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firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 09.56hrs on Fri 15 Aug 08
coaster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great pic from the top of Observatory Gully on the
> West Coast Mountain Guides
> website in the Mountain Conditions Diary.

Yeah, Blair Fyffe sent them to me (he works for the SAIS Lochaber squad) after I'd been in touch with him. I sent them to Alan Kimber and he kindly put them on his website. That's my comment below the pictures. Spot anyone's name you may know? smiling smiley [www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk]



firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 13.52hrs on Fri 15 Aug 08
North face of Ben Nevis yesterday.

Attachments: Ben Nevis North Face - 14.8.08.jpg (58kB)  
coaster


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 14.37hrs on Fri 15 Aug 08
Zero Gully will make it past last years date of the 18th.

Andy


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 11.14hrs on Mon 18 Aug 08
Was up on the plateau on sat, via the goat track. Still a couple of small patches in corrie an lochan and a fairly large patch in Corrie Domhain (i think...the corrie at the top of the goat track). Couldn't see to the hills further away.

firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 12.06hrs on Thu 21 Aug 08
coaster, I've sent you an email. Can you give me a buzz?

Cheers!

firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 08.52hrs on Sun 24 Aug 08
Epic day on the hill yesterday! Met up with Dr Blair Fyffe (SAIS) at the North Face car park in the morning and then with coaster (Mark) at the deer fence, intent on getting up to the higher reaches of Observatory Gully to see how much snow was left.

Weather forecast was decent for the morning, but a nasty front was forecast to move across us at some point in the afternoon. Certainly the bike ride up from Glasgow in the morning was pleasant, although foggy in places.

Got the the CIC hut at around 10am, and that's where the slog started! Anyone who's ever been to the upper reaches of Observatory Gully will know how much effort is required to get there. We reached there around 11am and, I'm afraid to say, observed less snow than there was on the 6th September 2007 [www.flickr.com]. Strangely, Point 5 Gully is holding more than last year, and Zero Gully still had a tiny remnant (which will be gone by the weekend), which disappeared on the 18th August 2007. I would have expected uniformity in these three patches, which are all very close together, but it seems that this is simply not the case. I have no reason why this is.

Having said that, the sheer depth of the main Observatory Gully patch is truly awe inspiring. Having Blair with us (a climber when he is not working for the SAIS!) gave us the confidence to go round the back of the patch and descend into the cliff face which the snow sat against. A conservative estimate of the depth of snow was 30-35ft, and probably closer to 50ft in the middle. The attached pictures tell their own story:
1) [www.flickr.com]
2) [www.flickr.com]

The main patch at Observatory Gully was (by consensus) 120 metres long by 40 metres wide, with an estimated depth (as stated) of around 12-15 metres. [www.flickr.com]

Point 5 Gully was 40 metres long by 30 metres wide, with an estimated depth of around 5-6 metres. [www.flickr.com]

Zero Gully patch was very small (we didn't visit it), and was no more than a few metres wide.

From there Mark, who had a come off a 12-hour nightshift(!), had other comittments and had to go home, whereas Blair decided that he'd like to come with me to Aonach Mor/Beag. I was relieved at this, as his knowledge of the area is excellent, as was his ability to pick a path around the base of the North East Buttress and up the Coire Leis headwall onto the Carn Mor Dearg Arete! [www.flickr.com] He decided that it would be best not to attain the summit of CMD, but instead head "across country" around the mountain and pick up the bealach between CMD and Aonach Mor that way, even though he'd never been there before! Sure enough, his sniffer dog instict lead us neatly to the bealach and, after a quick chocolate bar, we climbed the remaining 1000-odd foot onto the summit of Aonach Mor.

I had arranged to meet up with a chap called David at Aonach Mor, who is making a film about snow patches in Scotland and wanted to film one, complete with interviews with guys (like me!) who go out and study these things. We met at the summit of Aonach Mor (after I had quickly photographed the Aonach Beag patch) and, with Blair's faultless advice, dropped from the summit down a mossy slope and around (from the south) into Coire an Lochain.

