A vision in white
7th January 2018
What goes around, comes around. Had a couple of fairly lousy weather days on my last two day stint so it was delightful to return and step out today (on skis. Yay!) into a white, serene landscape. Well, serene on the surface anyway. Was ably aided & abetted by ‘The Man Who Shall Not Be Named’, though sans dog.
(Above) Coire Dubh – part of the Carn Liath massif – viewed from the road today. Avalanche debris a result of yesterday’s persistent drifting. Released yesterday, too. This cornice triggered dry slab avalanche was a size 2 and comprises a couple of events that occurred at the same time. SW aspect at 900ish metres. Much whiteness and blueness this morning.
(Above) Coire nan Gall, again viewed from the A86. This coire is immediately west of Coire Dubh. Was also some avalanche activity here yesterday on the extreme right of the pic, though not really visible here. The next photo shows the debris in a bit more detail.
(Above) Coire nan Gall – looking towards its SW-facing side. 890m. Avalanche debris visible below the centre skyline. Quite a wide event – 250m or thereabouts. The crownwall drifted over immediately after the event yesterday. No evidence of a cornice. Very rare location for an avalanche on our patch: definitely not on our ‘frequent flyer’ list.
(Above) ….of this. The snow surface temperature. Huge temperature gradient through the snowpack at the moment. Steepest where new windslab is relatively shallow. Any deeper slab (therefore slightly weaker temperature gradient) is bridging over less profoundly weak layers. In the latter instance, thicker slab gets stronger/denser hand-in-hand with the slowly weakening layer beneath it. Presently, the most noticeable instability is localised and in shallower snow, though the thick slab also has issues of course but is less reactive in field tests for the time being. Watch this space.
(Above) Single point releases visible (again from yesterday) emanating from beneath the cornice line in Coire Chriochairein. The rocky buttress/boss to the left is one of the coire’s most distinct features.
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