In reply to thejerv:
Bit of advice needed - is it worth driving 6 hours to Snowdonia for some climbing? I've done a bit of research, looked at all the blogs, threads and weather forecasts and am still undecided. I know there's been some serious avalanches of late and there are large cornices in some locations. Also, the temperatures are fairly warm at the moment, making cornice collapse all the more likely. I was going to give Trinity Face a miss for this reason and was looking at the Glyders (Fach and Fawr) a look (the theory goes they should have had loose snow blown off as they face NW). That said, with the freezing levels having been above the summits for a while now, will I just be looking at slush with a layer of wet mud underneath? Any advice or route recommendations gratefully received by my car and I.
Might be something to go at on Friday and Saturday. snow-forecast.com giving freezing levels lowering to @700m during Thursday aft/ev. Tower Gully (Cwm Cneifion) was in very good condition on Sunday with mostly great neve (NW facing). But the North and North East facing slopes in Cwm Cneifion (as you'd expect due to prevailing wind beforehand) looked loaded, large cornices also. Freezing levels have been above summits Monday and today so snowpack probably soft now but there was a lot of snow up above 700 metres so a with a possible refreeze on Thurs/Fri, may come good again high up.
Carld, cheers for the advice. Going to give it a miss I think. Can't really justify the travel for the current conditions. Unfortunately I'm busy this weekend but fingers crossed, it'll get colder in the not too distant future!
In reply to rodw(previous thread):
For wintery ridges graded II/III, your choice is a bit limited, but try......
Clogwyn y Person Arete (Cwm Glas)was well above the snowline and was carrying a lot of snow last week.
Cneifion Arete (Cwm Cneifion) is probably too low for current conditions.
North-East Spur (Y Garn)looked pretty white but I haven't been up there recently.
Unless the temperatures drop significantly, these will probably only be snowy scrambles, where you are clearing away the snow to find the handholds.... so forget the axes.
Went up Y Garn today (Tuesday). Had a look at the base of Banana Gully. All the gullys are still full of snow above Cwm Clyd, but snow pretty soft and slushy. Some big cornices at top so gave the gullys a miss. Went up North East Ridge and could see cracks in the cornices. Snow line generally above about 850m on NE Ridge. Lots of water in streams - what we need now is a good freeze!
Did the Cneffion arête today in totally no snow conditions very slippery. Looking up into cwm plenty of snow but looks treacherous massive cornices and the tempreture at Ogwen cottage 8 degrees at 8.45 this morning. Need a big freeze
Walked onto Carneddau past Black Ladders today. Evidence of avalanches at bottom of most gullies - freezing level above summit so soft snow but still masses of it. Foel Grach shelter completely buried - no sign of it. A good freeze and conditions would give superb conditions.
Was up on Glyder Fawr from Pen y Pass on Sunday, up to 800m snow was soft, 800-900m good snow for kicking excellent walking, 900-1000, lots of ice most parties had crampons but, I was quite happy without.
Snowdon was a nightmare with avalanches and unconsolidated snow, it really has been so mild of late better to err on the side of caution keep away from gullies, stay on ridges and use a bit of common sense !
It's warm. There is no frost alert on my dashboard, nor a minus in front of the temperature figure. Infact that figure is in double figures. So I would think a walk, on a ridge would be your option for Saturday.
We went up parsons nose/arette on Tuesday was patches of snow on it no ice just a wet snow scramble no crampons or axes needed, evidence of avalanches to the right of it though!
Was good to play in the snow on the way down though definitely looks wintry around there although its fairly soft snow!
Up on Snowdon yesterday, snow and ice pretty firm up on the ridges above ~800m, and continuous with good cover above 900m. But wasn't too cold, so expect we need more cold weather to freeze things up some more. Crampons made going much easier, low cloud and strong gusts into the afternoon, but otherwise a good day out on the hill.
That was quite unusual for Snowdonia though and the weather pattern this winter is very different to last. The odds are IMO that if the existing snow melts out that will be it for snowdonia this winter. Still anything can happen I guess.
