19th February 2020
(Above) Beautiful if slightly hazy morning light today. The lowly pointy peak of Creag a Chuir (643m) punching well above its altitude in the photographic stakes! Looking very wintry under snow and illuminated by milky sunlight. Photo taken from near Strathmashie.
(Above) Looking in to the East-facing Coire an lubhair Mor to the east of Geal Charn (1049m).Â A lot of snow on East aspects which, not surprisingly, has produced a fair number of avalanches in our area over the past 24hrs. Unfortunately the good light was soon displaced by a grey/white murk.
(Above) Photo supplied by a member of the public. Beinn a Chaorainn. A size two, cornice triggered dry slab avalanche reported in the southernmost East-facing coire. Crownwall estimated to be approx 100m wide and probably released sometime late yesterday or very early today. Exact details uncertain.
(Above) Sron a Ghoire today. Good cover of snow on this East-facing outlier. Top of the skyline is at 810m. Not visible from this angle but there’s a recent crownwall just below the peak that drifted over soon after the avalanche released. See detail below:-
(Above) The drifted over crownwall. Probably released late on Tuesday or very early Wednesday morning.
(Above) Balloon Gully. Coire Ardair. A re-entrant in the side of the main coire which often gets cross-loaded when we have Westerly winds. Small (Size One) cornice triggered dry slab released this morning.
(Above) Grant Duff. International Man of Mystery and a regular blog respondent. Finally got to meet him and put a face to the name. Grant lives locally and works for ‘Highland All Terrain’ as one of their guides. He’s really knowledgeable about the local area and taught me the correct pronunciation of Coire Chriochariein – which I’ve forgotten (Sorry, Grant) – but it has just a single syllable and phonetically doesn’t start with a ‘c’. Totally wrong-footed by a Gaelic word again!
(Above) Fair number of people in our normally quiet neck of the woods. Half term, I guess. A few skiers about today enjoying the better cover, though the quality of the downhill is somewhat lacking especially at lower altitudes. The main Coire Ardair path is largely untracked beyond the the sparse mature birch trees. Evidence of strenuous post-holing though as far as the aforementioned trees!
(Above) Away from the path it’s the oldÂ ‘Slow, Dead slow, Stop and Reverse’ approach to progress. These two in the photo were thwarted by deep snow whilst attempting to get up on to the plateau close to Balloon Gully. After prolonged wading for a short distance uphill they abandoned their quest, descended and settled for the post holes on the Coire Ardair path back to Aberarder. I salute your fortitude, chaps, and believe me I felt your pain!
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19th February 2020 6:26 pm
First thing this morning we skied up the col immediately adjacent to Sron a Choire. The avalanche you report from that area we could see the debris from. It was covered in a large amount on fresh snow indicating a release yesterday early evening. We got along the ridge until overlooking Coire Ardair before reversing the route. A huge avalanche visible below ‘The Window’ which had come out of ‘Cinderella’ area of the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair.
19th February 2020 6:36 pm
That’s great info, Al. Many thanks.
Could you log the avalanche event you saw on the SAIS website? Helps us enormously. (I’ve already logged the Sron a Ghoire avalanche.)
I think I saw you below the bealach on Sron a Ghoire towards the end of your day. One of a group of 5 ski-mountaineers, if I’m not mistaken?
Edit: Have moderated and published your avalanche report. You earned extra Brownie points for the photo!
19th February 2020 7:39 pm
Fantastic to meet you and put a friendly face to one of the people who have greatly contributed to making this wonderful part of Scotland a safer, more widely appreciated and generally fun place.
Interesting to hear about the Cinderella avalanche and I very much look forward to photos at some point in the future.
(might be a while given the forecast and snow on the path)
19th February 2020 7:50 pm
The ‘Cinderella’ avalanche has been published on the SAIS website along with a long distance photo.
Thanks, as ever, for your comment, Grant.