19th February 2018
(Below) The sky overhead was full of these as I made my way into Coire Ardair today:-
Was certainly an atmospheric sort of day in one way or another.
(Above) 11.05am. Cornice triggered avalanche activity emanating from below the ridge line. Overnight rainfall and very mild temperatures taking their toll on the previously cold snow. We call these transitional avalanches. The faster the transition from dry/cold/layered snow to wet/mild conditions the more profound the avalanche activity. No surprise then that there were 7 avalanches in our area overnight and during the early part of the day, including one large one in the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair.
(Above) Part of the Post Face of Coire Ardair, including Easy Gully – the broad diagonal slash of snow going from top left to bottom right. Two separate wet slab avalanches in Easy Gully – high and midway up – together with one from Centre Post. Centre Post also has a cornice hanging over it, which is something we’ve not seen for a few seasons.
(Above) Saw these two chaps labouring slowly up through quite deep wet snow to the col near Na Cnapanan at about 600m. I felt your pain! Literally. This is on one of our windward slopes and snow is much deeper in lee areas, even at quite low altitudes. Access at low level in Coire Ardair still difficult and tiring on foot today.
(Above) Thermometer read 9.7degrees C. at Aberarder farmhouse this afternoon. Despite the meltdown, snow cover remains very good. The top of the treeline on the ridge in the photo is at 500m. Distant skyline is at 950m.
Cooler, drier on Tuesday which will help consolidate the snow in many locations. Some wet snow instability will persist in deeper deposits. Very large cornices still in place and definitely worth avoiding (and the slopes immediately below them) because they’re unlikely to be properly stabilised until we’ve had sustained cold weather.
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