Surprisingly OK day.

7th April 2024

(Above) The crags at the upper end of Coire Ardair. Seemed to be spared the worst of the weather, or more accurately the wind, today. Looks like Storm Kathleen was doing its worst further west of Creag Meagaidh but maybe also over the Cairngorms as well. Some overnight showers, mainly of rain, with only a trace of snow up high and just a brief graupel shower during the morning. For any wild swimmers out there, the water temperature in Lochan a Choire was a bracing 3.2 degrees C in the shallows at midday.


(Above) The Inner Coire of Coire Ardair The Window. The snow in shot is all coarse-grained moist snow, firmer or hard above 900m but softer down low.


(Above) Scottish tumbleweed? More sodfall. I blogged about this some weeks ago and there’s been a little more, probably from yesterday. There’s an older example over on the left which was mentioned in the blog post of March 19th.


(Above) ‘Cinderella’ – a low grade NNE-facing gully in the Inner Coire. The mucky smear in the gully is some debris from a very small full depth snowslide off one of the multiplicity of horizontal ledges on these crags. Almost certainly slid down yesterday during the period of heavy rainfall. Note the cornice still in place over the top of the gully. Likely to refreeze overnight but always a worry during wet or very mild weather.


(Above) What remains of ‘The Wand’ and ‘Diadem’ further along from the previous shot.


(Above) Easy Gully below the Post Face of Coire Ardair. Well established waterfalls – from both sides – are emptying into this snowy defile at the moment. Cornices and ice still in place in its upper reaches, too. Note the snow-laden horizontal ledges. Still some potential for these to slide off suddenly especially when the bedsurface is generously lubricated with rain or meltwater.


(Above) N-facing aspects. The snow cover is now distinctly patchy but there’s more of on N to E aspects above circa 850m, and a bit lower in favoured gully lines.


(Above) Bellevue Buttress and Raeburn’s Gully today.

Comments on this post

  • Keith Horner
    7th April 2024 5:56 pm

    I sense a slightly worrying increase in the occurrence of sodfall – a new dimension to the changing climate in our mountains? Perhaps someone needs to invent a ‘sodfallometer’ in order that this can be appropriately factored into future forecasts….?

    • meagaidhadmin
      7th April 2024 6:20 pm

      Yes, the thin, steeply inclined soils/vegetation in these high mountain environments will probably respond more quickly to climate change than those at lower altitudes.

      ‘Sodfallometer’. Isn’t that the sort of thing a landscape architect might design and develop? Just sayin’;)

  • Keith Horner
    7th April 2024 9:15 pm

    Ha – I wouldn’t count on that – it would probably resemble some Heath Robinson concoction ie a boffin clad in a 1970’s Galibier climbing helmet, Roman gladiator protective breastplate and shin pads, and with headphones the size of jam doughnuts, wandering around remote coires pointing a radio wave emitting large TV aerial at every snowless vegetated cliff in sight. Readings of sod depth and moisture content, species composition (clubmoss and heather having little rooting capacity compared to the snowy woodrush family for example), angle of repose and ambient air temperature would be translated on said boffins portable abacus by a fiendishly clever mathematical algorithm to establish the sod fall rating – 1: no worries bud, have a nice day to 5: run like the wind my friend, run like the wind….
    Of course, it could (or should?) also double for locating the underground activity of the mountaineering moles which appear to have taken up residence in the Inner Coire…

    • meagaidhadmin
      7th April 2024 9:32 pm

      Excellent reply, Keith!

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