Three main patches were there, with the Pro Talus one being the largest (in terms of surface area), and the "main" one against the cliff face being the deepest. Again, the size of the patches is much reduced from last year, and I doubt very much whether any from Aonach Mor will make it past mid-October unless we have good early snowfall. A warm September will destroy these patches I feel, with none of them being especially large:
1) [www.flickr.com]
2) [www.flickr.com]
3) [www.flickr.com]
4) [www.flickr.com]

Pro Talus patch was (by consensus) 40 metres wide by 35 metres long. The main patch was, again, around 40 metres wide but tricky to measure the length due to the erratic nature of it.

Due to time constraints we didn't have the time to go to Aonach Beag, but this looked OK (though doubtlessly smaller than last year). It did look very deep from the ridge, and the photograph really doesn't do it justice. [www.flickr.com]

Dropped back down to the gondola and took the easy option off the hill.

About 5600 ft of ascent and many miles covered, with a huge "thank you" to Blair for acting as unpaid guide!

The full set of photographs can be found here: [www.flickr.com]



Edited 2 times. Last edit at 08.54hrs Sun 24 Aug 08 by firefly.

Mike_w


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 21.04hrs on Sun 24 Aug 08
Sounds like an epic!

Heres a very distant Macdui (28 miles or so) from Ben Rinnes yesterday.



Attachments: IMG_3926.JPG (57kB)  
Da kishman


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 11.41hrs on Mon 25 Aug 08
Good effort! Was anybody out and around the cairngorms doing a similar recce? Ben Alder, Creag Meagaidh? The snow patches that are visible in Coire na Ciste (1st photo) - how do they compare to last year?
Nice one again!


Lionel


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 15.12hrs on Mon 25 Aug 08
Very nice report Firefly. Thanks for sharing your spectacular pics of Observatory Gully !

Lionel

Jack


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 12.25hrs on Tue 26 Aug 08
Walked up Cairn Toul and Angels on Sun. - pretty hefty patches left in Garbe Coire

firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 20.45hrs on Mon 1 Sep 08
Coire Domhain patch now almost gone. A few on MacDui, Ciste Mhearad, Beinn Bhrotain (as of Friday) and Braeriach are all that's left in the Cairngorms I believe (unless anyone knows any differently).

Geal Charn (Ben Alder) and Creag Meagaidh's will probably be gone in the next few days (judging by the reports we've had), leaving Nevis range and the Cairngorms the only patches left.

It's getting to that time of the year again...

Attachments: Coire Domhain - 29.8.08.JPG (113kB)  
Da kishman


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 18.10hrs on Tue 2 Sep 08
Was out on 31.August, and the Coire Domhain patch was even more 'almost gone' than in your photo! One patch still in Coire an Lochain of Cairn Gorm, 4 at Feith buidhe, 2 at Garbh Uisge, and 5 on MacDui's N.top and snowy coire. Also a very fragmented patch (similar to Coire Domhain on the day) next to a tiny lochan above Loch Etchachan.
Snow in Garbh Coire Mor similar, if not identical to, 2.August last year. And one at plateau level on south side of Coire Bhrochain.
Unfortunately, the ones which I visited close up (Coire an Lochan to Garbh Uisge) were all melting vigorously!
I'm still in the stone age in terms of camera, but might get some photos in a few days (I'll get my 14 year old to show me how..........!)

not logged in


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 20.08hrs on Tue 2 Sep 08
Went to the Coire Domhain patches (3 or 4 small broken ones now) today, but they're seriously much smaller since your photo on the 29th. They'll be gone within a day or two. The biggest is maybe 2 metres long by 1 metre wide and extremely thin in depth. The other's aren't even worthy of note - a metre in length by less than a metre wide. Will not last.

coaster


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 11.52hrs on Thu 4 Sep 08
A couple of pics from Aonach Mor-26th Sept 07 @ 4th Sept 08.

It's looking grim this year..........

Point 5 patch is also declining rapidly.

Attachments: CIMG1187.JPG (692kB)   CIMG1182.JPG (650kB)   26 SEPT.jpg (503kB)  
firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 11.34hrs on Fri 5 Sep 08
Thanks coaster.

Not looking good for Aonach Mor, as I suspected when I saw it in August. At a guess, I'd say it'll be gone by around mid-October. At a guess, I'd be surprised to see any still there by the 20th.

Point 5 roughly where it was last year at this time. Aonach Beag worth keeping an eye out when Aonach Mor is gone/very small, as this will last longer I'm sure.

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