24th February 2021
The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues information to support permitted activity under current Scottish Government guidance.
Please be aware of current mandatory travel restrictions inÂ Local AuthorityÂ areas within Scotland and respect local communities by referring toÂ Scottish Government guidanceÂ and safe route choices for exercise. For further guidance please refer to the following information forÂ hillwalkers and climbersÂ andÂ snowsports on ski and board.
This blog is intended to provide hazard and mountain condition information to help plan safer mountain trips.
Today was mild with a few showers brought in on strong South-South-Westerly winds. The snowpack continues to thaw and diminish with the snow cover becoming increasingly patchy below 800 metres. However, what remains is quite substantial in depth in some places and I was pleased to be on skis regardless.
Despite the changes in the snowpack in the last week, a sortie at higher levels in not without interest. Firstly, the avalanches recorded in recent days in Coire an t-Sneachda are impressive. You may have seen the blog post from Lochaber, Size 2 or Size 3?, which makes some interesting reading. The size of the avalanches in Coire an t-Sneachda are tricky to size as they have overlapping debris piles. The bigger of the two are quite possibly Size 3 (see image below).
Secondly, a number of glide cracks were noticed today particularly on Northerly aspects above 1000 metres. These are indicative of the whole snowpack sliding on the ground or close to ground. It does mean that the whole snowpack in these locations is homogenous, isothermal i.e. zero degrees Celsius and has few layers. Glide cracks are sometimes the precursor to full depth avalanches after prolonged thaws.
As the freezing level drops overnight, we will see firm and icy surface conditions due to a refreeze.
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