Cornice debris

20th March 2021

Covid -19
The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues information to support permitted activity under current Scottish Government guidance.
Please be aware of current mandatory travel restrictions in Local Authority areas within Scotland and respect local communities by referring to Scottish Government guidance and safe route choices for exercise. For further guidance please refer to the following information for hillwalkers and climbers and snowsports on ski and board.
This blog is intended to provide hazard and mountain condition information to help plan safer mountain trips.
(Above) Looking west towards the Stron a Ghoire massif from the A86. Bright start to the day though cloud and mist did roll in later. Noticeably cooler in the afternoon as well. Snowpack now quite patchy with bigger patches above 750-800m, depending on aspect.
(Above) The Post Face of Coire Ardair. Moist snow in many places but noticeably firmer surface conditions in shaded areas.
(Above) Looking up into Raeburn’s Gully in Coire Ardair. Quite a lot of cornice debris from a collapse event a few days ago. The larger chunks near the centre of the photo are solid ice and of more recent origin than the underlying cornice debris.
(Above) The Inner Coire and The Window in upper Coire Ardair. Extensive cornice debris on the NE facing crag apron – again from a spontaneous collapse event during milder weather a day or so ago. Quite a few cornices have already collapsed but remnants still remain, as do some large complete ones over selected N to E aspects. Quite atmospheric in the Inner Coire with great swathes of debris running out some distance on the crag apron. General snow stability is good though! Cornice collapse is of course an independent objective danger and not considered as part of the overall avalanche hazard. It’s very difficult to establish the stability of cornices, though we do have a stab at it when there’s been a lot of wind transported snow and/or when it’s been very wet and mild and the cornices large.

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