Spring contrasts on Beinn a Chaorainn

2nd April 2022

(Above) The final 100m of the ridge below the 1049m summit of Beinn a Chaorainn. Beautiful when the sun came out; a day of contrasts and rapid transitions in the weather and snow cover.


(Above) A cover of fresh snow above 650m this morning with just a little minor drifting, as seen here at 850m on one of the less steep sections of the ridge ascent. Shaded areas held on to their new snow cover right through the day.


(Above) Some minor ice formation on the steep crags below the corniced rim of Beinn a Chaorainn. All cornices are expected to weaken a little later on Sunday with the onset of milder, moister weather. The cornice debris from Beinn a Chaorainn’s famously large cornices generally can’t be seen from below as most of it trundles into a ‘hidden’ upper coire – see map below.


(Above) A purple circle denotes the bottom of the ‘hidden’ coire. The ‘x’ is where the above photo was taken from. Beinn a Chaorainn’s cornices extend north and south from the 1052m summit, a total of approx 1km of cornices.


(Above) Profile shot from the south of the popular East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn. There are ribbons of old refrozen snow here and there over on the shaded north side of the ridge.


(Above) Looking across to the Creag Meagaidh summit plateau. Deceptively white due to the thin overnight top-up of snow. No disguising the patchy nature of the general snow cover now.


(Above) Came across this hardy and lonely wee conifer at 890m. A sort of Scottish ‘bonsai’ bent over by the prevailing wind. Given its location and restricted growth potential, it’s probably a lot older than it looks.


(Above) 740m in the better-known coire immediately south of the East Ridge. Last night’s thin snowfall disappeared quickly in places that caught the early sun.

Comments on this post

  • Mark Figiel
    4th April 2022 12:13 pm

    Great insight into a cracking mountain and wonderful East Ridge.

    • meagaidhadmin
      4th April 2022 1:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Mark.

      Beinn a Chaorainn was great that day when it was in a sort of mellow spring mode. Atmospheric and thrilling, but in a different way, when we have full snow cover and a lot of snow blowing around it! Definitely one of my favourite haunts on our patch whatever the weather.

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