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Would you still go this weekend?

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 subtle 28 Feb 2020

Weekend, and accommodation, booked for going away winter climbing in Scotland

Avalanche forecast not good in Lochaber

Weather forecast not good in Lochaber

Hmmm, decision needs to be made

 derryclimbs 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

as the saying goes "..well if you're asking the question"

(ironically in my chair in Dorset, looking at miserable rain, wishing to be near some snow and altitude)

 subtle 28 Feb 2020
In reply to derryclimbs:

> as the saying goes "..well if you're asking the question"

> (ironically in my chair in Dorset, looking at miserable rain, wishing to be near some snow and altitude)

trying to convince myself it will be worthwhile, not doing a good job of it so far

 MelG 28 Feb 2020
In reply to derryclimbs:

lol can imagine this

In reply to subtle:

Assuming this doesn't involve camping...

Personally I'd go (taking my work laptop just in case) but bear in mind the fairly significant chance that you're going to have to find something else to do that doesn't involve mountains, and your travel may be disrupted such that you can't get home in time for work on Monday.

If either of those is a problem or you're camping, you'd best not go.

In reply to subtle:

Go,   even a wet walk in the hills will be worth it. Plus forecasts can be wrong (temporally) the worst of it might not arrive until Monday.

You may  not get any actual climbing in - but just being out in the hills could be great.

What are you going to do instead - a weekend of rubbish TV and household chores - you'll get to Monday and think - what a waste of a weekend.

1
 Gaia 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

I guess it depends, what do you mean by winter climbing? Easy gullies or steep buttresses?

 maxsmith 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

go, no question.  

1
In reply to Nempnett Thrubwell:

> Go,   even a wet walk in the hills will be worth it.

A walk in the hills in Lochaber this weekend could end up being a lot worse than just getting wet! (Check the avalanche forecast if you don't get what I'm alluding to.)

Subtle - I've been looking forward all week to another winter day out in the Lakes, hopefully climbing an actual in condition route. Of course by the time the weekend gets here, so does the next storm. Frustrating isn't it? Last Saturday it was just too windy to go high. It was quite mad just walking up one of the valleys. Sunday was better, but it was a wild day to be out still.

1
 girlymonkey 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Do you mountain bike or trail run? There's plenty of both of these at low level in the area which you could enjoy. And of course, you can then find a nice cafe to warm up with a warm bowl of soup or mug of tea etc!

It has been such frustrating winter though. I have had very little work, so plenty of time to play and barely any weather I would want to play in. Then Wed and Thurs this week were glorious....and I was working both of them!! I mean, I like to have a nice day for work, it makes work easier, but it would be nice if it wasn't the ONLY nice days of the winter!!!

In reply to subtle:

I am not going so this may be sour grapes but no. 

This weekend is an accident waiting to happen. First weekend of reasonable conditions of the year will attract crowds of climbers who have been chomping at the bit. These climbers will be funnelled towards the limited number of routes in condition, particularly to those routes reported to be"in" here and elsewhere. Weather and avalanche forecasts not helpful. 

Too much accident potential, even if the accident doesn't involve you, you can't ignore and walk past the tangled mess. 

6
In reply to TobyA:

> A walk in the hills in Lochaber this weekend could end up being a lot worse than just getting wet! (Check the avalanche forecast if you don't get what I'm alluding to.)

I wasn't exactly suggesting the OP should go and find the biggest cornice they can and get a selfie on top. 

1
 Fergal 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Just remember Fort william is a shit hole, the sun never shines, but on the Ben in winter it burns ever so bright and  like moths to a flame it draws you in.

1
In reply to subtle:

I went to Fort William last Thursday for 3 days. The weather was awful. High winds, soft snow, blizzards on the hills and rain at sea level. I'm glad I went. I spent 3 lovely days with my eldest daughter. We spent a few hours walking each day although avoided the tops and anything North and West facing and thoroughly enjoyed it. The axes and crampons stayed packed but hopefully a cold March will produce some decent Easter conditions!

 Mike-W-99 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Black Isle Brewery tap room. Saved a few afternoons this winter already.

