Snowdonia Winter Climbing Conditions
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Winter Just keeps coming! still a risk of avalanche hazard on South West through to North East slopes, with unstable poorly bonded wind slab in isolated areas, still a real need to take care. Snow pack has a mixture of snow types, now degraded but poorly bonded in places,from very loose unbonded spring snow to graupel through to more stable snow pack in places, weak layers still exist in the snow pack and at varying levels, extended column test in Cmw Cneifion and Cwm Lloer showed low fracture propigation but easy releases at a weak layer 10 inches from surface on hoar frost then again at an ice layer around 14 inches, most cornices have now broken away but still the need to be aware of falling snow/ice above you if your on climbing routes, top outs on Grade 1 routes can be far steeper than you may think for the grade, be aware. Hour Glass Gully in Cwm Lloer has a very steep finish, typically 80 degress in the centre, vertical on the left and slightly easier angled ground on the right this is due to large cornices that have collapsed leaving a steep wall.
The mountains have a covering of snow and graupel, most lying water is now frozen, however there is no neve around as there has been a steady freeze with no thaw yet, this could all change this coming weekend with uncertainty about whether it will snow or rain or both! The usual easy streams ie Idwal are not in condition yet.
Routes have been climbed in Black Ladders, but reports have been that its not as frozen as you would think, with some sketchy gear and climbing on the ledges. Climbs have been made in Crn Las, However, Face Route, Clogwyn y Person Arete, Sinister Gully were not in condition and were not climbed, also Cwm Cneifion however all reports suggest that even though we have had a sharpo freeze for a few days turf is not as solid as you would think. Take care.
Well its snowed overnight, its sleeting/snowing now and its 'forecast' (loosely used term ) for snow/sleet on the tops for the next couple of days. It looks pretty is all I can say! Keep an eye on all the available weather forecasts, web cams, blogs and ofcourse this page.
More of the same Im afraid! Although things are cooling down over the weekend and into next week, with the freeezing level yo-yoing around from just above the summits to as low as 400m. The forecast is for it to be dry and cold for the next week perhaps - it is a forecast though! This could see the start of the ground firming up and some ice forming hahaha, could be!
Not a lot to tell you, its the same weather pattern but with a few cycles of slightly cooler air over the next few days, this will cause the freezing level to rise and fall from the summits to around 900m every now and then, but generally its mild, windy and wet. There was a very small dusting on the tops yesterday and with UNISYS long range forecast giving slighlty cooler weather on the higher hills it may just start to cool down and firm up. Its always a very safe bet to carry your axe and crampons when out in the hills, even if they are a little brown and mushy apart from the very tops.
Its all warm and free from snow here in the Snowdonia National Park. The rest of the week is forecast to be mild, warm and breezy. I have had a look at long range forecasts on UNISYS and they forecasts (which are a long way out) show mild weather from the west through to early January, but as always anything can happen!
Possibly the very 1st dustings of snow are forecast this week/weekend, a little late than normal based on the historical average! Lets hope its another great winter of endless skiing and climbing in the Snowdonia National Park.
Well I havent bothered to update due to all the bad weather, basically very warm and very wet for the UK for the past few weeks. However things have frozen up[ again and although the snow is minimal, some of the deeper gullies do hold rock hard neve and are perfectly climbable as are some fothe the obvious ice routes.
Idwall Stream is in a reasonable condition. Tower Slabs is reforming nicely and would give thin climbing, dont expect to be able to place screws though! Tower Gully is also in as is Hidden Gully. Turf is basically frozen solid in Cwm Cneifion, However route like Clogwyn Du left/right hand are not in condition and ice is very thin indeed, there was also minimal riming on the rocks higher up. So mixed turf routes are good, I would think the same conditions apply to turf routes on Black Ladders, but DO NOT PARK IN STUPID PLACES IN GERLAN AS YOU MAY WELL COME BACK TO A VANDALISED CAR - PARKING FOR THE LOCALS IS BEING BLOCKED BY CLIMBERS WHO DO NOT RESPECT THE FACT THAT PEOPLE LIVING IN GERLAN ARE GETTING BLOCKED IN. SO PARK LOWER DOWN AND WALK FOR 5 MINUTE EXTRA!
Some pics here from yesterday in Cwm Cneifion.
Very wet today ahead of the snow forecast for this afternoon and into the weekend and possibly Monday or even Tuesday. Its also just above freezing at 900m today and expected to drop to minus fugures as the day goes on.
The next few days are forecast to be sub zero temps and snow fall.
Climbing wise, reports are that where snow still lies in the gullies, is now good neve, otherwise things are a bit thin. Reports of good neve and frozen turf on Snowdon's Righthand Trinity, Ladies and Cave gullies.
So all in all the next long spell of extremely cold weather will build the ice routes, firm up the neve even more and with the addition of some snow, it doesnt look to bad.
The recent thaw did strip back a lot of the lower level snow and cover is now mainly on the mountain tops and in the deeper gullies where good neve has now formed.
This week sees temps drop today and tomorrow with a very slight warming possible on Wednesday and then dropping again Thursday and Friday, then temps dropping considerably to low numbers over the weekend.
There is also a forecast for snow on Thursday and Friday, with perhaps heavy snow fall in the Park during Friday.
Temps are set to rise slightly for the rest of this week and over the weekend, with the freezing level rising above the tops Saturday to Monday, after which it looks like the winds are going to swing round to Easterlies again and back to colder temps.
