After the last couple of years we have been lulled into a false sense of entitlement when it comes to snow and ‘proper winters’. 2009-2010 saw some real snowfall on the mountain across the U.K., with Snowdonia seeing several feet at times and most of the ice climbs in Cwm Idwal had people fighting to be the first on the route and Snowdon resembled Mt Vinson…
Your author getting all excitable on the summit ridge
But this year we have been watching the weather forecasts, scanning the skies looking for those telltale clouds heavy with snow and nothing. Not a flake. There was a little bit towards the end of 2011 but it had all melted away by mid January. Day and night time temperatures were well into the positive figures and the early spring flowers were starting to make an appearance. Even the eucalyptus tree in the back garden was growing! The warm weather must have started people thinking about the coming spring as we have received lots of bookings for our foraging course in May and even the honeysuckle is starting to appear in the woods…
Then some cold air sauntered down from the arctic, met some wet air, dropped some snow and the mountains once again looked like misshapen wedding cakes.
So at the moment the conditions are lots of snow on the ground, lots of cold in the air and not much consolidation. Ice is forming in streams and on the edges of lakes, but the classic winter climbs are nowhere near in condition yet. we definitely need a bit of a melt and then a freeze to help bind the snow layers together, and also to help freeze the ground under the snow.
If you are heading out take care as always, plenty of spare clothing and make sure you take goggles too. The weekend forecast is for a little bit of warmer weather to creep back in, but it may bring snow along with it. the Met Office has issued a Severe Weather Warning (Yellow) for Wales this weekend.
Spring will come back though, and on the first weekend in March we will be out in the hills on our ‘Girls Only’ beginners navigation course. This course is only open to women and provides a supportive, friendly and fun learning environment. You can also now book your place online, and pay your deposit securely there and then using our Paypal booking system.
Back to the valley after a day exploring the hills