In reply to Nempnett Thrubwell:

You've got a good chance of getting killed this weekend a long way before you get to any cornices. Perhaps you don't winter climb but the special message on front page of the SAIS today is pretty stark reading for anyone who does https://www.sais.gov.uk/

2
 subtle 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Considerable avalanche forecast for Lochaber, keich weather forecast - I’ll keep the climbing for another weekend - routes will still be there

Now, kayaking, or cross bike could be good this weekend - or even a wee run somewhere  

 ScraggyGoat 28 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

The message is the same as normal consider your objective including the approach, route, descent and escapes with consideration to the conditions, both current and how they may develope. Safe options are possible, but given the combination of wind, low cloud, rain and snow, even if you get the risk down the reward is probably going to be shite!

I'm not bothering.

Post edited at 19:51
In reply to subtle:

Go to the climbing wall in Kinlochlevan, The Ice Factor, have a walk up the valley to see the waterfall (Grey Mare's Tail), go down Glen Nevis and walk up to see the Steall Falls. Lots to do.

In reply to TobyA:

I agree. Last weekend was our annual pilgrimage winter climbing. Rjukan was out as a mate has a knee injury that screwed insurance; Scotland was mooted but the cost:travel time: conditions ratio didn't look good; the Lakes was a convenient, cheap option (as a mate lives there) so we had a couple of wet days at the wall at Kendal and ventured up Blencathra on Saturday. Conditions were biff so we turned round at 2/3rd height and knocked off a random Wainwright instead. 70mph hailstones were not much fun.

As said earlier, the mountain will always be there. It's not worth the risk. Buy some whisky, do some indoor bouldering, hit the gear shops. You'll have the same fun as a group.

 tehmarks 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

I'd ignore the people who are saying don't go because of the avalanche forecast: take that into account in exactly the same way you would for any other winter day, and that will tell you whether to step over the stile or stay firmly on the flat.

I'd ignore them because it's perfectly possible to have a good weekend in nice places without stepping foot on the side of a hill. Even if you're sat in a coffee shop or the pub all day with a good book or talking shit with your partner. Irresponsible from the perspective of climbing change? Probably, but mental wellbeing is also important, and a change of scenery can do the world of good even if you're feeling good in the first place.

There's always something to be done.

 Dave the Rave 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Personally I wouldn’t go on the hills but that’s me. Last week was horrendous in the Lakes even at modest altitudes of a couple of thousand feet. The weather driving over Shap at about 1100 last Saturday was awful and I was glad I wasn’t out.

I would make the trip and do something interesting like repeatedly catch the Corran ferry having pints in the pub either side, then a taxi back. Or go to Mallaig on the train and go to The Old Forge on Knoydary for a few. 

 elsewhere 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

You can set off almost regardless of conditions. Just adjust what you do and turn back when appropriate.

 wercat 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

will no one think of the child?  ;-)

Post edited at 20:23
 Eric9Points 28 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

I think you were right to bail out. The forecast is indeed minging and there are warnings out about the avalanche risk.

I hope people take care in the Northern Corries tomorrow. Looking at the forecast on the TV it won't really crap out there until early afternoon. Enough time to get somewhere you might regret.

1
 subtle 28 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

> will no one think of the child?  ;-)

I’m thinking of my child - they had come to terms with me leaving them for a weekend, they were relishing it as meant they got peace all weekend on the sofa and Xbox - they were devastated when I didn’t go - now I get to pester them to do things all weekend - isn’t parenting grand 

In reply to Dave the Rave:

Last Sunday was super on Helvellyn. It was wild - I didn't wear my goggles although both my friends did, and it was a hood-up virtually all day type of day. But we did the classic round of the edges. First pic in the winter shells review was from then https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/waterproofs/bombproof_winter_mountain_shells-12364

 Dave the Rave 28 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Chuffed for you The weather on Saturday as we left was minging.

 colinakmc 29 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

Both the MWIS and more than one MRT have taken the unusual step of highlighting how bad the avalanche forecast is on FB. At least one of my mates has turned back & gone home from a planned weekend on the Ben and he’s only got 100 or so miles to travel.

personally I would save the diesel for another weekend.

 Michael Gordon 29 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

> Considerable avalanche forecast for Lochaber

In a decent winter that's the state of play almost the whole time. 

4
 Tobes 29 Feb 2020
In reply to subtle:

your comment from another thread - oh the irony! 

“With climate change, and corona virus, should we be travelling anyway?”

