Snow showers continuing

23rd March 2008

It has stayed cold with fairly frequent snow showers coming through today- some of those containing a significant percentage of graupel. The wind chill on exposed skin was quite significant due to the combined effect of the low temperatures and the wind. Although the winds have eased a little they are still plenty strong enough to drift the dry light deposits that are present at the moment. Add to that localised geographical “squeezing” of the wind and some locations had significant drifting occuring today. One venue we tried to visit was difficult to breath at and impossible to see much due to all the snow blowing around. The snow cover is gradually improving as the winds ease back but the cover on the hills is still very mixed with both wind scoured areas and drifted areas present. The drifts are soft and deep and trail breaking is required (by the unlucky person in your party.) If you get yourself onto the old wind scoured snow though it is firm and fairly icy giving much faster walking conditions – crampons are needed though on steeper slopes. We saw more ski mountaineers out today than walkers – If you plan it right there is some really good snow around – but you are going to have to work quite hard though as the conditions are very mixed under ski!
It looks like tomorrow is going to give us more of the same with cold, windy weather and snow showers forecast. Freezing level will be 200 metres with minus 6 forecast at 1000m . Winds – North and 45 mph. So googles will be handy as will a fleece buff to keep the wind off your face. I have burnt the skin on my cheek bones in these kind of conditions – be warned you have to walk around with red/brown peeling patches on your face!!!

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