Fell Top Conditions on Thursday 23 March
Readings from Helvellyn summit at 13:50
Temperature minus 1.9°C Maximum wind speed 31.4mph Wind chill minus 11.5°C Average wind speed 23.6mph Wind direction NE
A classic example of how reading the weather forecast can enhance your day on the high fells. The Assessor today waited until morning rain and snow showers had passed, and the cloud base had lifted, to make his ascent of Helvellyn.
There is still snow down to around 200m, although only in small patches here and there at that level. Above 500m the snow gets deeper and is more evenly spread, although it has slumped and consolidated somewhat since yesterday. This has left a depth of snow at around 3cm above 500m, and up to 40cm above that height, although there are a few drifts that will be deeper than this. With the consolidation the snow has become safer, although there are still banks of unstable snow on all aspects, but chiefly on those facing NW through to E. The exits from Striding and Swirral Edges are steep banks of snow requiring care, skill, and an ice axe and crampons. With a freezing level at around 800m today paths were icy down to about 650m where the snow has become compressed, but not until you got to 800m did the ground generally turn to ice, even off the paths.
On the Brown Cove Crags route there is a steep bank of snow at around 800m that can't be avoided. In ascent it is pretty obvious, but as it is a convex slope it is hard to judge from above when descending, and an ice axe and crampons are needed here. The assessor didn't traverse the Wythburn path around Nethermost Pike today, but suspects that the slopes there will be very similar.
Full winter clothing and equipment, including an ice axe and crampons, are essential for going high in the mountains right now, and if you come properly equipped it looks like you could be in for a magnificent weekend.
Met Office forecast for Friday
Issued 23 March at 17:04
After a frosty start it will be dry and sunny. Staying dry into the evening.
Some mistiness at lower elevations at first otherwise very good with distant fells visible.
Some thin patches around 700 metres possible at first in the far east, otherwise summits cloud free.
Wind at 500m
Northeasterly 20 mph at first becoming variable 5 mph
- Valleys/low level: Plus Minus 2 rising to 13 Celsius
- At 900m: Minus 1 rising to 5 Celsius
- Freezing level: 600 metres rising to 1100 metres
- from time.is
Storm force winds
Severe chill effect
Persistent extensive hill fog
Heavy persistent rain
Medium risk - Strong sunlight expected during the middle of the day
Forecast for Saturday
A slow moving area of high pressure will lead another dry and sunny day with light winds. Becoming very mild at lower elevations.
Very good with good air clarity.
Very little expected.
Wind at 500m
Variable in direction 5 to 10 mph
- Valleys/low level: Minus 1 rising to plus 14 Celsius
- At 900m: Plus 1 rising to 6 Celsius
- Freezing level 1100 metres
Outlook for next few days
Staying dry and settled but it may become cloudy from the east during the day. Chance of some hill fog developing on the higher tops in the east and south later in the day. Light winds.
Staying dry with the risk of some hill fog across the more southern and eastern ranges. Brisk and rather cold southeasterly winds on the tops.
Remaining dry with variable amounts of cloud and some sunny intervals. Brisk southeasterly winds on the tops.