8th February 2016
Not such nice conditions of late – culminating with ‘The full Scottish’ yesterday (Sunday) and blizzard conditions on the tops whilst soaked to the underpants from horizontal rain at the bottom!
Finally the wind & rain stopped and the sun came out – if only briefly!
First glimpse of the ‘propsects’ for the day from the A86 near Kinloch Laggan on the drive to Creag Meagaidh
Coire nan Gall – on closer inspection, again from the A86 (revealed under a full new winter raiment)
Hmmmm – perhaps not!…..our chosen venue each day can be something of a movable beast.
An academic paper risk assessment to start our day takes into consideration overnight weather, current and pre-existing conditions, available personnel etc and from this a theoretic venue for a ‘best’ place to visit is made – in reality flexibility is the name of the game and it’s often not until feet get on the ground before a final picture of ‘best’ is formed.
An hour or so later – small debris trails from recent loose snow slides at around 800m
Easterly aspects. These following recent avalanche activity were of some interest for today’s pit site (and more importantly for pit digging – in the sun!)
In the main these roller balls are usually fairly small – although at certain times and in certain locations they can be sizable & big enough to constitute a reasonable hazard….
As events transpired conditions underfoot to our ‘point of interest’ for today’s pit at 800m were not so bad – and whilst all was indeed under a mantle of new snow (requiring thigh wading techniques, away from main paths) temperature fluctuations had done much to help with the consolidation and stability of overnight accumulations.
In truth today’s exercise something of a ‘stable door after the horse has bolted’ in its attempt to document a snow profile on a similar aspect, at a similar elevation of recent avalanche activity – such is the nature of the Scottish Avalanche Beast – a day after is often a different world!
Respect to those out playing their winter games these past few days – I met a couple of hard core snowboard dudes yesterday who had overnighted and ‘camped’ at the Loch – through good judgement / luck or otherwise they managed some turns on their split boards on the slopes down from the ‘window’ Sunday am before being forced off the hill in the face of the ‘Full Scottish’……
Not so fortunate those of a differing ‘code’ out to climb a route on Saturday and who were avalanched out of the ramp on Staghorn……brusies hopefully heal and shredded rucksacks replaced.
The fast changing underfoot conditions of the Scottish winter environment often provides a fine balance of ‘stop ‘n play’ or ‘pack up and go’.
(This blog seeks to make no judgement on either decision)
Experience often said to be the sum total of our near misses…….
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