Thursday 10 March 2011

Stormbound Cairngorms. Thursday 10th March 2011.

The MWIS forecast for today was not good at all - click on the link to see what it says. Strong westerly winds gusting up to 100mph! The SAIS Avalanche forecast for the Northern & Southern Cairngorms wasn't as bad as for areas out west though - giving N through to S as being considerable above 800M, whereas The Ben, Creag Meagaidh and Glen Coe were given a high risk category of avalanches likely above 900M. The remaining mock client had left Iain a message indicating he was unfit to go on the hill today - so that was that! Despite this, Iain decided to take a drive up to Coire Cas to see if the weather really was as bad as the forecast indicated - it was! The first photograph is a view across Loch Morlich, where, it didn't seem so windy, but looking up at the northern corries, it was clearly very wild. The cloud was moving across the skyline rapidly and it looked as though there was a great deal of snow being blown - not a climbing day! The second photo is from Cairngorm Mountain's car park at Coire cas. As Iain was getting here, a squall was blowing in from the west and then it started to snow heavily - obliterating the view beyond a few hundred metres. There were very few cars parked - probably all belonging to employees of the ski centre and no sign of any Glenmore Lodge mininuses. As they are running an intro to winter climbing course this week - Iain wonders what they are doing with their clients today? So, back in the car and back down the hill - a view out of the Kendal Mountaineering services Mondeo. It was snowing harder than ever and blowing some. Visibility was down to a few yards at times and the road was being covered by fresh snow fairly rapidly. Iain noticed that there wasn't a massive covering of fresh snow on the hills this morning - it being indicated last night that up to 30cms were likely to be deposited, but there wasn't anything like that depth at Coire Cas. Most likely though that the westerly gale had blown most of it away eastwards - hence the higher avalanche category on those slopes. On the way back down, Iain swung back up to the Ciste car park with a view to taking a walk in to: and checking out, the Ciste crag - a rocky buttress on the E side of the corrie just a few hundred metres up from the now derelict Ciste chairlift station. This was the view from the Ciste car park towards the corrie at 09:00. Iain thinks that if the weather is better tomorrow, he might take a walk up into Coire Na Ciste to scope it out as a bad weather venue for next week. The forecast is supposed to be better then, with high pressure moving in - but one never knows in the mountains!

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