A vision in white

7th January 2018

What goes around, comes around. Had a couple of fairly lousy weather days on my last two day stint so it was delightful to return and step out today (on skis. Yay!) into a white, serene landscape. Well, serene on the surface anyway. Was ably aided & abetted by ‘The Man Who Shall Not Be Named’, though sans dog.


(Above) ‘Meggie. A vision in white.


(Above) Coire Dubh – part of the Carn Liath massif – viewed from the road today. Avalanche debris a result of yesterday’s persistent drifting. Released yesterday, too. This cornice triggered dry slab avalanche was a size 2 and comprises a couple of events that occurred at the same time. SW aspect at 900ish metres. Much whiteness and blueness this morning.


(Above) Coire nan Gall, again viewed from the A86. This coire is immediately west of Coire Dubh. Was also some avalanche activity here yesterday on the extreme right of the pic, though not really visible here. The next photo shows the debris in a bit more detail.


(Above) Coire nan Gall – looking towards its SW-facing side. 890m. Avalanche debris visible below the centre skyline. Quite a wide event – 250m or thereabouts. The crownwall drifted over immediately after the event yesterday. No evidence of a cornice. Very rare location for an avalanche on our patch: definitely not on our ‘frequent flyer’ list.


(Above) Snow cracking readily underfoot wherever there was recent windslab. Quite a lot of this today almost certainly because…

(Above) ….of this. The snow surface temperature. Huge temperature gradient through the snowpack at the moment. Steepest where new windslab is relatively shallow. Any deeper slab (therefore slightly weaker temperature gradient) is bridging over less profoundly weak layers. In the latter instance, thicker slab gets stronger/denser hand-in-hand with the slowly weakening layer beneath it. Presently, the most noticeable instability is localised and in shallower snow, though the thick slab also has issues of course but is less reactive in field tests for the time being. Watch this space.


(Above) Coire Chriochairein. Says it all, really.


(Above) A view across to the upper end of Coire Ardair with (L to R) Raeburn’s Gully, the Pinnacle Buttress, the top of Easy Gully and part of the Post Face – just visible.


(Above) Single point releases visible (again from yesterday) emanating from beneath the cornice line in Coire Chriochairein. The rocky buttress/boss to the left is one of the coire’s most distinct features.


(Above) Looking back to Aberarder and Loch Laggan from Coire Chriochairein. The snow cover varies quite a bit more than is shown in the foreground of the pic.


(Above) Deer don’t really do arctic camouflage. At all. Sizeable herd…


(Above) …on the flank of Sron a Ghoire this afternoon.


(Above) High, thin cloud from mid-morning onwards – shown here at home time.


Comments on this post

  • Stan Wygladala
    7th January 2018 8:38 pm

    Great photos. Enjoy it. As much as you can and get the apprentice out there!
    Had an eventful day myself crashing my bike on black ice (well clear ice on black tarmac). The bike was unhurt but I don’t bounce like I used to.
    Once, Feb 1963, rode my bike across Windermere (oh ok then, the shallow bit past Ambleside) and didn’t fall off once.

    • meagaidhadmin
      7th January 2018 10:35 pm

      Stan, you’re utterly irrepressible! Windermere ice-biking: Oh, to be young and daft again.

      ’63 was the year of the ‘big freeze’ that lasted from late December to March. I think parts of the sea around our coast froze at that time too.

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