Sunday: winter is still hanging on in there.
16th January 2022
(Above) The Big Picture. Looking west towards Sron a Ghoire, with part of the Post Face of Coire Ardair obscured by mist. Distinctly patchy cover but with more and bigger patches above circa 800-850m. Cool/cold temperatures gave quite a wintry feel throughout the day above 700m.
(Above) Lochan a Choire at 620m in upper Coire Ardair. For the benefit of the cadre of wild swimmers out there, the water temperature was +2 degrees C. and air temperature a decidedly cool +1.5 degrees C. mid-morning. Temperature inversion conditions are forecasted for overnight and Monday which will bring cold conditions in the glens and much milder summit temperatures.
(Above) The Pinnacle, Easy Gully and the Post Face of Coire Ardair. Easy Gully is the only low-grade gully that is more or less complete with snow-ice, but it is a bit quarry-like near its entrance. Nearby Raeburn’s Gully (not quite visible left of shot) is narrow and broken in a few places in its lower reaches. Very crusty and/or firm snow-ice underfoot depending on altitude.
(Above) Although very scarce, 3 climbers enjoying some winter sport on 70-80m of steeply inclined ice on the east-facing crags at the very top of Easy Gully. Winter hasn’t abandoned Creag Meagaidh entirely!
(Above) The steep NNE-facing crags of the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair. ‘Cinderella’ is the large and obvious Grade I/II gully in the centre of the photo. It too suffered in the recent sustained thaw and now has more frozen turf than snow-ice. There’s quite a debris fan of old cornice debris beneath it which will have fallen down some days ago during much milder weather. Cornices notable by their absence today.
(Above) Two hillwalkers pause to contemplate their descent of The Window, the high bealach above the Inner Coire. Quite steep ground up there – the camera flattens it somewhat – and no handy way of outflanking the steep snow-ice. Although gearing up with crampons and removing an ice axe from your rucsac can seem a complete pain for a short descent down a stretch of steep snow-ice like this, ‘freestyling’ it down without them might mean a slip then a high-speed slide into the rocks and boulders that lie in wait below. It’s a simple Cost/Benefit analysis exercise and always a ‘no-brainer’.
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