Variable Conditions

28th February 2008

Creagan a Choire Etchachan and Beinn Mheadhoin from Beinn a’Bhuird

Fresh snow at the top of Coire an Dubh Lochain, Beinn a’Bhuird

We have variable conditions in the area at present due to fluctuating temperatures and wind directions. Most areas have well bonded and very firm snow. In contrast some of the higher corries are holding windslab in the gully exits and at the very top of the scarp slopes. This situation is most pronounced in the west and north of our area. There has been less fresh snow towards the east and south. Altitude is the other important determining factor. We have only been finding windslab above 1000 metres with more significant amounts above 1100 metres. Looking into Coire an Dubh Lochain today spindrift was constantly sifting into the top of the coire with small cornices forming. There is fresh snow sitting on the buttress. Further down in the coire the old snow-ice is visible and conditions are firm.
Mike and Allan from the Braemar MRT did manage to climb a route in their today but spotted the spindrift coming down and selected a safe line up the crag.
We have been forecast more snow tonight but unfortunately it will be rapidly followed by rising temperatures and rain. 70mph SW winds, rain and a 1500 metre freezing level mean that all recent deposits will become destabilised and avalanches are likely. So careful route selection required.
Sam

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