Cold in the shade
14th February 2017
(Above) Carn Liath plateau looking towards the Min Window (right of centre), Coire Chriochairein, with The Window visible over on the left of shot. Beautiful day up high. Cold but with warmth detectable from the sun again and this was particularly noticeable on South aspects during the afternoon. Highly variable snow surface conditions: breakable crust (below 700m) to hard sintered slab, rocks and low-lying windswept shrubby vegetation.
(Above) The entrance to a small re-entrant at 920m on the Carn Liath plateau we call Shark’s Fin Gully. The name comes from an unusual wind-sculpted fin of snow that sometimes forms, the beginnings of it is just visible in the centre of the shot.
(Above) 920m. Cold in the shade! Air temperature here was -1 degrees C. at 1300hrs but the snow surface was a chilly -3. The snowpack here was losing heat to the (clear) sky and maintaining cold surface and sub-surface temperatures. As you can see, clean and quite easy shears didn’t need much provocation in this cold snow on a steep NW aspect. Instability somewhat more widespread on steep, shaded West to North aspects but tending to be localised in NE facing locations.
(Above) The bealach of Sron a Ghoire showing fairly typical distribution of wind-blown snow and scoured snow-ice we have in many places at the moment. Quite often these two contrasting snow types sit cheek by jowel, here on an East aspect.
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