Hidden dangers in winter wonderland

Snow - cornices
Snow - cornices

Walkers are being warned to take extra care while out in the Peak District as a result of potentially dangerous conditions.

Members of Edale Mountain Rescue Team issued the appeal after heavy snow and south-easterly winds created spectacular ‘cornices’ on exposed edges. Stanage Edge is particularly affected.

The overhanging snow banks are often suspended over steep outcorps of rock.

A spokesman said: “From above they can appear solid, but they are unstable and they will quickly collapse if walked on by the unwary!”

The cornices are also a hazard to anyone passing below. As temperatures rise, the snow melts, making the structures unstable; they may then collapse, resulting in small avalanches.

The spokesman said: “Some popular routes under the edge are particularly threatened by this and already we’ve seen some significant collapses on to the 
Roman Road bridleway.

“Blocks of snow the size of washing machines have landed on the path – fortunately not while anyone was passing.”

He added: “These conditions are very unusual for our area and many visitors may not be familiar with the hazards, which are more commonly associated with more mountainous terrain.

“We’re keen that people should get out and experience this beautiful area, but we’d ask everyone to take extra care.”