Post Holing sit rep

3rd January 2024

Having heard of SAIS Brian and Heather’s ‘death by post holing’ over the past 3 days, I was determined to give snow wading as wide a berth as possible today. Have to report I only partially succeeded in my quest! Unfortunately, gaining the plateau areas still requires a bit of a plough through the white stuff if you’re following the usual access routes.

Steered by the weather forecast, I thought it best to get as high as possible into areas where there are some W to NW facing accumulation zones. ‘Shark’s Fin Gully’ (our shorthand for Uinneag Coire a Chaorainn) was the destination of choice today, via Balloon Gully.

(Above) Looking up into Balloon Gully. Carn Liath. Actually, it’s two steep re-entrants forming a Y shape carved in the side wall of Coire Ardair. Often a good choice for us to access the plateau since it often fills in with snow – which we can look at in transit – when the wind blows from the west left to right in the pic and from the E or SE right to left above. It does avalanche, normally on the left hand side of the pic but has produced a very large avalanche (indeed) from the right branch (March 2010). Timing is everything of course so it’s best used for access when snow and avalanche conditions are relatively benign. It’s quite steep, too. Moist snow in most places and altitudes today. The mottled look is deceptive as the snow between the vegetation outcrops is knee deep in places.


(Above) Map with pin showing the location of Shark’s Fin Gully (UCaC), and box indicating the distinctive Y-shape of the re-entrant(s) we call Balloon Gully.


(Above) The Carn Liath plateau looked like this…


(Above)…and Shark’s Fin Gully like this. Often a popular snowholing site but not at all filled in and quite rocky, however enough snow on a W aspect to provide useful info.


(Above) The crags at the far end of Coire Ardair. Misty all day above 900m

Comments on this post

Got something to say? Leave a comment

    Latest Creag Meagaidh Avalanche Report
    RSS Feed
    Keep up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed
Service funded by sportscotland
Forecast data supplied by the Met Office
SAIS Sponsors