Been up tryfan today. No snow on tryfan! Some snow remains on the glyders and y garn and in cwm cneifion(spelling?) the snow that is there isn't supporting weight and is melting. It was 6degrees at 08.30 and was raining at 10.30 when I left. Wind speed was v strong on the summit you couldn't stand.
This scenario would allow for the development of some severe and sustained cold blasts and significant snow (even to lower levels). From mid-March onwards there is the risk for a dominating period of cold and snow to develop for at least 30-60 days, due to a favourable pattern change to a more negative NAO and in consideration of certain stratospheric influences leading up to this period.
PLEASE NOTE - A strengthening and more active phase of the MJO does not reflect in a negative NAO until 14-21 days later (the reason why computer models are still indicating a positive NAO for the foreseeable at present).
It must also be noted that abnormalities in temperatures near Greenland also suggest a continuation of more recent weather types due to a stronger jet-stream. This would also prevent above average heights pushing into Greenland. However, the characteristics and wavelengths of the MJO for this particular phase (phase 8) should eventually allow for a more negative NAO to develop (my estimation for signals of this occurrence is from mid-March onwards).
The start to March and the spring period is also likely to begin on a much drier note than of late in terms of rainfall amounts, with more in the way of developing sunny periods. This will also bring some interludes of near average daytime temperature to places for this period. However, some showers and very windy periods are still likely to develop at times, in particular, in the northern half of the country. Some of these showers may also turn wintry in parts of the north for in or around the 3rd March. Thereafter, is likely to bring progressively colder temperatures and the increased risk of widespread frosts and some notable snow.
So although March may deceive us in thinking that spring has arrived early due to some decent intervals of sunshine and somewhat drier weather than of late to begin with, do not be surprised to see weather models adjusting to this scenario and a more negative NAO as we progress throughout the March period and into the remainder of spring.
> Is anyone able to report on the condition of Central Trinity, Parsley Fern or other easy gullies?
Went up Banana Gully, Y Garn today. Reasonably firm sugary but not wet snow all the way from 50m below the dogleg with a small cornice overhang, firm and easily avoided. Gully lines immediately to left incomplete and a worrying-looking cornice overhang over the complete ones further left. In Cwm Cneifion Tower Gully looked complete together with the headwall. Parsley Fern Gully also looked complete. Not particularly wintery but worthwhile
Well hopefully the perennial question of "is it in or not?" in Cwm Idwal at last can now be answered (almost) definitively. Working with National Resources Wales (NRW) and the National Trust, the BMC has established a live temperature monitoring station near the base of the Devil's Appendix in Cwm Idwal to enable climbers to check on conditions before venturing out.
The project (mainly funded by NRW, with a grant from the BMC's Access & Conservation Trust) has been set up in order that climbers can make a more informed decison before getting out to Cwm Idwal and thus hopefully minimise damage to the rare and protected alpine flora that's found on these cliffs, which all lie within a National Nature Reserve.
Feedback (via the link on the live page)would be appreciated as this is a trial project.
In reply to thejerv:
Been up Tryfan and over the Glyders today. The north ridge of Tryfan had a dusting of snow from the cannon stone up, with more ice present higher up. Lots of snow on Bristly Screes up to Glyder Fach, it's much more consolodated now than a fortnight ago, there is a large cornice present to the left. Plenty of snow on the summit of Glyder Fach with some big drifts. Glyder Fawr still has plenty of snow, big cornices present with some huge cracks appearing! The top half of the descent down to Llyn y Cwm has formed quite a convex snow slope that needs care. No snow or ice present in the devils kitchen.
On trinity face yesterday. We checked out trinity buttress but turf was unfrozen so went for a romp up central trinity as teams were above is on other routes. Central trinity had bomber snow ice all the way up. Reports that conditions on trinity RH were ok but turf unfrozen. Other climbers on LH trinity, Ladies gully and Cave gully but didn't get a chance to speak to them. Temperatures warmed up a fair bit towards evening.
> On trinity face yesterday. We checked out trinity buttress but turf was unfrozen so went for a romp up central trinity as teams were above is on other routes. Central trinity had bomber snow ice all the way up. Reports that conditions on trinity RH were ok but turf unfrozen. Other climbers on LH trinity, Ladies gully and Cave gully but didn't get a chance to speak to them. Temperatures warmed up a fair bit towards evening.
