Deep Snow

17th February 2018

The main snow level is around 400 metres, above which it quickly deepens in large areas of drifts, with some breakable crust, making for hard going on foot. It took me over 2.5 hrs to reach 700 metres on Meall a’ Ghiuthais – with snowshoes! Continuing very wintry at higher elevations, but with wind scoured exposed summit slopes and ridges. A thaw at all levels later tomorrow.

The windward aspects of Slioch. A defined snowline at around 400 metres.

A windblown landscape with deep drifts and few bare areas. The summit of Creag Dhubh, Beinn Eighe in the background emerging from a wintry shower.

The North-East aspects of Meall a’ Ghuithais north top. Avalanche debris (size 2) running out of the central couloir. Probably an overnight cornice collapse trigger.

Spot the snowshoe tracks. It would have been desperate on foot through this terrain with a breakable crust!

Spindrift around the summit of Creag Dhubh, Beinn Eighe. Although precipitation was minimal during the wintry showers, snow redistribution was evident in the strengthening winds ahead of and during the showers.

Comments on this post

  • Ross
    18th February 2018 1:10 pm

    Hiya, saw a huge amount of debris on Beinn Bhan in Coire an Fhamair yesterday, probably from avalanche on Friday. The whole slope under Giants Wall had gone. The slope further south beneath Genesis slid yesterday afternoon too. Pieces of cornice were breaking off and falling down the crag regularly through the day. My uninformed view is that this wasn’t the cornice melting ( it was sub zero) but new cornice building too quickly to support itself.

    It’s worth having a walk in to look at the debris under Giants Wall if you get chance as it’s of a scale we don’t see much in Scotland.

    Cheers, Ross.

    • torridonadmin
      18th February 2018 5:30 pm

      Hi Ross. Thanks for that. I agree that cornice collapse would most likely be the trigger for the avalanches and debris at the base of the crags. The windspeed yesterday was perfect for carrying enough snow for rapid cornice formation and ultimately a collapse. I observed significant amounts of spindrift yesterday in Torridon and cornice collapse overnight Sunday in the mild conditions will be a hazard. Could you please fill in ‘report an avalanche’ data on our main website for our information. That would be great thanks.

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