There’s a mole in the Inner Coire.

17th February 2024


Not exactly headline news but it’s the first time I’ve come across (newly-formed) mole hills at 780m…anywhere. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve not been looking hard enough! Anyway, probably the most interesting thing I came across today, bar the humans I bumped into that is.


(Above) The Inner Coire of Coire Ardair & The Window. Moist snow aplenty everywhere here. Thawing all the way to the summits but mercifully dry weather, at least whilst I was there up until 1pm.


(Above) The NNE-facing crags at the entrance to the Inner Coire. The Pipes Direct left and Pumpkin right with narrow, thin remnants of wet ice.

Note the avalanche and cornice debris on the two snowy talus fans left & right of shot. There’s quite a lot of (old) avalanche and cornice debris in the mouths of principal gullies and most crag aprons. This is a normal for Creag Meagaidh in the winter months, but it does seem to spook people not familiar with the area which is understandable. Seeing avalanche debris is more often than not an indication of very poor stability but only if it’s recent. The stuff in the picture is several days old and will have come down with the onset of much milder, damp weather earlier in the week. Dating avalanche debris can be tricky for the uninitiated, particularly wet slab avalanche debris as it can mimic dry slab debris that’s been through several weather/temperatures evolutions. Anyway, I checked all this today and it’s a combo of all previously mentioned! But relics of avalanches past, not recent.

Remaining cornices are worth giving a wide berth in the current mild, moist conditions. There are still a few around although the larger ones have either collapsed or slumped.

Falling rocks and ice are both potential objective hazards in the vicinity of the crags – or in some of our gullies – during the sustained thaw.


(Above) A misty glimpse into Easy Gully. The (wet) curtain of ice just visible is Last Post. Previous health warning applies here re. ice fall as well as from Centre Post and South Post, the latter two can produce falling ice in quantity in full-on thaw conditions like we have now.


(Above) The entrance to Raeburn’s Gully with old cornice and avalanche debris on the talus fan. This popular gully was busy with climbing teams during the course of the morning. Quite a few visitors in our area today all with smiling faces enjoying welcome dry overhead conditions, at least for the first part of the day.


(Above) The crags and gullies at the top end of Coire Ardair.

Comments on this post

  • Keith Horner
    17th February 2024 5:12 pm

    Despite being important ecosystem engineers, if the density of mole hills continues to increase, you might have to add ‘falls into networks of mole burrows’ to your list of ‘significant mountains hazards observed today’ – new challenge there for the graphics dept…..!

    • meagaidhadmin
      17th February 2024 6:29 pm

      Wildlife alerts! Why not!

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