UKC

/ CMD Arete?

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socrates2611 - on 11 Feb 2018

Evenng all,

Just thought I’d ask for some advice.....my girlfriend and I are up in Scotland for the next 2 days and we’re looking to do some winter walking/grade 1 routes. Just nice and simple stuff to build confidence as we’re just starting out. 

Our plan was to do the CMD Arete, maybe the zig-zags on Gearr Anonach or something around the mamores. And from the weather forecasts, and based on our ability it seemed that ridges would be best to stick to. However, we’ve been looking at the weather and the avalanche forecast and as we aren’t too experienced we are having a tricky time actually deciding on idea to commit to! 

So based on the current weather/conditions would anyone have any suggestions? Would the CMD Arete be ok? (Our nav should be ok for the top). Are there any avalanche issues here? And are there any alternatives people might have? 

Any help is greatly are appreciated! 

Ben Sharp - on 13 Feb 2018
In reply to socrates2611:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JwD5ajX58q4/V1FRGr4ARaI/AAAAAAAAQGY/cVYMwWi4YfIWlz8fvs7SrX6SzSzNLxhpQCLcB/s1600/map.JPG

https://www.sais.gov.uk/lochaber/

Might be teaching you to suck eggs but a good place to start is the above. You can put the rose against the map and note the elevation which puts the slope up (or down from) Carn Beag Dearg as a considerable risk of avalanche. That's not to say don't do the route but wherever you go it will be a case of assessing slopes throughout the day not just picking a safe route. If you have a read through the sais blogs it's pretty clear that wherever you go you're likely to find a complicated and unstable snow pack above 800m.

Picking a route that goes up and down a southerly aspect and stays low will put you in the least likely place to get avalanched - but you could still find isolated areas of windslab and equally could have a safe day out on other aspects if you're vigilant and plan your route well.

My hazy memory thinks that the zig zags can be quite hard to find and follow the easiest line in poor vis (but that could just be me!)

Post edited at 08:01
Punter S Thompson on 13 Feb 2018
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> My hazy memory thinks that the zig zags can be quite hard to find and follow the easiest line in poor vis (but that could just be me!)

It's not just you. 

 

tripehound - on 13 Feb 2018
In reply to socrates2611:

You would be relatively ok going up the tourist path on the Ben.

(Several years ago we came across a humungous Avalanche that took in the whole of the West face of the Ben from the steepenings down to and into the halfway tarn. The tourist path remained unscathed.)

If you continued to the Cmd arete from the summit it would be advisable to exercise care in the event of high avalanche risk, as well as on the descent from Carn Mor Dearg itself. Bear in mind when descending from the summit to the start of the cmd that the crag cuts in below you and so poses a cornice risk in poor visibility. As always check the avalanche (and weather) forecast, and if in doubt err on the side of caution.

socrates2611 - on 10:51 Wed
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Thanks for the reply Ben, I’ve been keeping an eye on the forecasts and I think the issue I’m having is that my lack of real experience means I’ve got no point of reference to relate the things I’m reading to. 

Really appreciate your advice though! It’s great to get such a thought out response! 

In the end we attempted the CMD got to the top of Carn Beag Dearg and turned back because the wind picked up to a point a point we weren’t too confident anymore! To be honest as well that initial slope seemed to be building with what I assume is windslab and although it was good to get the experience we did our best to stay on the wind scoured side of the slope just to be safe! 

socrates2611 - on 10:53 Wed
In reply to tripehound:

Appreciate the advice tripehound! Probably should have gone for the tourist track in the end (even just to have gone back down it as well) haha but you live and learn! 

Tom F Harding on 12:27 Wed

Orange on the SAIS site just means there actually is snow though... right?

Green = No snow at all*

Yellow = A dusting of snow*

Orange = Genuine real snow*

Red = Try to avoid and choose your route very carefully

Black = Definitely avoid

*Not real avalanche safety information

mysterion on 12:59 Wed
In reply to socrates2611:

Being able to turn back is one of the most important lessons you can learn.

Joak - on 15:49 Wed
In reply to Tom F Harding:

Green= The hill could be covered in snow, which would be well consolidated and ideally refrozen into the stuff of dreams neve snow ice.

Yellow=  "Human triggered avalanches are possible, so good visibility and good route selection is important......"

Orange= "Natural avalanches may occur - and a single person load is likely to trigger an avalanche on some slopes....."

Red= "Natural avalanches will occur - and a single person load will trigger an avalanche on some slopes."

Black= "Widespread natural avalanches will occur- and a single person load will trigger an avalanche on most slopes."

socrates2611 - on 13:09 Thu
In reply to socrates2611:

Appreciate the contributions so far with this thread. It’s been very helpful! 

Am now on my own until Sunday and hoping to do a couple of simple walks/grade I’s or easy grade II’s....any suggestions?  

(Was thinking the ring of steale or possibly fiacaill ridge) 


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