Wintry pipe-opener.

17th December 2022

(Above) Part of the Post Face of Coire Ardair with the diagonal ascending ramps of Staghorn Gully prominent in the centre of the photo. Day One for me this season. As is occasionally the case at ‘Meggie, there appeared to be more snow down low than up high today. Most of the Coire Ardair path was fine apart from the last 200m or so up to the lochan, but was grateful for the folk in front of me breaking trail from the lochan up into the Inner Coire. Quite wintry weather at all altitudes during the morning.


(Above) The Inner Coire with the ‘gun sight’-like bealach called The Windowcentre. Rocks and boulders aplenty on the approach slope to The Window today – given the weather was expecting a deeper and wider expanse of snow/windslab here. Many other steep, generally East-facing aspects were much the same.


(Above) L to R: Raeburn’s Gully, Pinnacle Buttress, Easy Gully, and part of the Post Face.  Meggie’s principal gullies are all in poor condition, being quite rocky with little or no snow-ice. A few spindrift avalanches were noted running off Pinnacle Buttress into the bottom end of Raeburn’s during shower activity.


(Above) Looking over the NE shoulder of Sron a Ghoire towards Binnean Shuas and the hills of the Ardverikie Forest. The weather cheered up briefly later.

Cold and dry overnight but SE winds will pick up steadily and become strong during the day. Anticipating some new windslab from redistributed snow on W to N, and a few NE aspects. The SE winds are likely to strip some of today’s lee slopes of what thin snow accumulated there and load it onto the other side of the hill (if you follow my drift). A late and quite sudden temperature rise with rain (around dusk) may induce a little wet snow instability in these new deposits of snow, too. As ever, recently wind-exposed places and ridges will offer the safest refuge from weakly bonded snow…but…given the wind strength, you might have trouble staying on your feet. Swings and roundabouts?


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