Early avalanche activity

1st February 2023

(Above) The Big Picture.  The view from Laggan towards Sron a Ghoire extreme left, the Post Face of Coire Ardair capped by Creag Meagaidh summit left of centre, and the coires of the Carn Liath massif centre.

Quite a snowy scene in our neck of the woods. Punchy and persistent snow showers passed through overnight and early morning leaving fresh snow down to 600m. Quite deep drifts and not surprisingly some avalanche activity too.


(Above) The view across to Sron Garbh 1023m and Geal Charn 1049m, just to the south of our area. Evidence of lee areas getting filled in with snow whilst windward slopes are sometimes scoured clear of snow. The lull in the weather this morning gave some decent visibility and even a little milky sunshine for a time.


(Above) Generalised cornice collapse and avalanche activity this morning in Coire Dubh, one of Carn Liath’s outlying coires.  Plenty of visual evidence of drifting in the photo.  Estimated that these slid at circa 9am this morning.


(Above) More evidence of recent avalanche activity in Coire nan Gall. Arrow indicates the crownwall. Similar timing for this event to the avalanche activity in its neighbouring coire.


(Above) Managed to snatch a shot of Beinn a Chaorainn before the light changed and the definition all but disappeared. From this distance, it’s difficult to determine the size and condition of Beinn a Chaorainn’s cornices.


(Above) The Post Face of Coire Ardair. Plenty of exposed rock but with E and NE-facing gullies full of new snow, especially above 900m.


(Above) The Window and the crags of the Inner Coire of Coire Ardair. Whiter-looking rock (snow) here on the NE-facing side of this atmospheric coire and quite a contrast to the scoured righthand side…but appearances can be deceptive. Read on…


(Above) En-route to Balloon Gully. Evidence of a large avalanche in the past (March 2010) when this mature birch was snapped off mid-height. Was a huge slide with, in places, a 3m+ high crownwall and nearly 500m across. Needless to say, it took out the main Coire Ardair path where debris was 6m deep.

The snow in the photo doesn’t look deep but I can vouch that it was! Wet/moist, too, at lower altitudes. Knee-deep in places with enough to disguise leg-swallowing holes. Let’s just say, progress up and down hill was slow and cautious.


(Above) The mid-point up Balloon Gully, looking towards Lochan a Choire and the crags of the Post Face.  New cornices were a bit of a feature today and may well be on Thursday since it’s likely that the mild and very wet weather will weaken them to the point of collapse. Poor general snow stability is anticipated overnight and during the early morning before a transition to better-consolidated snow later.

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