Winter Traverse Watch


All eyes are now carefully studying the forecast for the next few days. Conditions are very close to being ideal for the Holy Grail of British Mountaineering- a Winter Traverse of the Cuillin Ridge.

Neil Mackay on the successful Traverse 30 November 2010.

Quoting from the SMC guidebook text I have just proof read over the past 24hrs-

In good conditions this is probably the greatest single climb to be had in Britain. Good conditions are rare with one period a season possibly above average since it was first achieved. The good news is that frequency does not seem to be decreasing and the internet now gives aspirants unprecedented access to forecast and condition reports. Anything but good quality neve on the crest makes progress incredibly slow and physical. Tom Patey suggested that a heavy dump of snow with little wind, so that the crest isn’t stripped, is the first stage. A minor thaw right to the summits followed by a sharp freeze and good weather (an easterly wind and high pressure) for the next few days is the ideal scenario. Opportunities must be grasped quickly before sun or rain strip the crest back to bare rock.

We now have the makings- a thick covering with a minor thaw that is estimated to have reached above the tops. Cold weather is forecast but there is a slight hiccup- the normally dream situation of a cloud inversion is predicted.

Summer Temperature Inversion

The more technical name for this is a temperature inversion which means the glens will be cold but the tops may be warm! How warm is the key factor; my feeling is that, above all this snow, the damage likely to be caused will be minimal and clear night skies will put a good solid crust in place within a night or two. Personally I would wait and see what Saturday looks like but be ready to go Sunday. Below a cloud inversion the weather is grey, damp  and murky so don’t get put off! For more advice study the brief download from this website-