Newsletter – November 2019

By 22nd November 2019 Newsletters

Tip of the Month

These days we have such reliable weather forecasts, with all the information available to us through handy smartphone apps, that an ‘old school’ tip like this may seem irrelevant. However, for a variety of reasons it’s not – forecasts can still be wrong; the path of a weather system may have altered by the time you are there; or you may be in a part of the world with unreliable forecasts (or have no access to them).

It’s worth knowing about Buys Ballot’s law. Buys Ballot was a Dutch meteorologist in the 19th Century who stated this: In the Northern Hemisphere, if a person stands with their back to the wind then the low atmospheric pressure is to their left and the high pressure to their right.

“So what?”, you may ask. Well, coupled with an understanding of winds ‘veering’ or ‘backing’, it is possible to deduce where in a low pressure system (storm) you are positioned.  Since this was originally of most interest to ships’ captains, this enabled them to steer their ships away from the ‘dangerous quadrant’ of the storm.

As mountaineers, we have little opportunity of changing our location relative to the path of the storm, but this understanding does give us the ability to judge whether the forecast is not as expected and why, and simply to abandon our route.

Fact of the Month

The first ascent of the Matterhorn, by Edward Whymper, in 1865 (after a competitive ‘race’ over several years against a local Italian Jean-Antoine Carrel) is often considered to represent the ‘birth’ of modern mountaineering.

Route of the Month

Usually a choice for the long summer days, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe is the classic skyline horseshoe in the Ogwen Valley around Cwm Bochlwyd:- up the North Ridge of Tryfan (classic Grade 1), down the South Ridge, up Bristly Ridge (another classic Grade 1) and then down the Gribin Ridge. It’s a ‘must-do’ circuit.

Photo of the Month

This was the view from Tryfan on a bitterly cold November day recently. The scrambling up the North Ridge was particularly treacherous that day because of the covering of verglas on the rocks. The view was excellent though.

 © thesummitisoptional

Forthcoming Events

These are some of the scheduled events coming up in the near future:

  • 14-17 December 2019. Winter skills course (Cairngorms). Fully booked.
  • 11-12 January 2020. Winter skills course (Ben Nevis/Glencoe).
  • 18-19 January 2020. Winter skills course (Cairngorms).
  • 25-26 January 2020. Winter skills course (Ben Nevis/Glencoe).
  • Late June 2020. Alta Via 1 – High Level Walk, Dolomites, Itlay. Register interest now.
  • Late August 2020. Walker’s Haute Route – Chamonix to Zermatt. Register interest now.

Download this newsletter as a PDF (below)

Newsletter 2019 11