…after the rains

8th February 2022

(Above) The view west from the A86 at Auchmore. The eastern end of the Carn Liath massif briefly illuminated by sun this morning. Didn’t see the sun again for the rest of the day! The photo flatters to deceive a bit when considering snow cover – the sun always seems to exaggerate it. The recent meltdown has stripped a lot of the superficial snow but best cover remains above about 850m and on steep east-facing aspects, in gullies especially.


(Above) The Post Face of Coire Ardair. Avalanche debris (arrowed) from an event in ‘Centre Post’ last night. Estimated release 8pm Monday after heavy rain and mild temperatures. Thereafter it became much colder and refroze the surface of the moist snowpack giving a widespread crust above about 750m today. Only limited new windslab development; what snowfall there was seemed to just get blown around and not settle.


(Above) Raeburn’s Gully & Pinnacle Buttress in Coire Ardair. A lobe of avalanche debris resting at a jaunty angle on the talus fan. The avalanche emanated from the steep ledges of the buttress rather than the gully itself. Again, a wet snow event, possibly a full depth avalanche, from the overnight meltdown.


(Above) Avalanche debris below ‘The Pipes’ at the entrance to the Inner Coire. Similar timings and circumstances to those above, though this one may have been cornice triggered.


(Above) Looking up into ‘Cinderella’, a steep low grade gully in the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair. Unusually, only cornice debris at the base of this gully today. Little-known ‘fact’: back in the 1990s when Creag Meagaidh was a more popular climbing venue, if you were to have been avalanched in Scotland, statistically, it would have been in this gully. (Source: a personal conversation with Blyth Wright in 1998. Blyth loved his stats…and quite often used them to misdirect or baffle people! So, a pinch of salt, p’raps?)


(Above) The view out of the Inner Coire across ‘The Pipes’ avalanche debris towards Coire nan Gamhna. As you can see, snow cover is much leaner on non-lee slopes.

(I think the ‘Brenin are in town. Pretty sure I passed someone on the main path today from that esteemed establishment, probably on a scouting mission?)


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