Heavy drifting

13th 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.
Storm force SSE winds with heavy drifting above 500 metres.  The landscape is changing on a daily basis.  Sections of the ski road at 500 metres were covered by a few centimetres of snow yesterday.  Today in the same place the road has dissapheared under half a metre to a metre of firm windslab, with drifts several feet deep pluming across from the forest.  Huge banks of firm windslab have developed in and around the trees which are laden and surrounded by compact snow.
Beneath the firm windslab there are weaknesses at depth caused by loose sugar like grains called facets which have developed during the cold temperatures.  These weaknesses are mostly bridged by firm windslab; however this can be a real hazard where the firm windslab overlying these crystals becomes thinner especially in steep and convex locations where the weight of one human is enough to trigger an avalanche.
See the Northern Cairngorms avalanche report for more details.

 

The clouds over the Cairngorms are partly caused by plumes of spindrift

Leaving the ski road at 500 metres.

 

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