The Early Bird Catches the Sun

1st March 2024

After a sunny and frosty start this morning, thickening cloud gave some light precipitation around midday, before brightening again through the afternoon. A little fresh snow deposited yesterday evening and overnight only had a minor affect to the snow cover. However, isolated areas of unstable windslab exist, largely at higher elevations on North to East aspects, but is mostly shallow and avoidable. Most of the existing snow is re-frozen old snow. Exposed areas of neve are very firm and icy at summit levels.

(Above) The NE aspects of the northern Fannaich mountains of Sgurr Mor, Carn na Criche and Meall a’ Chrasgaidh looking very wintry from afar as the snow cover is highlighted by the sun.

(Above) A snowy looking Meall a’ Chrasgaidh above a semi frozen Loch a’ Mhadaidh. The vast majoity of the snow cover is stable old re-frozen snow. Pockets of windslab exist on previously wind sheltered ridge flanks, round coire rims and in tops of gullies. Elsewhere, the snow cover is shallow.

(Above 2 photos) The north top of Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich (830m.) showing the contrast between sunlit snow from a distance and a closer, more shaded view. With flat light, it becomes evident that the snow cover is quite shallow with a few deeper patches.

(Above) The wind scoured summit slopes of Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich (954m.) and the location of today’s snowpack and weather obs. Again, most of the snow in the photo is re-frozen older snow with icy patches between the rocks.

(Above) Sgurr Mor, the highest peak in the Fannaich mountains (and in fact the highest in the Torridon forecast area), with the craggy summit of Sgurr nan Clach Geala just visible on the right and Carn na Criche far right. There was little evidence of cornices on these peaks today.

(Above) A close-up of the NE face of Sgurr Mor. There are a number of winter climbs on this 300m. face, but all are looking pretty lean, but climbable.

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