/ Another winter conditions interpretation thread - Norries

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mattking_109 - on 18 Jan 2013
I'm heading to the Norries this weekend, and am just wondering where to pitch my ambitions for routes, considering all of the recent, and predicted, snowfall.

I don't mind the wind or the cold, but avalanches are my main concern. I've checked MWIS and SAIS, and there is 'considerable' risk from SW through to NE facing slopes.

I realise that the approach to routes of this aspect will be dangerous, but are you generally safer once on the route? (Providing it's not a gully/snow plod).

Ideally I'd like to get routes like invernookie and wavelength done, but is this perhaps a bit too risky considering everything mentioned above?

Would be keen to hear what more experienced people than myself think, and what they do when the forecast is as it is for tomorrow! (Apart from going to the pub..)
AlH - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109: Pictures from yesterday and the previous few days here- . Yesterday we found that the approaches to some routes were possible safely owing to the obvious visibility of scoured areas between the freshly transported snow. The SAIS Forecast for today puts the greatest hazard above 1000m and whilst this doesnt mean that its all safe on the crag aprons I'd expect there could be some areas for safe travel based on what I've seen this week. Above 1000m looks much worse and I'd avoid anything with a corniced exit or large snowy bays even. The layer of faceted crystals mentioned is an unpleasant weakness that has formed. So rockier things without corniced exits may be safe to approach. Watch the updated forecast today for a better idea and remember, if in doubt about whether its safe, then there is no doubt- don't chance it. Better to go for a look and decide that you don't know enough or feel comfortable to make a decision... and go for a walk/shop/brew and cake... than to get avalanched. Some students I was sharing accommodation with this week made a decision on the hill not to stick their necks out and I praised them for their common sense.
Hope that helps, Al
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109:

A couple of hours ago it was -8 on Cairngorm with winds gusting to 100mph.
Andy Nisbet - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109:

There's a fair chance somewhere in the corrie will be safe, but do you really have to go to the one place in Scotland where the weather will be at its worst? Go west.
mattking_109 - on 18 Jan 2013
Thanks for the responses, they're all really helpful. And yes we have to go to the Norries unfortunately as it's a club trip with pre-booked accommodation etc!
AlH - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109: Its not that far to drive. Get up a little earlier and the time you drive may save you a lot more time battling on the hill?
AlH - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109: and are making thr Mountain Cafe looking more and more attractive if u don't fancy a drive north or west where the snow conditions may be a little friendlier.
StuDoig - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109:

Its not far to drive west to better conditions!

in general, if your looking at routes also think about how / where they end. Even mixed lines can have a snow slope above them which can be really dodgy and may not be visible at the start of the day.

Looking at the SAIS forecast now (high risk above 900m W-Ne, Considerable at least in places on most other aspects above 900m) If I couldn't get west, I'd be thinking about the merits of a day on piste or walking, with a good chance of ending up eating bacon butties in Aviemore given the weather forecast.


franksnb - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to mattking_109: hells lum faces east, take care to avoid avalanche prone slopes on the way there. OR rethink go and somewhere else.

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