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Thursday, 29 December 2011

A proper winters day on the Cairngorm plateau

We had a good mountain journey in manageable BUT proper windy winter conditions with rimed beards and eyebrows, goggles, maps, compasses and good micro navigation techniques!
Most of the  recent snow has been blown into sheltered hollows on SE to NE aspects leaving most northerly aspects wind scoured but rimed.
A select few sheltered areas on the plateau have gained a metre or two of fresh windslab. This sheared easily when traversed on setting of a small slab avalanche and was great for teaching avalanche awareness. The snow was also ideal digging snow blocks and squeaky snow shelters for our snow-hole expedition tomorrow night.
Within the ski area the upper runs looked scoured and bare. Once we descended the traverse and into the Cas we found a lot of deep drifts which should piste out well on a few middle runs and allow the ski centre to reopen again.
Judging by the fresh snow buildup on SE aspects any winds from the south over the next few days will significantly improve the snow cover in the NC's - here's hoping....
More wintry photos of day 3 on Simon's blog www.alwaystakeacompass.com can be found here
Since my return home there's been several heavy snow showers in Aviemore and a good few extra cms of snow at 400 metres.
Fi was out with a winter skills group in Coire na Ciste and found our old snow shelters here
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