Tuesday, 29 March 2011

It's hot, snowy, very beautiful but just a little bit dodgy

We've just had more or less 2 weeks of sun, interpersed with the very odd snowflake here and there. The snowshoeing is still excellent, we've had some fabulous days as the photos show, but there's no doubt that the end of the season is shaping up to be one where you need to choose your slopes carefully and be ready to change plans if you have the slightest doubt.

There's plenty of safe snowshoe walks but you need to know what you're looking for. 3 days in Italy a week ago we saw slopes that were ready to slide all around us. We ourselves were perfectly safe but venturing off the track was certainly not an option.

The snowpack has been shallow all season and the long very cold period early in the year led to the formation of a deep layer of depth hoar. On top of this we have numerous wind slabs, and now that it's very hot the whole lot is ready to go in some places.

However, all that said, it's wonderful to be walking in bright sun with uninterrupted views, warm enough to picnic on summits and cols without wearing 2 coats and 3 hats.

Snowshoeing remains a joy but as with all mountain activities, the deal is - if in doubt turn back. The mountain will be there another day - we must make sure we are.

No comments: