Gloomy + avalanches + falling ice = ‘Meggie

10th March 2017

(Above) 800m cloudbase all day. Not great for photography. Gloomy and mild but a busy day work-wise!


(Above) 12.25pm exactly and I was shaken from my warm-sector weather funk by a loud sound that echoed around the top end of Coire Ardair. No mistaking the noise of a wet slab avalanche crashing to the ground after being airborne! The arrow in the photo shows the crownwall. The avalanche slid on a very steeply inclined East-facing bench on Pinnacle Buttress, with the debris ending up near the mouth of Raeburn’s Gully. Excitement wasn’t quite over though…..


(Above) ……just about to put the camera away then another noise, this time from falling ice lower down on the same buttress/crag. Lucky shot! Quickly checked the purity of my underwear then beat a hasty retreat to somewhere less uninviting.


(Above) Looking back to the mouth of Raeburn’s Gully. The gully itself also contained cornice and wet slab avalanche debris from events earlier in the morning. Very mild from early morning onwards today.


(Above) Unfortunately Easy Gully was equally uninviting. Fresh debris below South Post – just visible in the photo further up Easy Gully. Crownwall and debris visible below Centre Post, too. Nearby Staghorn Gully also had evidence of recent avalanche activity. All the above are very steep East aspects, though NE aspects are just as badly affected.

There’s still a lot of deep wet snow on the innumerable steeply inclined ledges that comprise the Face Post and Inner Coire. The sustained thaw + wet weather will mean there’s a better than even chance that there’ll be more wet snow instability in these and similar locations. Weak cornices plus falling ice and rocks in these places will add to the toxic mix. The snow on less steep ground is now moderately stabilised but the very steep places listed above (and similar) will need special care in the current weather conditions.

Comments on this post

  • Grant Duff
    10th March 2017 9:42 pm

    Fantastic “action” shot.

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