Teams were out in Idwal this morning and comments on the condition of South Gully were that the 1st pitch was thin, 2nd pitch steeper and good ice but starting to get water running as its warmed up so much. So quiet a thaw is expected with things turning much colder agin by midweek next week.
The Great Freeze!!! Well its been cold, as most of you will have gathered. There has been plenty of snow, high winds, freezing temperatures over the past few weeks. There is a thaw on its way the end of the week and this will help consolodate the snow pack as well as get that ice building up nicely.
Central Gully -
Grecian 2000 -
Idwal Stream -
The Ramp -
The Screen -
The Curtain and Devils Pasture
Devils Pipes -
Devils Appendix -
Fresh snow over the Carneddau and Glyderau over the weekend. There is still plenty of snow around although its very wet up till the 800m mark.
from llyn Lloer to 800m then firming up.
The crag aprons and cornices facing north above Black ladders had significant cracks and were generally well slumped after the few days of thaw. On Sunday they were not well bonded but the next few days colder temps should see them stabilise somewhat, keep this in mind if your climbing in the Ladders area, especially if the temperature does go up again, as I would expect some of the larger aprons/sagged cornice to release.
South facing slopes on the Carneddau in Craig Malwodi area had many areas of windslab on a non bonded graupel layer sat on grass which showed cracks and released easily underfoot, steeper slopes on that southern aspect will probably remain weakly bonded for quite some time.
All in all its that first layer of graupel that fell as the first white stuff in the park, it will take a long time for the graupel to bond.
pit dug on a 20 degree south west facing slope at 700m in Cwm Lloer
had a firmish wet snow depth of around 2.5 feet, 4 finger hardness.
A distict 3mm thick ice layer was evident at 15cm. The whole block released
with a firm pull(it is wet snow)at the grass base.
There was a fresh duting of snow in the park yesterday with thin cover from road level in the Ogwen Valley through to deeper snow and drifts as you gain height. Today started off cool but temps have increased slightly and we have a had a small amount of rain this afternoon. The tops still looking like they have patchy snow cover, with better conditions in the deeper drifting areas and gullies.
There has been a massive thaw in the park with a lot of snow cover gone, But there is still a lot of snow up in the hills and hopefully the small freezes we get this week will help to keep whats left in place. More snow showers are forecast for later in the week with the freezing level going up and down above the summits, Its still early in the season for Wales and winter is not over yet, just a break in the cold before more winter conditions appear throughout February and March which is the normal winter season for Wales.
The past 2 days I have been out on the skis for some short tours and first tracks. Theres great snow conditions everywhere at the moment.
Cwm Lloer and the Carneddau are great for ski touring as is Y Garn to Foel Goch. Moel Siabod can be skied from the summit right down to the Pen y Gwryd Hotel an amazingly long run. Climbing wise its still perfect here in the Park with new routes on Black Ladders plus the usual mobbing of anything with ice on in Idwal. If its a easy to get to mid grade winter route you want to climb then you are going to que and while you wait blocks of ice will probably rain down on you, either get there early or seek out the more esoteric and further to walk to climbs.
Well its certainly very white and very cold. The climbing in North Wales is superb. Theres a real buzz about at the moment with plenty of climbing to be had. Just pull out the guide book and pick a route.
As always its a very good idea to check the slopes for avalanche hazard, especially as there has been a fair amount dumped in the hills and this has settled on to an already weakly bonded layer of graupel and hoar frost, so any additional loading will only make things more unstable. There were a couple of walkers avalanched off the PYG Track from very weakly bonded windslab above. Generally, East, South East, South through to Westerly apsects have the highest risk.
Theres been more snow and graupel over the last couple of days and plenty of teams have been out exporing with a few surprises- no ice on Y Gully Left had at Clogwyn Du in cwm cneifion. Tower slabs reported as good ice at the start with typical solid turf for the rest of the route. Tower Gully also reported as in great nick with 3 good ice steps and good neve at the top.Also the Ramp and the Screen have seen ascents with a tip for short ice screws until the ice builds up. Quite a few people have taken the walk in to Black Ladders with Central and Twisting Gullies reported as good fun. I Haven't been out on the skis yet as things are a bit busy here at the moment.
Well the snow has arrived again this weekend, previous to this there has been a good few days of solid freeze down to low levels. For those in the know there may have ben some winter routes in condition, mainly ice and perhaps some of the easier turf routes (please dont climb turf if its not frozen). Today, Sunday, has a forecast for heavy snow and high winds, with the winds easing on Monday but with more snow. Another spell of freezing temps this coming week should firm up the snow pack and give good conditions for Thursday and Friday as they anticipate light winds with broken cloud cover. Im out on the hills next week, with skis and will post back the conditions on the ground.
Well its been a very wet week. High winds and heavy rain with warm weather fronts has now stripped the mountains of snow. The mountains are back to the traditional autumn colour of brown!
Well the first real snow cover arrived on 28th November, almost 4 weeks later than last years first snow.
Temps have been up and down as well as sleet and snow, then back to rain earlier this week that has stripped back a lot of the snow.
Turf is still soft and although the winter scene is pretty to look at no real conditions exist except in some of the higher gullies.
People have been out and about on the Trinities on Snowdon as well as Reades Route on Grib Goch.
A team of two took a look at the fabled El Mancho on Clowyn Du, Cwm Cneifion and reported soft turf and only slightly rimed rock, in short I dont think this was any way near being called in condition.
Lets be sensible and not get into the area of dry tooling those summer rock routes just because theres snow and a bit of rime about, its very early in the season and Im sure there will be plenty to go at in North Wales this coming winter season.
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