Well ‘ard.

5th 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 left to right Sron a Ghoire, the Post Face of Coire Ardair, and the south facing coires of the Carn Liath massif. Snow cover is patchy though much better above 850m and holding up OK in the colder temperatures.
(Above) Met hardy and intrepid cold water swimmer, Janey (or Janie?) on the path making her way up Coire Ardair intent on a swim in Lochan a Choire. She told me she’d recently progressed from wild swimming in a wet suit to using just a swimming cossie and was really looking forward to a dip after trundling up the path on her bike. Beautiful day but, although sunny, the air had a certain coolness about it. To be continued…
(Above) Lochan a Choire beneath the looming crags and buttresses of the the Post Face at the top end of Coire Ardair. I sensed a fly in the ointment of Janey’s swimming plans once this heaved into view. Ice. Of uncertain thickness from this distance, but not looking promising. I left Janey pondering her choices by the lochan and wandered off up to Easy Gully to look at the snow. Much like the lochan, the snow in Easy Gully – and pretty much everywhere else in the shade  – was hard and unyielding. Surface temperature of – 6 degrees C.. Needed an ice axe to dig down through the top 30cm before I could use a shovel.
(Above)  Upon my return there was no evidence at all of the ice being broken on the lochan to allow swimming, which was no surprise given the thickness of the ice.  Test sample of the ice from the water’s edge. A good 30mm thick and probably thicker further out towards the middle.  Frustrating, Janey!
(Above) Looking into Easy Gully. Lots of historic cornice and avalanche debris in the gully, as well as some fallen ice, too. Bomber neve here and definitely crampons and ice axe territory.
(Above) Raeburn’s Gully in Coire Ardair. More of the same here, too.
(Above) Looking up towards sunny slopes on the approach to the Inner Coire and The Window. The air temperature in heavily shaded Easy Gully was -3.2 at midday but milder, though not warm, elsewhere in the sun at this altitude. The snow on all sun exposed aspects softened and became a little moister during the afternoon.

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