12th February 2015
Creag Meagaidh rolls ‘snake eyes’ in the full depth avalanche crapshoot! This size 3 event occurred yesterday afternoon during relatively mild conditions (although it wasn’t exactly ‘shirt-sleeves, Raybans & Factor 30’ weather by all accounts) and must have been quite a spectacle. The crownwall is 1m to 3m high, approx 80m wide and ran out 300m down to the top of the mature birch tree-line.
The crownwall is at approx 780m and on a SE aspect. There are several other more common full depth avalanche paths at Creag Meagaidh – two or three on Sron a Ghoire, a few in Coire Choile Rais and the Moy Corrie. I’ve seen debris from full depth activity in Coire nan Gall, Coire Dubh and, notably, on Beinn a Chaorainn over the years, but never at this place in Coire Ardair. I guess the thing is that if the ground is steep enough with enough snow on it and the temperature/weather regime is conducive, then full depth avalanches can occur pretty much anywhere in our mountains. Predicting them?…Where are those dice..?
There’s some photos in a recent post of Sron a Ghoire glide cracks. Well, they’re more developed now and the ‘downstream’ buckling much more prominent than previously – and this is the same aspect as the Coire Ardair event. Forecasted colder temperatures ‘should’ help stem the flow of meltwater at the ground/snow interface and help stiffen the slab a little…but sometimes the stiffening of the slab can induce other stresses that promote collapse….Watch this space!
Not so obvious in the photo above but quite a few cornices are continuing to collapse in places, especially sun-exposed East to South aspects.
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