Cold in the shade

14th February 2017


(Above) Carn Liath plateau looking towards the Min Window (right of centre), Coire Chriochairein, with The Window visible over on the left of shot. Beautiful day up high. Cold but with warmth detectable from the sun again and this was particularly noticeable on South aspects during the afternoon. Highly variable snow surface conditions: breakable crust (below 700m) to hard sintered slab, rocks and low-lying windswept shrubby vegetation.


(Above) The entrance to a small re-entrant at 920m on the Carn Liath plateau we call Shark’s Fin Gully. The name comes from an unusual wind-sculpted fin of snow that sometimes forms, the beginnings of it is just visible in the centre of the shot.


(Above) 920m. Cold in the shade! Air temperature here was -1 degrees C. at 1300hrs but the snow surface was a chilly -3. The snowpack here was losing heat to the (clear) sky and maintaining cold surface and sub-surface temperatures. As you can see, clean and quite easy shears didn’t need much provocation in this cold snow on a steep NW aspect. Instability somewhat more widespread on steep, shaded West to North aspects but tending to be localised in NE facing locations.


(Above) Small cornices in place but only over steeper NW aspects.


(Above) The bealach of Sron a Ghoire showing fairly typical distribution of wind-blown snow and scoured snow-ice we have in many places at the moment. Quite often these two contrasting snow types sit cheek by jowel, here on an East aspect.





Comments on this post

  • Will Close-Ash
    15th February 2017 8:56 am

    How is the snow cover at The Window, any deep drifts?

    • meagaidhadmin
      15th February 2017 5:22 pm

      For snow-holing, I guess?
      No, is the simple answer unfortunately. The Window was more or less devoid of snow today (Weds) when seen from afar. The approach from the Inner Coire is pretty much a walk or scramble over scree/talus. More likely to see a bit more of a build up on NW aspects on the other side of The Window but even here it’s not as deep as you might hope.

  • Will Close-Ash
    15th February 2017 8:27 pm

    Coolio, thanks for that. I’ll look elsewhere 🙂

Got something to say? Leave a comment

    Latest Creag Meagaidh Avalanche Report
    RSS Feed
    Keep up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed
Service funded by sportscotland
Forecast data supplied by the Met Office
SAIS Sponsors