Variable windslab distribution

10th March 2013

Variety was the word of the day with both soft and firm windslab plus large areas of very firm snow-ice  all present. Even within relatively small distances we found a huge variety in the snow stability. Very sheltered locations are holding greatest amounts of softer windslab, with exposed slopes being wind scoured, firm and stable.

It was very cold with temperatures as low as -8 at 900m and -10 at 1200m recorded early this morning. Those temperatures combined with a moderate NE wind created a significant windchill effect on exposed skin.

Luckily I had Claire from Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team out with me today – so there was someone else to dig the various holes in the snow, and someone else to get cold fingers recording the data in the field book!

The day started out with views of blue sky and sun on Ben Avon, but very quickly the cloud thickened and a series of snow showers, some quite prolonged, blew in for most of the middle part of the day.

The wind is going to continue to back round and by tomorrow will be coming from the North. This means that the windslab now has a wide distribution with many aspects partly affected. However the transition from snow-ice to windslab is obvious and the change underfoot should alert you straight away when you move off well bonded snow.

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