We approached the spider from the bottom left at about 0900. The snow on that approach was OK but certainly not bomber displaying with marginal layers in it. It was good on and above the spider I wouldn't have trusted the apporoach as temperatures warmed later in the day.
Dropped Black Diamond walking pole near top of Parsley Fern on Thursday.
Would be very grafeful if anyone who picked it up could return it.
Parsley Fern was a plod in the slush from top to bottom. Ridge down to Crib Goch scoured and icy.
> We approached the spider from the bottom left at about 0900. The snow on that approach was OK but certainly not bomber displaying with marginal layers in it. It was good on and above the spider I wouldn't have trusted the apporoach as temperatures warmed later in the day.
I'm glad you said that. We went to do Central Trinity, but didn't like the look of the layers at all (pulled a windslab layer off the top of my test column easily) so we backed off and did winter skills practice. Gutting after driving all that way, and it was our first attempt at a proper winter route so I thought maybe we were a bit over cautious. Started up the base of the snowfield beneath the spider at maybe 12
better to be cautious and live to tell the tail than suffocating in a slab avalanche.
> I'm glad you said that. We went to do Central Trinity, but didn't like the look of the layers at all (pulled a windslab layer off the top of my test column easily) so we backed off and did winter skills practice. Gutting after driving all that way, and it was our first attempt at a proper winter route so I thought maybe we were a bit over cautious.
> I'm glad you said that. We went to do Central Trinity, but didn't like the look of the layers at all (pulled a windslab layer off the top of my test column easily) so we backed off and did winter skills practice. Gutting after driving all that way, and it was our first attempt at a proper winter route so I thought maybe we were a bit over cautious. Started up the base of the snowfield beneath the spider at maybe 12
Were you the team of 3 that we saw about then as we came back down the zig zags?
It's always tough making the choice to back off but it's never wrong to go home safe.
If anyone found a handful of wires on Saturday morning on right hand trinity, clogwyn y garnedd and feeling generous they would be gratefully welcomed home! Woops!!!! They have white electrical tape on them and sad faces.
In reply to thejerv: Central Trinity today, Tuesday. A bit sugary but mainly good snow pretty much bottom to top. There seem to be a fair depth which might well survive the predicted thaw so I reckon it will be there for a few more days. Don't be put off by appearances.
Yeah everything is looking pretty warm from Saturday onwards, but still coldish tomorrow. I was thinking about trying to get up it early Saturday morning before the big warm up kicks in. I know at least one person on the thread climbed on it on Tuesday but its been a little above freezing all week and I don't know how well it will have held up.
Maybe I'm just over-keen to play in the snow though.
Lot of heavy rain thurs night so no snow line but still plenty of snow in gullies on high N facing areas eg trinity face, nameless cwm. Clear sky and temp dropping to zero in Ogwen at 19.30 tonight friday as I came through. Some good sport if you get up very early but big cracks in cornice lines will be dangerous as it warms up on saturday
Yeah went up Llech Ddu spur yesterday and down Pen yr Ole Wen east ridge. Needed the axe but not crampons although the snow is very hard on the upper exit slopes and some determined step kicking was required! Only met one group of 3 all day despite the great weather. Hope you managed to get out.
in case anyone's interested... went past the base of trinity face today, so popped up to see what conditions were like (been in Scotland of late), thought I might solo Central trinity if snow was ok.
Snow slope leading up to start of Trinity Gullies was very soft and loose - dug a quick pit at top, just by start of climb proper:
1-2cm fresh powder on top, then 3-4cm hardish crust (1F-P), then about 10cm of very soft (fist), loose, unconsolidated snow, some looked like hail or graupel. Barely moist. Zero bonding to base. Crust was cracking into slabs around feet, and sliding off scree. Needless to say, no water or turf is anywhere near frozen. Air temp was about -1.
Might have been better in the gullies themselves if there's enough old snow remaining, but as I was just out for a bimble by myself I wasn't tempted. Unfortunately looks set to get steadily warmer from tomorrow...