In reply to Mike-W-99:

> Black Isle Brewery tap room. Saved a few afternoons this winter already.

I went there last Friday night and was impressed with the ale and the ambiance but thought it was expensive. £5.50 odd for a pint is a lot and I live in the Cotswolds where the beer isn't exactly cheap.

 Mike-W-99 29 Feb 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

I paid 4quid a few weeks ago but depends on what you choose of course

Post edited at 10:38
 wercat 29 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

How cold was it?  I struggled up Swirral on Thursday (chest problems) and wished I had goggles!  Weatherline recorded wind chill of -14.7 on the summit, though my main problem was being unfit and chesty.

Post edited at 12:47
1
In reply to wercat:

> How cold was it? 

I watched drips falling off icicles close to the top of Swirral so I suspect only around freezing even at 940 mtrs, but the snow had settled from a few hundred metres up.

> Weatherline recorded wind chill of -14.7 on the summit,

This lets me bang on about my favourite thing in the world - "wind chill" is virtually meaningless and just seems to confuse people. I doubt at 3000 ft this week in the Lakes the temps have been much colder than -3. What actual temperature did the Felltop Assessor record that day?

 Michael Gordon 29 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> This lets me bang on about my favourite thing in the world - "wind chill" is virtually meaningless and just seems to confuse people. 

Yes, it's a load of crap. -3C with a 50mph wind doesn't feel like -20C (or whatever). It feels like -3C with a 50mph wind.

In reply to subtle:

High avalanche forecast for today on pretty much all climbable aspects in Lochaber. That’s a pretty convincing reason to stay at home or go elsewhere. Plus weather is not too nice, so it’s not like you can do some pleasant low level walking.

North West looks much better avalanche wise. That’s where I would head, depending on weather and conditions. Not been following these closely as nowhere near Scotland but good stuff had been done in the NW in the last week, so I’d be looking at that area.

Just because you have accommodation booked doesn’t mean you should go, or go to the area where you have booked your accommodation. Put it another way, by not going you’ll be saving on fuel and food. And more importantly living to get out another day.

Post edited at 17:34
 Andy Moles 29 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

> by not going you’ll be saving on ... food.

Do you not eat when you're at home Misha? ;)

In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yep, its weird isn't it? -15 and no breeze just feels completely different to about freezing and screaming gale, and actually considerably easier to deal with!

There are some articles around criticising the whole idea of windchill but I've probably linked them all before so don't want to be accused of being a tedious obsessive so won't do so again! ;-) (Although of course I totally am a tedious obsessive on the pointlessness of windchill.)

In reply to Andy Moles:

I find I often spend more when away, even if only self catering. 

In reply to TobyA:

Windchills only purpose is for tabloid headline writers. 

1
 DaveHK 01 Mar 2020
In reply to subtle:

Well I went out on Aonach Mor yesterday and I don't think I've ever seen more complex snow conditions. Everything from fresh to fully scoured in a few steps. Had planned to solo Golden Oldie but didn't like the look of the approach so just went for a wander.

Post edited at 11:59
 mcawle 01 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Wasn't the original point of wind chill and 'feels like' to illustrate/highlight the increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite brought on by wind when the ambient temperature alone might not? I think it can be a valuable reminder for people in that sense.

 subtle 01 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> Well I went out on Aonach Mor yesterday and I don't think I've ever seen more complex snow conditions. Everything from fresh to fully scoured in a few steps. Had planned to solo Golden Oldie but didn't like the look of the approach so just went for a wander.

Were you aware of the avalanche in the Golden Oldie area on Fri evening, and that Lochaber MRT were out on Friday night, all day yesterday, and, to my knowledge still out today trying to recover a body from it!

Stay safe out there folks!

 Michael Gordon 01 Mar 2020
In reply to mcawle:

> Wasn't the original point of wind chill and 'feels like' to illustrate/highlight the increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite brought on by wind 

Blindingly obvious surely?

 mcawle 01 Mar 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Shrug, not if you don't know...

 DaveHK 01 Mar 2020
In reply to subtle:

Yes, I passed them going in and out. Pretty grim.

 wercat 01 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

the reading I gave was taken by the Assessor.     It was so cold I had serious problems taking any pictures though my body was warm.  As I said, the worst thing was the sandpapering in the face and eyes by icy particles blowing around.

