7th February 2020
Top quality day on Friday, though looking a lot less inviting over the weekend and into next week. The Met Office have issued weather warnings for the Highlands for Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday.
Executive summary: if it’s not windy it’ll be snowy, sometimes both.
My plan? For starters, I’ll have my trotters up in front of the woodburner watching the rugby on the telly on Saturday. Has a lot to recommend it bearing in mind the weather forecast!
(Above) Gorgeous day today, though the winds did pick up later and some high cloud rolled in. L to R: Puist Coire Ardair, Sron a Ghoire, Bellevue Buttress, Raeburn’s Gully, Pinnacle Buttress, Easy Gully, the Post Face of Coire Ardair and Coire nan Gall as seen from Laggan this morning. Interesting, seemingly contradictory temperature regime today. The air temperature was +2.7 degrees C at 850m but the snow surface was nearly -2. Looks like the clear skies will have allowed heat from the snow surface to escape directly to the atmosphere by long wave radiation causing the apparent anomaly.
(Above) A team of two approaching the top of Raeburn’s Gully this morning. Note the icicle near the climbers: often blue when fully developed and forms a minor cave behind it when it touches down on the snow. The gully got much busier later…..
(Above) A large ‘sentinel’ boulder of cornice debris welcomes one to Easy Gully! Always an atmospheric place. Cornices were no real issue today; the boulder serves as testament to milder, wetter days in the not too distant past.
(Above) A party of two using Easy Gully for egress off the plateau, seen here down-climbing one of the steeper sections. Finished my formal observations in the gully and must have missed them by minutes. ‘Last Post’, a Creag Meagaidh classic ice route, on the far right of shot and in comparatively thin condition today.
(Above) Bellevue Buttress right with the short but steep North-facing aspects immediately to its East. Skyline is at 1040m. Quite a lot more snow likely to be building in the next 24hrs. Stability expected to decline quite sharply here and on other lee slopes later in the afternoon on Saturday. (…the rugby on the telly a much more appealing prospect, ne c’est pa?)
(Above) Mass ascent of Raeburn’s Gully spotted later. There are 10 people in the pic. Unusual for Creag Meagaidh. Not really used to Northern Corries-esque density of climbers on our patch, but conditions were pretty favourable and they made good use of the weather window.
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