Cwm Idwal and Cwm Cneifion temperature gauges go live 1st December – useful conditions data service for winter climbers starts up again

Tim Badcock on the left hand finish pitch to Great Tower Buttress VI 7 Photo: Si Panton

Tim Badcock on the left hand finish pitch to Great Tower Buttress VI 7, Bristly Ridge Photo: Si Panton

Here we are again, on the cusp of another winter climbing season. The first snow on the tops has already been and gone and keen winter climbers dare to dream of a strong season ahead, perhaps one as good as the wonderfully alpine-esque one of 2012-13.

If the snow and ice does arrive then winter climbers now have a very useful tool to help plan days out. The temperature gauge scheme set up in Cwm Idwal (at 600m below Clogwyn y Geifr) and Cwm Cneifion (at 850m altitude in the ground between Clogwyn Du and Seniors’ Ridge) by Natural Resources Wales in 2013/14 goes live again on Tuesday 1st December.

You can view the temperature data page here: www.thebmc.co.uk/idwal

The remote temperature sensing station generates live data and records not only the air temperature but also the temperature of the turf at 5cm and the ground at 15 and 30 cm.

This information is then sent by radio signal to an internet feed at Ogwen Cottage and then to the BMC website. The intention is that climbers will be able to use this information to gauge if conditions are really suitable for winter climbing, so avoiding the situation where people may make the long drive or effort to get to Snowdonia and possibly then be tempted to attempt routes which are not in condition and thus potentially causing damage to the vegetation.

More guidance on winter climbing best practice and the potential impact on rare plants can be found in the North Wales White guide – you can download a free copy of it here: www.thebmc.co.uk/north-wales-white-guide.

For up to date information on routes in Cwm Idwal and on Clogwyn Du check out the North Wales Winter Climbing guide.

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