Saturday 10 December 2011

Storm Damage

Thursday the 8th of December was one of the wildest days I have every experienced. It was the first day of the avalanche forecasting season, and I decided to go up to the CIC hut.  I relisead that it would be pretty windy, but have been out on plenty of wild days before so was not too concerned. In fact things weren't too bad until I got maybe 500 metres away from the hut at which point wind speeds seemed to jump up a notch or two. The wind was generally blowing up the path, and so was at my back. Sometime a sudden gust would just flatten me, other times it would increase gradually pushing me into a run, before sending me sprawling forwards.  When on the ground I would huddle or lie there with my hands on the back of my head to protect it from the hail, ice and small pebbles which were picked up and hurled along, until the wind had dropped enough to allow me to stagger on.  Luckily the cloud level was high, and there was not too much precipitation so I could easily see where I was going. The temperature had gone up and there was a fair bit of damp sticky snow about. I took a route, trying to stay on the snow as much as possible, figuring that made for the least chance of injury when hurled over.

 This van didn't do too well either. This happened about 2 hours before a friend had planned to buy it. Photo by Hannah Barnes friend.

I finally crawled up the final snow slope to the hut and got inside. Things didn't seem quite to bad in there, and I met Greg Boswell and friends playing cards. After warming up I nipped out quickly and took the measurements that I required, and then back to the hut to prepare for the way down. The wind was just as bad, and in my face this time but I had goggles, and full face covering. It was pretty hard work, and again I was flattened a number of times, but made it down. Afterwards I had a full body ache that I only tend to get from a long Scottish winter grade VIII experience.

Sometime that afternoon an epic gust ripped the roof of the CIC hut, and sent it off towards Coire Leis somewhere.
The CIC hut lost part of it's roof. SMC members trying to make it waterproof again a few days later.