Day 1: 2018-19 winter season.

14th December 2018

A cold, bright and very dry start to the winter season here at Creag Meagaidh on Friday. The hills looked relatively brown and bare apart from a few wreaths of older snow above 900m.

(Above) Looking west towards Sron a Ghoire and the Post Face of Coire Ardair this afternoon.


(Above) The top end of Coire Ardair this morning. L to R: Raeburn’s Gully, Pinnacle buttress and the Post Face. Ice developing in some places but looking generally very lean. Had a quick wee squint at Beinn a Chaorainn on the way home and it looks even more devoid of snow.


(Above) The Window. Little or no snow.


(Above) Easy Gully and the Post Face. Thin ice development on Last Post. Easy Gully is quite quarry-like in its lower reaches.


(Above) Has been cold for long enough for the development of a few wee ice pancakes in an eddy on the nearby River Pattack.


(Above) Feather-light, this one was about 30cm across and had a frozen, light bubbly texture a bit like a super lightweight ‘Aero’ chocolate bar.


Snowfall at all levels will make an appearance later in the afternoon on Saturday. Whilst stability will be good everywhere during daylight hours new snow instability is expected to develop on W to N aspects from dusk onwards and continue to decline into the next forecast period. 


SAIS off-season news. A few of our number attended the week long and bienniel International Snow Science Workshop in Innsbruck back in early October.

(Above) Innsbruck: a city in an alpine valley, high-rise included.


(Above) A very well attended event with speakers and delegates from all parts of the world. The conference is about the ‘merging of theory with practice’. Not surprisingly presentations were varied, ranging from those with countless PowerPoint pages of equations right through to quite arresting ones from baseball cap-wearing speakers outlining some weird and wonderful avalanche phenomenon common in their part of the world. Definitely an eclectic mix of speakers and subject matter.


(Above) This particular presentation formed part of the SAIS’s pre-season briefing and training earlier this week. A fascinating insight into the difficulties of attaining (and assessing) accuracy in avalanche forecasting. A very useful and enlightening presentation. (FYI. SAIS’s performance compares favourably to the Canadian raw stats.)


(Above) About 600 delegates with presenters from 27 countries. We quickly became aware that the scope of research into avalanches is huge and continues to develop.


(Above) There were moments of relaxation, of course! Lunch-time apple strudel, ice cream and coffee. When in Austria, do as the Austrians do. Would have been rude not to!


(Above) A taste of Austrian ‘cafe society’ for Team SAIS.




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