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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

No calm, blue skies today!

Another day in Coire an -Sneachda looking at avalanche pits, snow belays and braving the Scottish weather. 
The avalanche pits we dug were interesting and showed the recent weak layers of fresh slab on top of drier snow then a harder icy layer as expected. 
However most folk digging an avalanche pit stop at the harder icy more stable layers, we dug through this to find a very worrying weakness or two of unbonded yet wet snow, this is sitting on the unfrozen soft wet soft ground below!
As long as you are not climbing below a huge cornice, in a gully or avalanche prone slope climbing conditions are great on the surface, but bold, with many of the harder mixed routes banked out and some even buried!
Being blasted with spindrift and knocked about by the wind, Liander from Holland, asked me "is this the normal winter conditions Scottish people go out climbing in as in the Alps they'd stay in the huts?" 
I answered by saying this is one of the calmer days of this winter and no doubt an easy fun day off for some friends we'd met, local Scottish climbers and Mountain Guides...!
Lots more photos and crag shots on the Facebook photo album here.
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