We speak to a lot of people about their plans to Climb Snowdon – and we help and advise as much as possible.
Or maybe we’re speaking to a Mountain Skills group at the start of the course.
The question on everyone’s lips is, “What will the weather be like in the mountains today?” which usually translates as, “Will we get wet today?” or “Will we get to see any views today?”
Ross and I are not meteorologists… but we do know where to look to find weather information for Snowdon and other mountains, and how to interpret this information to help answer these questions.
Having a good idea of what the weather will be doing up high in the mountains is integral to making a good plan for the day. This knowledge will help you plan what mountain/s to visit, which route to take, what kit to pack and what time to start out at/be back by.
It will help you plan which day you go, what sort of extra kit to pack (suncream or waterproof trousers) and what you can expect it to feel like at the summit (being pushed around by high winds or very, very cloudy so you can’t see beyond your arms!)
We use the Met Office mountain weather forecasts a lot, and you can even choose Snowdon summit as a location for a more specific forecast.
The forecast is set out in a simple format and relates meteorological data to mountainous terrain… so what the weather will be like ‘up high’ rather than in Llanberis in the valley.
Another popular site for mountain walkers is the Mountain Weather Information Service, which is run by a team of mountaineers and meteorological experts, including the website’s founder, Geoff Monk.
He now lives in Scotland, after working for the Met Office for 25 years. Geoff set up the Mountain Weather Information Service in 2003, “initially as a trial to understand what information was most relevant to mountain users throughout the year to aid their safety and enjoyment when on the hills.’
‘It became clear that mountain users wanted detailed – but not overwhelming levels of – information written in language accessible to both professionals and inexperienced mountain users.”
In 2016, it was thought that sportscotland (the Scottish government’s sporting body) might have to limit funding to support the publication of the MWIS popular mountain weather forecasts.
A lot of walkers, mountaineers and climbers were very concerned with the potential of losing this long-standing, reliable and accurate service. But agreement discussions proved that a way forward could be found and funding was secured for a period of 3 years, with a longer term solution being agreed upon. Phew, for now…
With future sustainability in mind, MWIS invites forecast sponsors to help with production costs for their forecasts in Scotland, as well as England and Wales.
We are delighted to be able to offer a little support along the way… as we use these forecasts as much as anyone… and we know how important they are for successful planning of mountain adventures…
Enjoy your outings!