Mike and I were out on Meall nan Tarmachan today with a Falkirk Outdoors Ski Touring team of Alan and Caroline. We shared the minibus with Craig and the High Tops team who changed their objective for the day based on the condition of the road above the Ben Lawers parking and took in Meall Corranaich and Meall a’Choire Leith.
There was snow cover down to 400m. We parked at the parking area at 470m and the road had hard pack snow and ice at this level. We were able to skin up from near where the Meall nan Tarmachan path leaves the track and skinned up east of the path before cutting back to the ridge and heading up to pt. 923m. We skied down a short way on to the east face on deep, but heavy wet snow, before returning to the col north of pt. 923m. A good descending traverse on the west face allowed us to return to the ridge, which we then skied down to the track.
The snow (and turf) was saturated at all levels. Generally good cover on most aspects above 700m with North and East slopes having deep accumulations. Much easier travelling on skis today than on foot, but the wet and heavy snow made turning difficult.
I was in the Ben Lawers area again today with Chris and Kim looking at Ropework for Winter Hill Walkers. After a couple of hours working on knots and skills indoors we braved the improving weather and found enough snow to build, test and use some snow anchors on the north side of Meall Corranaich.
The snow pack in the area has reduced to mostly just patches and ribbons of snow on north and east faces above 900m. Above this altitude the turf is still remarkably firm where not taking drainage and some ice is still holding on.
Out yesterday, Saturday, with Nettle and a group of Scout Association permit assessors. We used the area from the Ben Lawers car park up to the bealach between Meall Corranaich and Beinn Ghlas to look at navigation legs. In the afternoon we covered skills for steep ground.
Fairly strong South-West and West winds and driving rain made it quite unpleasant at times and the group showed great enthusiasm in the conditions. A really interesting day with some great discussions.
There are some sizable wet snow patches above 850m, which will freeze hard if the temperature drops.