Polar air

14th January 2024

(Above) The Post Face of Coire Ardair this morning. A few overnight snow showers on a very cold NW later N wind induced a little drifting. More persistent showers after midday gave the path a more complete wintry white coat for the journey back to Aberarder.


(Above) The SE facing minor crags up near the rim of Coire Chriochairein at 950m. Poked my head over the rim of the plateau a little to the right of the shot for some momentary facial exfoliation courtesy of the strong NW airflow + snowfall/graupel, then decided it best to retreat to the shelter(?) of the crags. Flat light for most of the day. Unsupportive crust in this coire (close to any vegetation or rocks) made for tiring progress today.


(Above) 925m on a SE aspect. Signs of instability in shallow snow wherever it had drifted. No big deal at the moment since new windslab accumulations are relatively shallow and not extensive. Low hazard but, to coin the phrase of another of our forecasters,low hazard doesn’t mean no hazard’ Check the avalanche hazard scale for further explanation.  Areas most affected by thin windslab today were the last +/- 10m near coire rims and gully tops above 950m. Similar distribution expected tomorrow…as long as we don’t get more snow than forecast.

This popped up on my YouTube feed yesterday:

Very high production values in this brand new video so best viewed on a screen bigger than a phone.

A timely discussion-starter which raises all sorts of issues that could also apply to climbers and steep skiers in the Scottish Highlands.

The issues raised?  Risk vs reward. Group dynamics. Heuristics affecting decision-making. The least experienced group member making a better decision than the ‘expert’ skiers. Red flag or yellow flag? The role of sponsors in driving this sort of behaviour.

There’ll be other factors too.

Have a careful browse through the comments that accompany the video. A lot of sage advice and observations there and not just the usual mix of fan-boi fawning and mud-slinging.

Comments on this post

  • David Bell
    16th January 2024 8:52 am

    Thanks for posting the video link, good to see.

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