While it doesn't contribute to surface temperature the effect of wind chill is severe on humans, more so as you get older,  I agree that the difference between being out of the wind at -3 to -5 where you can have your glove off for a while to do things is quite different to having  perhaps +2 and a wind that takes the feeling of your fingers away the moment your glove is off.  The latter is profiundly more dangerous as you can't manage safety related tasks properly if you're prone to lozing finger use, and mitts, needed to keep hands warm enough, don't allow any dexterity.  If I give up going out in winter it will be because of this I think.

Post edited at 18:46
 Graeme G 01 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> more so as you get older

Can you explain that in more detail? I definitely feel the cold now much more than when I was younger. But I sometimes think is that just because when I was young I didn’t really notice it ie I was too busy enjoying myself 

 TheGeneralist 01 Mar 2020

In reply :

Good to see the hate for windchill.  So irritating when people refer to it in some silly headline grabbing.... It was soooo cold sort of way.

In reply to mcawle:

> Wasn't the original point of wind chill and 'feels like' to illustrate/highlight the increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite brought on by wind when the ambient temperature alone might not?

Absolutely but a) I'm not totally sure how many people really need to be told the stronger the wind the colder you'll get and b) putting a temperature figure on it just seems to completely confuse people. Loads of people - even people who are going out winter walking or climbing - seem to think the wind makes the temperature actually -14. Not that this is some almost arbitrary figure about what it's meant to feel like if you were naked!!!

In reply to wercat:

> the reading I gave was taken by the Assessor. 

Yes but it was a windchill figure, they use those little windspeed measurers that have a thermometer in them as well that give you both the actual temperature and then a windchill figure.

You can look at the 30 day record on the Helvellyn turf and air temperature sensor at 830 mtrs and see that it hasn't recorded -4 once in the last month. Nor have they recorded the turf freezing at any point during that time - both really depressing.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/lake-district-winter-conditions

 mcawle 02 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> Absolutely but a) I'm not totally sure how many people really need to be told the stronger the wind the colder you'll get 

I'm not sure either, but I would expect that it's an easy thing to underestimate if you're not experienced. There is a difference in how the weather impacts the human body at 0°C if there is no wind compared with 50mph constant buffeting, so why not give that information if you have a way of modelling it?

> and b) putting a temperature figure on it just seems to completely confuse people. Loads of people - even people who are going out winter walking or climbing - seem to think the wind makes the temperature actually -14. Not that this is some almost arbitrary figure about what it's meant to feel like if you were naked!!!

In that case, isn't it better that people think they need to prepare for -14 than 0?

Post edited at 07:45
In reply to mcawle:

> In that case, isn't it better that people think they need to prepare for -14 than 0?

I do take your point but then 99% of Brits have no experience of -14. Having lived a long time somewhere where -14 wasn't unusual at all, when I was going to the bus stop to go to work and it was -14 it just meant grabbing a big coat! That's not really what you need on Helvellyn in stormy weather.

Basically I just think the number just confuses more than it helps.

 wercat 02 Mar 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

I have far more problems losing warmth in the hands particularly and their ability to warm up afterwards is far less than it used to be.   It means I'm far more wary of wind chill when crampons etc have to be put on as it can take half an hour or more to get the feeling back if hands get really chilled.   I tend not to wear gloves now as the fingers and thumbs need proximity and freedom to warm each other up.    Core body warmth is not such an issue but it is certainly true that I lose heat far more quickly than I used to.

ps when I started going out in winter I didn't find cotton underwear or wearing cotton cords a problem as I had surplus warmth - I wouldn't think of that now.

I wonder if it's possible to get duvet sleeves just for the arms?

Post edited at 08:43
 wercat 02 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

yes agreed - I suppose some folk might think that wind chill might reduce the ground temperature significantly but to me it simply describes the rate at which I'll lose body heat.   There were people on Red Tarn face that day but it looked as if they took lines on the buttress R of No 2 Gully, a kind of winter scramble.  I imagine it would have been horribly heavy where the snow was lying.  The conditions did make descending quite fast though and there were folk making ascents of the snow bowl and skiing down.

In reply to wercat:

Yes - it does seem to confuse people on the question of turf and that's a worry because winter climbing in the Lakes and Wales is so marginal anyway, if climbers get a reputation for pulling wet turf off routes in those very sensitive areas with rare flora I could see it finishing it off. All the reports I read this weekend said the turf wasn't frozen, its one of the reasons I choose not to come up.

