Picture postcard pretty.

27th February 2017

(Above) Looking west along Loch Laggan this morning with Stob a Choire Mheadhoin on the right in cloud; A86 trunk road visible extreme right of shot. Beautiful day! Very cold in the shade but warmer on sun-exposed aspects. Fresh snow at all levels first thing, with about 4cm on the main Coire Ardair path.


(Above) Binnean Shuas with a covering of snow. A hill best known for the summer rock climbing on its southern face. Some fine mature old coniferous trees on Ardverikie Estate fringing Loch Laggan. (FAO tree lovers: They are non-native species, but that doesn’t stop them being fine old trees!)


(Above) Coire Chriochairein. Some evidence of old avalanche activity, probably overnight last Friday/Saturday during rainfall and mild temps. Old debris just visible below the cornice line which is throwing some shadow in the photo. Snow on the lower slopes of this coire melted back up to about 600m later in the day.


(Above) Pinnacle Buttress left and the Post Face centre this morning. A fine wintry prospect.


(Above)  Detailed shot of the Post Face: right to left – North Post, Centre Post and South Post (Last Post is almost non-existent.) A party of winter hill walkers in the foreground of this shot en route to the Inner Coire, The Window and beyond.


(Above) Part of the NE-facing crags of the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair. Looking up to The Pumpkin, with The Wand and Diadem to the right of shot. Note the exposed rocks and boulders on the crag apron in the bottom third of the photo. This area is normally a wide, easy-angled smooth slope of deep snow and is looking a bit lean to say the least; the approach to The Window is little better.


(Above) Looking down from the Inner Coire to Lochan a Choire. Old cornice and avalanche debris on the slope immediately immediately below the Pipes, again from the overnight Friday/Saturday meltdown.

This is a NE aspect and was very cold here in the shade today. I recorded a snow surface temperature of -5.3 degrees C. at noon which has induced a steep temperature gradient through the near-surface layers of the snowpack. Remaining very cold overnight so instability expected to be preserved in these steep and heavily shaded locations, especially above about 900m.

Do read the avalanche report carefully and cross-refer to the ‘Avalanche Hazard & Travel Advice’ table that’s easily accessible on the SAIS website. We spend quite a lot of time thinking about the interplay between our written report and the hazard scale, so please take time to consider both together.


(Above) Left to right: Bellevue Buttress, Raeburn’s Gully hidden, Pinnacle Buttress with the top end of Easy Gully in the top right of shot. An Alpine-like flavour to the scenery today. More old avalanche debris was present in Easy Gully, again from the recent meltdown.


(Above) Late edit to the blog posting. A photo of Easy Gully taken on Monday showing the lobe of old, chunky avalanche debris.  (Hope this helps, James.) Apologies for the overly dark photo but I had to play with the contrast and mid-tones in post-production in order for the avalanche debris to be more visible.



Comments on this post

  • Kate
    27th February 2017 9:13 pm

    The party of hillwalkers (some of my mates) had a cracking day, three of them made it up to the Window and to the 1053 spot height as you recommended, and further along the ridge before dropping back down! Thanks very much 🙂

    • meagaidhadmin
      27th February 2017 9:18 pm

      One of our regular blog respondents!

      Glad to be of service to your friends today; pleased they had a great time! Was a gorgeous day for a winter hill walk.

      Many thanks for your comment, Kate.

  • JB
    27th February 2017 11:09 pm

    Thank you as ever for the detailed posts and photos. Hard to tell from these, but how would you think Raeburn and Easy gullies are shaping up for ski descents? I think they could just be in condition…

    • meagaidhadmin
      27th February 2017 11:29 pm

      Hi James,

      Didn’t visit Easy Gully or Raeburn’s today but what I can say is that there was a terrible ‘death crust’ (technical off piste skiing term for those reading this who don’t know!) in many places below 900m where new snow had been scoured away. The old avalanche debris which extends about a quarter of the length of Easy Gully would also offer a few challenges since it’s basically re-frozen icy chunks, some large! Raeburn’s looked really quite narrow, too.

      Probably not what you want to read!

      (Edit: I’ve added another photo of Easy Gully, taken on Monday, which shows the old, hard and chunky avalanche debris.)

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