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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Another year another winter and so far better than most!



It's been pretty stormy recently with the snow being blasted off exposed slopes into sheltered north facing hollows and gullies. There's also been several rapid freeze thaw cycles transforming the deep snow in the gullies and fattening the ice. 
We've now got good snow ice for climbing when it's frozen and wet spring snow for skiing when it's thawing! 
Unfortunately during the recent thaw cycle the rime ice has been stripped from the crags and they are now looking very black. 
If you believe the weather forecasts, we'll have an extended thaw until Sunday with very little overnight  freezing. Warmer temperatures without a freeze will further strip the snow and ice from the crags, increase the rockfall, full depth avalanche and cornice collapse hazards.
The good news is that we've now got a good build-up of consolidated snow in the gullies and this should survive a shortish mild spell to create an excellent base. The strong winds will dry off the rock on exposed ridges too so it's not all bad news, as long as you make the right choices! 
I'll add a few photos from our advanced Winter Mountaineering course later.
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