Whoompff in the snowpack

30th January 2021

Covid -19
The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues information to support permitted activity under current Scottish Government guidance.
Please be aware of current mandatory travel restrictions in Local Authority areas within Scotland and respect local communities by referring to Scottish Government guidance and safe route choices for exercise. For further guidance please refer to the following information for hillwalkers and climbers and snowsports on ski and board.
This blog is intended to provide hazard and mountain condition information to help plan safer mountain trip.
There was a soul-shaking “whoompff” in the snowpack today in Coire Gorm, Sron na Lairige. This tell tale sign of instability is the sound of the air being pushed out as a layer collapses. Effectively the trigger mechanism of a person has produced a shear failure in a layer which is a component of an avalanche( on this occasion no tension fracture or crack appeared as the slope was shallow and not steep enough to slide) , this was on a 20 degree slope and occurred a few times today.
This indicates a dry weak layer that is prone to collapse under the windslab that has formed in the last 24 hours. South-West, West and North-West slopes above 850 metres require the most caution and isolated accumulations may be present below this altitude down to 700 metres. Older windslab also persists on North and South aspects due to cross loading.
The general snow cover remains excellent, but expect slow progress on foot. The cold trend looks set to continue for a while yet with another cold day in prospect tomorrow.

An early start but rewarded by the full moon.


Braeriach is up there somewhere.


Soft cold snow lying at lower altitudes, here at about 450 metres.


The crags of Sgor Gaoith and Sgoran Dubh Mor above Loch Eanaich.

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