Timing is everything!

23rd January 2024

During our daily video conference call today, ‘Our Man in Torridon’ disclosed that he had a ‘considerably’ bad day on the hill due to a Storm Jocelyn combo of snow/rain/wind. Using that as a benchmark, my day would have been just a ‘moderately’ bad one, I guess. Snow down to 600m morphed into rain around midday but above 950m snow was still drifting in the strong winds.

Much later the weather gods saw fit to give rain at all levels by which time I had not quite made it to the car, was soaking wet and not at all sanguine! Had I been an hour earlier I might have dodged the skyfall deluge. You could ditch the trendy cold water therapy/swimming-thing for a couple of hours getting soaked to the underpants in the Scottish mountains. Just might catch on. Same outcome. Shirley? 

Some photos.

(Above) The Inner Coire of Coire Ardair with the high east-facing bealach called The Window prominent. The top of The Window (950m) was being scoured by strong SE winds during the morning. Local coire winds swirled around and selectively scoured some crags whilst building a little new windslab in other places above about 950m. At the same time sleet was beginning to turn to rain below 800m. The temperature spike (and heavy rain) we were expecting had not yet fully asserted itself when I left the hill. The upshot of this is that there’s probably going to be a period of poor stability overnight Tuesday into Wednesday after which we should see some consolidation in most older moist snow.


(Above) Looking SE across the NE-facing crags of the Inner Coire – the entrance to low grade gully line ‘Cinderella’ on the far right. One or two small spindrift avalanches noticed from these crags during the late morning.


(Above) The cornice line above ‘Cinderella’ top left of centre expected to weaken during milder overnight conditions. Further right of shot (in front of the black crag) is evidence of wind transported snow whilst it was sleeting and trying to rain in the bottom of the coire.


(Above) Looking out from the Inner Coire towards Lochan a Choire.


(Above) The entrance to Raeburn’s Gully beneath Pinnacle Buttress in Coire Ardair. This steep NNE-facing gully had some cornice debris on its talus fan but was difficult to determine how recent/old it was due to overhead conditions.

Comments on this post

  • Keith Horner
    23rd January 2024 6:52 pm

    Decidedly challenging mountain conditions throughout all the SAIS forecast areas currently – no doubt you will be submitting an expenses claim for ‘underwear drying’….!
    Despite all the technological advances of the modern era, no one seems to have been able to create a waterproof and breathable material which is anywhere near as effective as human skin….!

    • meagaidhadmin
      23rd January 2024 7:19 pm

      That expenses claim would be quite considerable by the season’s end!

  • Bimbling
    23rd January 2024 7:31 pm

    Thanks for going out and getting the assessment…but, and isn’t there always a but, your colleague in Glencoe who describes the day as wetter than an otter’s pocket and a good day for testing the waterproofs doesn’t mention actually getting themselves wet. Do you think your waterproofs are maybe in need of a wash and reproof, or replacement or, heaven forbid, you were kidding and you didn’t really get wet right down to your shreddies, or maybe you just forgot to put your waterproofs on?

    • meagaidhadmin
      23rd January 2024 8:01 pm

      Oh, how I wish I had stayed dry. And I was head-to-toe in the finest ‘breathable’ mountain attire currently available on the market!

      Re. ‘Testing waterproofs’ in Glencoe. You’re right our man there didn’t mention getting wet, but neither did he mention that he’d stayed dry! I’ve a pretty shrewd idea what the outcome of the testing was though.

      Serious point. It’s a big ask for any fabric to be both breathable and waterproof in the cold/wet Scottish mountains in a real world test with a human inside the fabric envelope working hard and perspiring. Different outcome in a low humidity (dry), cold environment.

      (Definitely take your point about renewing the beading ability of the shell with some reproofing agent, though I’m not sure that helps breathability.)

      Many thanks for your comment.

Got something to say? Leave a comment

    Latest Creag Meagaidh Avalanche Report
    Significant Mountain Hazards observed today
    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