Full depth.

3rd March 2022

(Above) Misty moisty down low in Coire Ardair this morning. Freezing near summits with a little wind drifted snow but only thin accumulations and confined to places above 1000m.


(Above) Small full depth avalanche on an East-facing aspect at 850m in Coire nan Gall, part of the Carn Liath massif.

There’s been a few precursor signs for full depth avalanche activity in our area in the last couple of days. No surprise, really, given the prevailing weather and basic snowpack conditions. Notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to forecast, but blend together the following and you have a fairly good recipe for full depth (or ‘glide’) avalanche activity:-

1. Heavy snowfall and/or drifting, giving a relatively thick snowpack. ✔

2. Transition to milder (or wetter) weather, which is then sustained. ✔

3. Steeply inclined, smooth bed surface – grass or rocky slabs. ✔

4. Copious lubricant (water) at the base of the snowpack. (See #2. above) ✔

All 4 apply to the Creag Meagaidh area today and for the past few days.

There’s a good, simple piece about full depth (‘glide’) avalanches here: https://sciencenorway.no/climate-forskningno-geologi/the-mysteries-of-glide-avalanches/1426933


(Above) Another full depth avalanche on 1st March on Beinn Udlamain in the Drumochter area. Info culled from social media!


(Above) Glide cracks and a little buckling of the snow today on the East-facing end of Sron a Ghoire above Aberarder Farmhouse. The cracks are at around 750m altitude.

And finally.

Only medium confidence in the forecasted snow amounts for our area. The slow-moving frontal system may clip the Creag Meagaidh area and produce more snow than forecast. If so, you’ll need to recalibrate the avalanche forecast accordingly.

Comments on this post

  • Angus MacEwan
    3rd March 2022 11:30 pm

    The avalanche on Ben Udlamain occurred on the 1st.

    • meagaidhadmin
      4th March 2022 10:55 am

      Thanks for the correction, Angus; text duly corrected above. I’ve also corrected the data on the SAIS avalanche occurrence reporting portal.

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