Sunday, 6 January 2008
Whoopee - Snow filled gullies...
The weather was a lot more settled today and for the first time for a few days it was possible to see the exact snow cover. In fact, it looked absolutely fantastic with all the north facing gullies and sheltered hollows completely filled with deep snow. As expected the tops and plateau looked a bit wind scoured. The storm force southerly winds and blizzards have really done the trick with all the north facing gully lines now completely filled.
In the Cairngorm ski area most of the middle runs looked to be complete with the East Gully, the Ciste Gully and West Wall looking especially good. Local skiers were making the most of today's more settled weather and were having fun descending the untracked powder in the Ciste gully. At least I think it was powder! The fact that many of the tows weren't working didn't seem to deter them though they might have had second thoughts when they reached the bottom...!
The White Lady and Cas gunbarrel have also been completely filled. For ski mountaineers and climbers returning from the plateau the Lurchers burn line has now been filled in.
The lower car park runs and Fiacaill ridge are actually filled with rock hard snow making an excellent base for the snow that's forecast for later this evening and throughout the coming week. On the downside whether the ski area will get the tows up and running quickly is another matter as it looked as though some of the cables are down or in need of maintenance.
Looking through the telescope it looked like most of the climbing gullies were banked up with snow and several of the popular ice lines looked good from our roadside viewpoint.
The snow seems to have consolidated remarkably quickly at 600 metres but whether this is case higher up on some of the climbs is doubtful. Certainly the gullies, scarp and cornice exits will require extreme caution especially as a lot more snow is forecast.
All in all it's an absolutely fantastic start to the 2008 winter season and the first time for a few years that all the main gully lines have been filled so early in the New Year.