Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Respite from the wind !

Party heading across the Cairngorm Plateau - looking South toward Loch Etchachan

Looking across Coire an t Sneachda cliffs
A good morning but all too brief, as the wind increased it started snowing and visibility became poor in the afternoon

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stormy again !

Coire an Lochain from Lurchers Ridge area

The snowpack has transformed in the freeze that cycles and is generally pretty well bonded but steep places are still to be suspected to retain instabilities - note large cornices
Depth Hoar (3mm grid squares) grains at 1000m on a NW aspect nr twin Burns - ground level
A  grain layer that has been subjected to a prolonged steep temperature gradient,  becoming  facets which has then developed into depth hoar or cup crystals  (note striations )- a weak sugar like, loose grain layer  at ground - this is now wet but is currently supported  by strong layers above.

Monday, January 28, 2013


A very Stormy Coire an t Sneachda
Lots of drifting up high and deep unstable windslab in sheltered locations where the wind has not scoured bare and also lower down into locations relatively sheltered - calm in the coire but worse in the mouth and approach as the winds gathered speed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thaw followed by a freeze

Avalanche debris below Goat Track gully after last nights thaw.

Group moving up on breakable crust

Avalanche debris from trident Gullies Sneachda

Flat ice and Fiacaill buttress looking good.

Snow showers arrived by the afternoon

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Clear and bright

Drifting on the Fiacaill Chais ridge

Raised footprints on this wind exposed West facing slope

Coire an t-Sneachda

Fiacaill Buttress with Lochain behind

Good all round winter conditions

Friday, January 25, 2013

Heavy Snow and Drifting

Using a probe to determine layers and depth at 1100m NW aspect

Severe drifting and sttrong winds are piling in the snow onto most aspects - mainly those places sheltered from the very strong Southerly winds - The snow has scoured large areas and redisrtibuted it elsewhere. The areas where the windslab has accumulated is pretty weak especially in steep convex places.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cold with strengthening S wind

lone skier heading toward Cairngorm
Coire an t Sneachda

Looking North from the Cairngorm Plateau - Coire Chais below
Generally pretty well scoured but with deeper accumulations on specific slopes SW, W NW -

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Calmer with views, but where the Snow Gone !

Scoured at base of crags and on r (east aspects) with old neve exposed - windslab loading in gullies and on West aspects with old crown walls from avalanches on L of Mess of Potage - lots of scoured areas but deep snow and drifts too !

Looking North to The Spey Valley

Coire an t Sneachda

Coire an t Sneachda

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heavy drifting at higher altitudes

Deep drifts, and cornices developing at lower altitudes

Wind blown snow at 500m

Drifts covering the ski road.

Much calmer in the tree line

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blizzard conditions

Deep snowdrifts are rapidly developing due to the strong winds and snowfall, this was only at 780 metres, more intense at higher altitudes... spindrift covered everything in seconds including Stanley the dog.  

Poor visibility above 700 metres.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another day of spindrift

Looking up towards Coire an Lochain, weakly bonded windslab has been rapidly building on W to N aspects.

The Northern Corries disappear under a plume of billowing spindrift.

Drifting at all levels.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Strong winds eased.

Strong winds eased, but temperatures are still bitterly cold in the Cairngorms.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blizzard conditions

Poorly bonded windslab accumulations, continuing snowfall, very cold temperatures and strong winds - A perfect cocktail for avalanches!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold, Windy

Coire an t Sneachda

Poorly bonded windslab is present high up in the corries and tops of gullies etc where the wind has been drifting the snow.
Elsewhere the old snow is bullet hard and the consequences of a trip doesn,t bear thinking about,  its so hard I don't even think that self arresting with an ice axe would work !! just don't trip.

Descending iron - hard  snow ice to the Corrie floor 

Clearly cracking underfoot indicates a weak layer  is present in the snowpack - this clip was taken was on a North-West aspect at 1100 metres altitude.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bitterly cold

Cornices developing on N aspects

Buttresses looking very wintry

Yesterdays soft snow has drifted and now firm windslab is overlying a very soft layer beneath affecting lee slopes, this combined with cold temperatures has led to a weakly bonded snowpack.

A very cold day with lows of minus 10 C

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cold, Clear and Sunny

Afternoon Light - Cairngorm from Loch Morlich
 What a difference a day makes - The hills certainly look good - however only a thin cover of snow lies on rocks and boulders, so for ski touring - could be very expensive !!
Nick ascending Cairngorm - Spey Valley below

The Sgorans and beyond

A party ascending Cairngorm - Plateau and Macdui beyond

The Lhairig Ghru for Aviemore Railway station Bridge

fractures on North aspect in localised accumulation - ' a good weakness indicator'

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cold and Windy with little snow

Early Morning Northern Corries and Loch Morlich
The old snow pack remains bullet hard snow-ice with serious runouts for anyone that trips !! - We seem to have missed out on the recent snowfall which fell in other areas.
Coire an t Sneachda with Party below Trident Gullies

Climber ascending Jacobs Ladder - photo from Coire Rim

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snow showers

Snow showers, drifting and cold temperatures - accumulations of weakly bonded windslab have developed

Snow cover still sparse but further snow expected tonight and tomorrow