Coire Choile Rais and the Creag Mhor Ridge.

18th February 2010

A lot of different and interesting snowpack/weather issues at the moment at ‘Meggie. Today was one of those Alpine-like days we don’t get very often with seriously low overnight temperatures, a pre-existing cover of fresh snow, soft slab only at the highest elevations and warm sunshine later in the day. A really mixed avalanche ‘bag’.

The double minus-figure shade temperatures are maintaining the unconsolidated nature of the fresh snow – that lies in many places – some of which is deep. When the sun gets going it’s having quite an affect on that stuff on any slopes with South on it (aspect-wise). So today we had (cold) loose snow avalanche activity on some steep NE early in the morning then widespread single point releases later in the day when warmth from the sun kicked in. And on the other side of the mountain during the afternoon…cold, cold, soft slab and a significant depth of unconsolidated snow untouched by sun.

(Above) The Creag Mhor Ridge. A great ski ascent (and descent) but we don’t often see many people using this approach/descent. A bit difficult to find coming off the plateau in poor weather. Probably not as good a descent as the Moy Burn but, in combination, an excellent way of doing a mini-circuit incorporating the summit.
(Above) The ‘secret’ gem on our patch: Lochan Coire Choile Rais. The lochan is at over 800m and is surround by steep, ice-choked watercourses of varying length. Always quiet. Ski-tour in (at a very friendly angle) do a quick route and cruise back down with long serpentine turns. Your ski-mountaineering boots will take crampons and be great to climb in. A brilliant day. What’s not to like?
Thinner, soft slab that lies on Southerly aspects at lower altitudes shears readily with very little encouragement – nuisance value only but worth keeping your heads up later in the day where it’s deeper and on steep ground.

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