Not a day for photographs…

10th February 2024

It wasn’t a good day for photographs. Some persistent snow overnight resulted in widespread superficial cover, with snow showers continuing for much of the day.

Despite the slightly grey and monochrome picture there were quite a few visitors to Coire Ardair including some climbers making ascents of various lines on the ‘Post Face’, and in the ‘Inner Coire’. At least seven people seemed to be in Raeburn’s Gully, although I may have been mistaken given the snow showers. It isn’t just about the climbing, and quite a few people came as far as the coire floor to take in one of the most famous mountain views in the Highlands. Coire Ardair has to be up there with the North Face of Ben Nevis, and Coire Mhic Fhearchair on Being Eighe?

The ice routes, although developing, appear to be thin at the moment and will undoubtably be harder than their given guidebook grades.

Tomorrow a slight change in wind direction is expected with a westerly component. This will result in redistribution of snow into the tops of gullies, and further unstable windslab accumulations are expected in these areas.


A similar view to yesterday’s. Coire Ardair’s striking cliffs through the nearly constant snow showers.



Looking into Raeburn’s Gully with three climbers for scale.



An oblique view across the north facing gullies in the Inner Coire. It might be possible to make out scoured ground alongside the exposed boulders. Immediately adjacent to these are localised soft windslab deposits. Given good visibility these are avoidable, but present a bit of a challenge at the moment due to the effect of the wind. Although Easterly winds would normally be indicative of windslab deposits on the opposite (lee) aspects, down draughting winds have formed deposits down slope in sheltered locations. Or cross loaded deposits in areas that normally we would expect to be wind scoured. In short the wind has “been swirling around a bit” and the best mitigation is that of “see and avoid”. Good visibility is an asset at the moment…



Comments on this post

  • Dan Arnold
    10th February 2024 5:28 pm

    I’d put Coire Ardair ahead of both Nevis and eighe for aesthetics! I might be biased as my local hill though!

    • meagaidhadmin
      10th February 2024 7:42 pm

      It is an impressive sight. The big boulders below Raeburn’s gully have always fascinated me. I wonder from where in the crags above they came from…

  • Ian McLelland
    10th February 2024 6:00 pm

    Ye cannae beat Coir Mhic Fhearchair The triple buttresses even have a song about them -Dave Goulder’s ” Three Old Men”

    • meagaidhadmin
      10th February 2024 7:40 pm

      They are very spectacular, and the boundary between the Torridonian Sandstone and Quartzite above has additional appeal.

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