Did the skiing look any good? I think that bowl is a bit too steep for me - at least at the very top, but I have skied up Helvellyn before and descended easier angled slopes.

 Martin W 02 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> Loads of people - even people who are going out winter walking or climbing - seem to think the wind makes the temperature actually -14. Not that this is some almost arbitrary figure about what it's meant to feel like if you were naked!!!

The Met Office tabular forecast on their web site doesn't refer to wind chill; instead they have a separate line labelled "Feels like temperature".  I suspect this is precisely to try to avoid the kind of misunderstanding that you have encountered.

 wercat 02 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

the party doing it looked as if they enjoyed it - if I'm not mistaken the same party I saw skiing down on the way up appeared on the summit to do it again as I was leaving the plateau.

I've often glissaded down the snow bowl, a real winter joy.

 mcawle 02 Mar 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I do agree it won't necessarily ensure people will prioritise wind (and potentially rain) protection over insulation, which I think is your point. It's a bit idle of course, I'm not lining up to die in a ditch over wind chill

 morpcat 02 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

Couldn't agree more. Wind chill or "feels like temperature" is hugely important to me. I'd much rather be out in true -15C conditions than what's actually +1C but with a wind chill rating of -15C. Deep cold but with with dry, still air is 100x preferable to wind and meltwater, so I always check wind chill factors.

I don't generally struggle for core warmth but suffer greatly at the extremities (Raynaud's), and wind tends to be the biggest risk factor. The usual advice about "keep your core warm and your hands will follow" isn't useful for this, I can be red in the face and sweating and still lose all circulation to my fingers. Equally advice about wearing glove liners proved ineffective, as the best defence I have is the ability to re-warm my fingers in my palm every few minutes (wearing a liner makes this impossible). Aside from the obvious risk of frostbite from frozen stiff fingers, it can become a climbing nightmare when I suddenly lose all dexterity and can no longer handle 'biners, screws, and ropes (or in really bad cases can barely even grip an axe).... Soooo... Anyone looking for a winter partner? 

In reply to summo:

Dictionary definitions of chill include "an unpleasant feeling of coldness in the atmosphere, one's surroundings, or the body" and "a metal mould, often cooled, designed to ensure rapid or even cooling of metal during casting". 

Fore me, anyway, the harder the wind blows the more unpleasant the feeling of coldness is likely to be and the more rapidly my body cools.  

But, aye, I get what you mean about the tabloids.  Their content is mostly written for a reading age of 8 or 9.  Most of us on here know what differences a wind can make.  That's not necessarily clear to 8 or 9 year olds. 

BTW, I'm 9 and a half. 

 DaveHK 03 Mar 2020
In reply to morpcat:

>  I'd much rather be out in true -15C conditions than what's actually +1C but with a wind chill rating of -15C. 

This is really saying the same as the critics of wind-chill which is that the effect is important but the number is bollocks.

Post edited at 07:16
In reply to wercat:

I have similar issues as ageing marches on. 

In addition to a pair of silks (which help take the sting out of things when the big gloves have to come off) I wear a pair of cycling arm warmers over my base layer. 

I'm 6'4" and lanky which means that there's a long way for the blood to travel to and from my hands.  A nice cosy pair of 'roubaix' arm warmers adds that extra bit of insulation but avoids overheating and still allows freedom of movement around the shoulder that would otherwise be restricted by donning another full layer.

FWIW, 'roubaix' material has a brushed inner surface      

 malk 03 Mar 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

re aonach mor- sobering news. shows how quickly conditions can change. was up with friends last week and pairs were climbing on the west face most days with apparently ok conditions inc thursday. the wind backed S overnight bringing warmer air and wetter snow and finally to SE during friday. SAIS forecast for friday did predict it  Unstable snow will initially be on North, North-East and East aspects but will form on West and North-West aspects above 800m during Friday. Avalanches will occur in these locations.(although the W and NW sectors should have been red not orange given above statement?)

re windchill- mwis were predicting -24C from -4C/30-45mph winds (what windchill calculator is that?) the day we went up Geal Charn and also no predicted thundershowers. hmm.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oX-8TbQhk0&

Post edited at 13:48

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