Be Avalanche Aware

Be avalanche aware folks. Lots of snow and strong winds about at the moment. If it calms down towards Easter a lot of slides might be triggered by the unwary. Ice climbing on Ben Nevis is very good at the minute, BUT, approaches and exits from routes are seriuosly effected by avalanche hazard.


Avalanche, the gung-ho human factor

Read this link and be aware of where you climb. Just because others have climbed a route, it does not make it safe.

Try this one as well. Go cautiously. Modern kit helps to go harder and higher and quicker, but experience is a long road to safety. It’s not gained by by a few trips to snowy mountains. Already this winter two climbers tried to ascend Point Five Gully as their first route and had an accident. Fortunately not a serious one

High avalanche risk

Considerable amounts of snow have fallen, driven in by gales from a westerly quarter, in the last few days since the thaw. The avalanche risk has risen accordingly, so stay clear of anything you are not sure about or has appeared on the SAIS reports for the area you intend visiting. Yesterday was a pretty good day and the Shroud had some action according to Adam Hughes. Well done guys. Above that route is a large basin of snow, so maybe not a great route to go on just now. Another team actually battled up Observatory Gully yesterday and reported Smith’s Route in very good condition. Once again don’t bother, unless you have some form of suicidal tendency in the current conditions! We have a few spare beds at Calluna this week, where we are accommodating the University of Central Lancashire on a winter skills week, run by Adele Pennington


Avalanche detection

Recent useful information from Chris EnsollĀ  (Feb 16th) and others when using the Avatech avalanche probe a few days ago. Push it in the snow and it gives a profile of snow hardness to 150 cm. Chris dug a full pit using old school shovels and compared results. The Avatech probe found the same hard/soft layers pretty much instantly. The information can be shared online. If you want to buy one talk to your bank manager.