Winter finds its mojo. Part 1.
10th February 2020
Winter finally began to assert itself at Creag Meagaidh. Punchy, sudden snow showers overnight and right through the day gave a modest 5-6cm of snow in the car park but persistent drifting meant much greater build up above 600m.
Below: Na Cnapanan, Carn Liath at 600m at around midday just before a snow shower kicks in….
(Above) Looking down, between showers, from Carn Liath to a steel grey Loch Laggan.Â Â Access away from the main Coire Ardair path was challenging due to the strong W winds, stinging airborne snow and difficult underfoot conditions. The heather offers marginally better foot passage at low altitude but it’s still captured quite a lot of snow, even on windward slopes. Drifted snow is deep and, shall we say, ‘inhibits’ progress. Full-on winter conditions at Creag Meagaidh means we tend to move at 4 speeds: Slow, Dead Slow, Stop, and Reverse. We permed 3 from those 4 today. No prizes for guessing!
(Above) A momentary glimpse of the broad NE shoulder of Sron a Ghoire today. The top of the skyline is at 820m. It’s an East aspect and often receives a lot of snow build up when there’s snowfall and W, SW or NW winds. One of our ‘frequent flyer’ avalanche sites in very wintry weather – like now. Note the minor and developing cornice feature – it’s at circa 750m. Visibility allowing I’ll try to capture a picture of it again tomorrow to show the extent of overnight drifting.
(Above) The sun came out briefly again as we retreated down through the birch trees en route to Aberarder.Â Snow on a west-facing windward slope here and it’s deeper than it looks!
No let up in the wintry weather overnight and right through Tuesday. Becoming noticeably colder too. Real care needed with route choice if venturing out as windslab will be building fast & deep on all steep lee slopes above 750m.
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