ALARP

22nd February 2018

(Above) It was overcast for much of the time going into Coire Ardair today,  the cloud obscuring all but the bottom half of the Post Face.

(Above) Plenty of folk nonetheless not deterred by the dull conditions  and what looked like a couple of more organised winter skills groups headed the coire direction. Hopefully sharp shovels in their bags if the intention is to overnight and snowhole – a bit of an icy crust underfoot and firmer the higher up you go….

(Above) The ‘usual’ break in the cloud as I made my exit – some cornices still in place around the coire rims, having survived the recent thaw. The snowpack now re-frozen and stable.

(Above)  One of the larger remaining cornices in Coire a Chriochairein, catching the light.

Never nice to be hanging around under cornices – although conditions pretty stable at present and to borrow the parlance from our Health and Safety friends (in terms of risk assessment) unless the remit is to go in with TNT –  I think we are in the territory of ALARP  “as low as reasonably practicable”

 

Comments on this post

  • Stan Wygladala
    22nd February 2018 6:57 pm

    With reference to yesterday’s excellent and quite informative “Long read”
    1960’ s avalanche highly technical assessment
    Is it snowing?
    Has it been snowing?
    Which way has the wind been blowing?
    Is it below freezing?
    Is it, or will it be sunny?
    What did the guide in the Nevis Bank Hotel say before he got too drunk to be understood?
    Regardless of the above, plan route which mainly includes ridges, just in case.

    Risk avoidance.
    Travel roped up with huge gaps between each member.
    Make the heaviest bloke go first.
    No shouting.

    Risk acceptance.
    Actions if caught in the avalanche path
    Remove rucksack
    If possible run downslope at oblique angle to avalanche while shouting “run away”
    Remember that, if overcome, violent swimming motions are advised but that no survivors have ever said the procedure is feasible.
    If escape impossible, bend over as far as possible, grasp both legs tightly and kiss your arse goodbye.

    • meagaidhadmin
      23rd February 2018 10:26 am

      Excellent and timeless advice there Stan – and as that old ‘Avalanche Guru’ Peter Schaerer used to like to say

      ‘if nothing changes, nothing is apt to change’
      (which goes for the Guide in the Nevis Bank as well!)
      Thanks for the shared words of wisdom – I’ll keep my essential body parts in a state of readiness….

  • John Cuthbertson
    23rd February 2018 1:57 pm

    Early 1960s working at Glenmore Lodge. Eric Langmuir heads off to Davos on a jolly to find out about the science of these avalanche thingies. On his return an avalanche prediction was posted saying that were was a high risk of avalanches in the Cairngorms. Staff duly turned up to the morning briefing – to wind Eric up – all dressed in collar & ties. Bemused Eric asked what was going on? Staff considered that it was now too risky to go to work now that there were avalanches around. Apparently there were no avalanches in Scotland before the 1960s – except Johnny Cunningham and I triggered one. Now I am a believer.

    • meagaidhadmin
      23rd February 2018 3:26 pm

      Fantastic!!
      There is a rich tapestry of experience out there in the history of the Scottish Avalanche Forecasting game….

      I was around when DSBW got hold of the dosh to commence it all (and believers then were sometimes thin on the ground).
      Honored to have you and others of your mountaineering kinsmen in the believer category!
      Another brilliant anecdote.
      Thanks for your buzz

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