Coire Dubh, part of the Carn Liath massif.

18th February 2020

(Above) It’s been snowing. And blowing. A lot. Access isn’t easy at the moment so I followed this track in towards Coire Dubh today. It’s a small East-facing coire tucked into the Loch Laggan side of the Carn Liath massif. It’s often possible to spot avalanche activity in this coire from the A86 but not today as the snow showers piled in one on top of another and restricted visibility. The sun and camera came out momentarily. The track in the photo is at 400m, with Coire Dubh looming up above it.


(Above) Quite a few of the shallow burn lines are almost filled in, including this one here where the track crosses one. Took a few moments to work out the best way of traversing it without resorting to a 100m diversion. Came down to two choices. Option 1: The brute strength & ignorance approach. (Just wade into the burn and fight my way up through the snow with flailing legs & arms accompanied by some choice expletives). Option 2: “The snow bridges on the right & left…Will they take my weight if I tip-toe slowly across them?” I decided to do what comes naturally. So Option 1 it was. Self knowledge is everything, isn’t it?


(Above) Not quite visible in the previous photo but here is the crownwall and run out zone of a Size One natural dry slab avalanche which slid at around 9am this morning (Tuesday). It’s at 770m on an steep ENE aspect. Has a 30m long crownwall, which is about 30cm deep, and it ran out 60m. Not cornice triggered! There is a large and developing cornice above it but that wasn’t the trigger today, although it quite often is the case with Scottish Highlands new snow avalanches.


(Above) Keeping to the partially scoured heather whilst in transit up into Coire Dubh. As alluded to earlier, visibility was pretty rubbish for most of the day. This is a more honest representation of general overhead conditions.


(Above) The snowy/blowy weather has forced the deer down onto the lower slopes. This group were pretty ‘chilled’ & relaxed, cutting across my path just a few metres in front of me. Perhaps they actually know the culling season for hinds ended on 16th February?


(Above) Homeward leg. Quite large cornice-like feature over one of the burns as low as 550m.


(Above) Local water levels remain relatively high. Although it’s been wintry up high there was rain at lower altitudes yesterday, which has been a bit of a pattern over the last week or so. Looking west along Loch Laggan this afternoon.


Comments on this post

  • Grant Duff
    18th February 2020 6:39 pm

    Certainly no shortage of snow and I’m going to try to venture into the corrie tomorrow. At 12.12 today there were two huge “booms” from the reserve direction which stopped me in my tracks whilst cycling past the beach. Jets, lorry, pipe release? Well kinda used to all those sounds and this was different. Thought you might like to know.

    • meagaidhadmin
      18th February 2020 6:41 pm

      I heard something, too, at about that time. Sounded like a helicopter or other aircraft?

  • Grant Duff
    18th February 2020 6:53 pm

    Ah defiantly no helicopter but hey I’m interested! Cheers

  • Andrew Childs
    18th February 2020 9:35 pm

    Option 3, the long jump?

    • meagaidhadmin
      18th February 2020 10:11 pm

      ….followed by a massive headplant on landing. (The burn’s a wee bit wider than it looks.)


      Option 3 probably as dignified as Option 1 turned out to be!

      Safest to play to my strengths. Hence Option 1. QED

Got something to say? Leave a comment

    Latest Creag Meagaidh Avalanche Report
    RSS Feed
    Keep up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed
Service funded by sportscotland
Forecast data supplied by the Met Office
SAIS Sponsors