good climbing even though it is quite lean. The snow ice is good to climb but not great for ice screws. There was just about rock protection but the cracks were quite icy.

The crags were not well rimed today so Caspar went for Thompson's Route instead of Gargoyle Wall. Thompson's Route is quite hard for a IV when there is no ice in the bottom chimney and there is not much protection either.

The classic ridges have some fresh snow on them but not much else so they qwill be slow going. The big easy gullies are mostly full and quite icy. There are a few climbs in the mid-grades to go for and once the crags rime up there will be good mixed climbing. Remember that crags facing the wind freeze first and get rimed up. The wind will blow from the north west tomorrow so there could be more rime on the rocks of most buttresses.

Elsewhere Kenny climbed Scabbard Chimney today and Curved Ridge was very nice too.

Cold but more calm weather is forecast for the weekend with a slow rise in the temperature. It should be worth getting out for a climb if you can get here.

Happy climbing.

Mike Pescod
http://www.abacusmountainguides.com/
https://www.jottnar.com/
greylag - on 07 Feb 2017
In reply to Mike Pescod:

Might be a bit prem for my trip beginning 23rd Feb but what are conditions like at the moment?

Thanks
8
Nbrain - on 07 Feb 2017
In reply to greylag:

Have a look at Mike's blog..some good info etc!
greylag - on 07 Feb 2017
In reply to Nbrain:

Aah thanks.

For the dislike (whoever that was) trot on!
8
greylag - on 07 Feb 2017
In reply to greylag:

C'mon give me more dislikes for properly planning a trip.haha

Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
17
Simon4 - on 07 Feb 2017
In reply to Mike Pescod:

Thanks for your detailed and informative report Mike.

It looks like Winter is attempting to arrive, at last, in the correct bit of the UK, after bizarrely reducing the South of the country to Siberia while leaving the North in damp warm gloom. Still sounds like a long way to go before it really sorts itself out.

Ken Applegate - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to greylag:

There's been a huge improvement since last week. We've had plenty of fresh snow down to 400m, so the mountains are looking much more as they should for this time of year. We had a brief thaw on Monday evening, which as helped consolidate the snow and start to freeze the turf, but only really up to 900m. Above that expect the rocks to still be loose in places, and the snow to be powdery.

We're due for a noticeably cold and settled period for the next week, so there'll be little change, although we will start to see ice forming in watercourses. Let's hope it stays cold enough for long enough for mid level ice routes to form!

Considering how lean December and January were, it's looking and feeling a lot more like winter right now.

http://www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/blog/
Michael Gordon - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to Simon4:

Just in case you didn't realise, Mike's report is from several weeks ago (took me a while also, and couldn't understand why Gargoyle Wall etc weren't in!).
greylag - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Excellent, thanks for the up to date response Ken, will help in our plans.

Yes, hopefully the settled period next week will allow it to be in decent nick by the time we arrive.

Thanks again, I'll keep my eye out.

3
CurlyStevo - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to Ken Applegate:
unfortunately the mid term forecast is looking back to southerly winds and mild high pressure next week

http://weather.unisys.com/gfs/gfs.php?inv=0&plot=850®ion=eu&t=9p
Post edited at 08:40
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Misha - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:
A bit of thaw won't go amiss...
Simon4 - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Just in case you didn't realise, Mike's report is from several weeks ago

Ah, no I didn't!

A bit like looking at French webcams, always check the date/time stamp, and if they don't have one, ignore them.

LakesWinter on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:

That run actually shows frosty nights and sunny days, which would produce good conditions. That said, other weather models show a return to proper mild and damp sw winds so we will have to wait and see.

In reply to Kisha I think we need a significant amount more snow to withstand any sustained thaw period....
CurlyStevo - on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to LakesWinter:
Possibly then again there isn't that much snow and there is some very mild air heading up on that run middle of next week. After that the high pressure looks to be quite warm air.
Post edited at 14:30
LakesWinter on 08 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Mid winter high pressure with night frosts often gives good nick even with positive summit temps due to inversions, e.g. Feb 2013

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