Trail breaking required

22nd March 2008

The A93 was closed all morning. As soon as it opened in the early afternoon there was a steady stream of cars heading North into Aberdeenshire from Tayside. Braemar was full of heavily kitted up walkers doing low level walks as they waited for the road to open.
It has remained both windy and showery for the past 24 hrs with the result that there is a more widespread distribution of windslab present on the hill now. Exposed areas remain completely stripped of snow but sheltered areas now contain deeper windslab and trail breaking is required. Mostly I was breaking through to around my knees today which equates to an average of around 50cm of foot penetration. The new snow is very dry and light though. Deep drifts are present in the most sheltered locations and the snow remains highly layered and weakly bonded.
The snow showers tomorrow should be lighter and less frequent than today, but with the temperatures remaining so cold the rate of consolidation will be slow. 40 mph Nth winds will continue to drift any available deposits so weakly bonded windslab will continue to be an issue on the slopes mentioned in the main report. North facing slopes have received a battering in the past few days and are scoured and mostly firm. Just watch out for pockets of windslab cross-loaded into prominent features. If it’s soft – it’s suspect – do a shear test!

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