Cracking day out

6th February 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 trips.
The snowfall continued for the duration of the day in the Northern Cairngorms. Although the snow was relatively light, the strong to gale force winds at higher elevations continue to transport it at pace. Wind sheltered (lee) slopes of a South-West to North-West aspect above 500 metres are achieving the greatest accumulations. North aspects also have accumulations due to cross loading.
Weaknesses persist in the existing snowpack and are being overloaded as more windslab develops. As such, a delicate avalanche situation prevails at relative low altitudes (especially above 500 metres). This was demonstrated again by the cracking windslab in the images below, which seams to be an almost daily occurrence at the moment.
Above 600 metres the avalanche hazard is ‘High’. The full report for the Northern Cairngorms is here at

Cracking windslab at approximately 550 metres on a North-West aspect. Indicative of weakness below the windslab.


Drifts in the trees at around 500 metres. Many of these features showed signs of weakness, with shooting cracks.


This tree demonstrates the continual snow transportation occurring at even low levels.

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