Still snowing and blowing!

1st February 2008

Here’s a shot of today’s mountaineering assistant Johannes being introduced to the avalanche observer’s office! This guy is over six foot and has very long legs – even he was disappearing up to the top of them today. For me at 5 foot 4 I found a combination of breast stroke and crawling worked well! Sorry about the quality of the photo but there was a lot of snow blowing around.
The road was closed today so we had to walk from the valley – so a pit site at 760 metres was all we could achieve for you. Having said that the wind was knocking us sideways so it would have been very difficult making progress at higher elevations. We were also using snow shoes which made a massive difference. The snow is very deep in places and it can be a complete flounder – so make sure someone else is breaking trail tomorrow. Exposed areas have been stripped of loose snow.
The snow is very cold and dry and will readily redistribute if there is a change in wind direction before it thaws. Route choice will have to be carefully considered tomorrow as there is a volume of unconsolidated snow around. Any additional load (ie yourself) will trigger avalanche activity in the locations mentioned in the outlook report.
Further snow showers are forcast but the winds are going to ease back to around 20 mph making it a much more pleasant day than today. They are due to increase again on Sunday.
Sam

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