Three strikes and you’re out.
8th April 2021
The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues information to support permitted activity under current Scottish Government guidance.
This blog is intended to provide hazard and mountain condition information to help plan safer mountain trips.
We have an unwritten rule at SAIS Creag Meagaidh that if you’re blown over 3 times during the day you immediately turn tail and head home.
Strike One. Aberarder Farmhouse car park. The wind slams the car door into me as I’m donning wet weather gear in the pi**ing rain and I fall arse first into a puddle. Needless to say, ‘We are not amused’. A portentous start to the day? (OK, technically not blown over but definitely wind related.)
Made it to Lochan a Choire in upper Coire Ardair, here:-
(Above) A snatched photo between massive and powerful squalls that spun across the surface of the loch with little or no warning.
Bracing against the sudden squalls I lurched along the loch-side path heading for the Inner Coire. Strike Two occurs as I attempt to stride across a large puddle on the path and am swept suddenly, crisp packet-like, into a boggy morass beside the path. Muddied but unbowed I managed to make it into the Inner Coire, did the necessary observations and took photos of avalanche debris.
Strike Three. Easy Gully: the top of the talus fan to take more photos of avalanche debris. Was a bit of a fight (or graunch, perhaps?) getting there but made it more or less upright with dignity intact. Relaxing a bit coming down the steep ground, I was momentarily caught off balance by a powerful gust, did an exaggerated form of ‘dad-dancing’ before tumbling head first into some (mercifully) soft snow. What was said after that cannot be relayed on a public forum even with disguising asterisks. But next stop was Aberarder, the car, and home.
Yes, we had some avalanches today. One big one in Easy Gully with debris 1.5+m deep and two more in the Inner Coire in a couple of our frequent flyer locations.
(Above) Easy Gully avalanche debris. Good Size 2 avalanche almost certainly emanating out of South Post. There’d been a lot of early drifting in cold temperatures followed quickly by much milder conditions and rain at all elevations save for summit level. This lot came down at around 1245 to 1300hrs today. A pretty classic ‘transitional’ Scottish avalanche. (‘Transitional’ because it occurred during the transition from cold/snowy/blowy conditions to milder/wetter weather, or at least shortly thereafter.)
(Above) ‘Cinderella’, a low grade gully route in the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair and one of our frequent flyer avalanche paths. Size 1 avalanche here.
(Above) Just west of the ‘Cinderella’ avalanche and towards The Window, a Size 0.5. I saw this one slide down as I photographed the ‘Cinderella’ debris.
Was snowing as I made my way
in total disarray off the hill and some new windslab will have been blown onto E aspects above 1000m. More Arctic-influenced weather tomorrow: much colder with showers of hail, graupel and snow. The old soft and moist snowpack should respond well to the colder conditions and become firmer, crusty & better stabilised in most places. Some new but localised windslab expected to develop at the top of lee slopes and gully tops by the day’s end on Friday.
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