Spring in the Fannaichs

24th March 2024

Largely dry in the Fannaichs today, with the occasional light shower, wintry on the summits and some good bright and sunny spells to boot!

The snowline is around 700m. and the mainly shallow snowpack has generally good stability. Some deeper drifts of windslab exist on high E to S aspects mainly above 800m. that are specifically confined to coire rims, ridge flanks and tops of gullies.

There is a general consolidation trend in the snowpack that will continue through tomorrow.

(Above) The Druim Reidh ridge that leads to the summit of Toman Coinnich (935m.), a top that lies between the Munros of Sgurr Breac and A’ Chailleach in the Fannaichs. Note the wind scoured terrain on the ridge from yesterday’s gales blowing snow onto the SE aspect ridge flank on the left. This was the location for today’s snowpack obs.

(Above) Deeper drifts of windslab (63cm at the snow profile site) exist on previously wind sheltered terrain like this coire rim lining the back SE aspect of Coire Breac. But pretty localised in extent, as you can see the snow shallows off very quickly onto grass and scree a bit lower down the slope. No real evidence of recent cornice growth observed today.

(Above) A’ Chailleach and an unfrozen Loch Toll an Lochain. Generally a shallow snow cover in the coire. Note where the greatest accumulations of snow are; round the coire rim and in the top of the couloir just left of the summit.

(Above) There is a warmth in the sun now and this has an effect on the snowpack generally. As the air temperature rises due to sun warming, most obvious on sunny aspects (even in cloudy conditions), there can be surface thawing leading to wet snow instabilities. In direct sunlight, as noted today, there was single point ‘roller ball’ activity starting on scarp slopes and spreading downhill, immediately direct sunlight hit the coire rim.

(Above) A defined snowline at around 700m. today. Looking W from Druim Reidh to Slioch on the left and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair on the right.


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