Nightmare dressed like a daydream.

12th February 2018

It’s been snowing and blowing. A lot.  Pillows of windslab prevalent on most moderately inclined lee slopes as low as 700m; very poor stability, too. The forecast is for stronger winds and more snow in the morning. No improvement expected in stability. Actually, it’s looking like instability will become more widespread. (I swithered for some time on whether I issued a ‘Considerable’ or  ‘High’ avalanche hazard category for our area tomorrow).


(Above) Near the main Coire Ardair path at 400m. The path itself was drifted over in many places in its lower reaches.


(Above) Bigger bulges of drifted snow in amongst the moraines near the floor of Coire Ardair.


(Above) The ‘upside’ is that there’s pretty good cover for access by skis down low, though trail-breaking was tiring in the deeper stuff. Saw the ski tracks of two ski-tourers ascending the slopes of Na Cnapanan. Perhaps they were doing ‘the round’. Wonder how far they got?


(Above) Balloon Gully, carved into the side of Coire Ardair. Size 1 cornice-triggered dry slab avalanche here this morning. No surprise given the conditions. (Generalised small loose snow avalanche activity higher up the gully). Cornices are a feature – some are large, gnarly and collapse-prone.


(Above) The Post Face of Coire Ardair. Nightmare dressed like a daydream.


(Above) Entering Coire Chriochairein. More dry slab, cornice-triggered and natural avalanche activity here on this ENE and E aspect – recent debris visible.


(Above) E and SE aspects in Coire Chriochairein. L to R; cornice and natural dry slab debris. The avalanche on the right hand side of the shot is on moderately angled ground with the crownwall a third of the way down the broad, open gully. Very large fragile cornices still in place.



Comments on this post

  • Stan Wygladala
    12th February 2018 10:14 pm

    Quite incredible. Now is the time to stay down low and wait for March.

    • meagaidhadmin
      13th February 2018 8:57 am

      The weather over the next few days looks like bringing very little improvement to stability. Re. March, Stan. Let’s hope the weather in March is actually better! Time will tell.

      As ever, many thanks for your comment, Stan.

  • Mark Figiel
    13th February 2018 12:47 pm

    In your view have we got as much snow as the very snowy winter of 2014 ? there looks to be a incredible amount this year. In 2014 the snow stayed all year in Raeburns Gully.

    • meagaidhadmin
      13th February 2018 7:04 pm

      The cover looks good because we’ve had wind from all quadrants instead of our usual Southerly to Westerly airflow and therefore snow is lying in many places. Usually there’s a great build up in Easy Gully as well as Raeburn’s but I would say, from what I’ve seen so far, that Raeburn’s Gully isn’t holding as much snow at the moment compared to a ‘normal’ winter. It’s reasonably full just not as much as usual, I think. All that can change in a few weeks, of course. Perhaps a little too early to be making judgements?

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