Sunday, 18 December 2016

NW Gully Jan 1983

When you are looking through old yellow boxes of slides sometimes you come across all sorts of stuff that bring back memories of a day. I remember that day because in other pictures of it which I cant show I have on a pair of knitted wool finger less gloves Fiona had knitted for me which were cosy and warm. As a medic I could do stuff with them with some dexterity while not getting frostnip.

Learning point:
Pre SAIS forecasting. There was surface hoar on a shallow snow pack and light breeze. Rather a sad incident when two climbers on the shallow early snow pack triggered a slide that pulled them off. They must have been moving together on the easy upper ground near where NW gully comes out when they hit a deep slab that took them back into NW gully and to the bottom pitch. It buried them very deeply indeed in a terrain trap and they were found by a probe strike.

Take home point is that a shallow snow pack can allow a lot of vapour transfer and then surface hoar or faceting will occur readily. Then all it takes is a wee breeze to load a pocket on the exit of a gully or a crucial transit point to easy ground and then the consequences for a climber or climbers who will not a have a good run out are big - or in this case 2 x fatal.

 The "Gate" just visible behind and to the right of the blue hood up figure. SAR 137 on the way in with two others who survived, but were benighted up high above the release point. I had put the gate back up with rusty wire the previous summer. I bet its now grown over flat in the grass. Richard, Mike, Walter and Pete in picture. Hamish and John out of shot.

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