Adret and Ubac

16th March 2024

With good visibility today it seemed like a worthwhile opportunity check out some different aspects on Creag Meagaidh. Firstly, we have had some recent changes in wind direction resulting in windslab accumulations on aspects 180 degrees apart. Secondly, as we are now into March and some slopes are starting to receive the greater effect of the sun. These two situations formed the basis for my day on the hill today.

On the southerly (adret) slopes the sun has resulted in consolidating windslab and softening of firm snow, to give spring snow or corn in some locations. Creep lines are also present at around 900 metres, indicating the slow ductile flow of the homogenous spring snowpack. Although that may sound alarming, the threat from glide snow avalanches is minimal given the lack of snow cover in these locations.

On the north facing (ubac) slopes the snow remains cold, and there has been some isolated windslab development this afternoon in the strengthening wind. This was observed to be limited to steep scarp slopes immediately beneath cornices.

Tomorrow the freezing level is due to rise above the summits and remain there for the duration of the day. As some light snow transitions to rain some isolated wet snow instabilities will be present in steep terrain. Particularly where recent windslab becomes wet. These instabilities should diminish as the day progresses, resulting in a slowly stabilising trend. However, the possibility of cornice collapse will be ever present and thaw related hazards such as rock and ice fall will remain close at hand.



Two walkers at the summit of Creag Meagaidh at 1130 metres. Note the drifting snow moving left to right over the corniced edge.


This gentleman is pictured coming up Raeburn’s Gully. Apparently it was a bit firm to ski. The nearby line of Easy Gully received a few ski descents in preference having kept some cold snow in the upper section at least.


The attractive view point of Meall Coire Choille-rais. The obvious buttress on the left is the ‘East Ridge’ I/II which makes a shorter alternative to the popular ‘East Ridge’ of Benin a’Chaorainn.


Looking down to Lochan a’Choire in Coire Ardair. Note the brocken spectre with a rainbow halo. [Not quite sure how to best describe that].


As I approached Coire nan Gamhna a fox crossed my path and proceeded to walk nonchalantly around the coire. Look closely and you find the medium sized omnivorous mammal in the centre of the image…


The Pinnacle and Post Faces, both shedding ice and rock today due to the effect of solar radiation.

Comments on this post

  • Mark Bull
    16th March 2024 6:28 pm

    Nice shots today! The coloured rings around your Brocken spectre are called a glory (though since the two phenomena so often occur together, Brocken spectre tends to get used to refer to both).

    • meagaidhadmin
      16th March 2024 7:02 pm

      Thanks Mark, Yet more proof that you can learn something every day…

  • C Cameron
    16th March 2024 6:39 pm

    Beautiful blog post. Great detail and super helpful as ever.

    • meagaidhadmin
      16th March 2024 7:04 pm

      Thanks Cat.

  • Ewan Moffat
    16th March 2024 8:27 pm

    Thanks for the picture in Raeburns.
    Was great to be in the mountains today as a posed to just reading about them in a blog

    • meagaidhadmin
      17th March 2024 1:24 pm

      Thanks Ewan, Glorious day. You were fast on the way out!

  • Jon Eden
    17th March 2024 11:17 am

    Will the fox live high in the mountains? Presumably it comes down in blizzards and bad weather.

    • meagaidhadmin
      17th March 2024 1:25 pm

      I would have thought it lives at low to medium altitudes. It would be quite inhospitable on the summit plateau.

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