Depleting snowpack or AWOL snowpack?

24th January 2022

The snow pack has continued to deplete in relatively mild temperatures. Clicking back a few days in the blog will give you an idea as to the slow but insidious snow loss of recent days.

There are only so many days that I can write “depleting”, before the snow becomes “depleted” or absent without leave, it is January after all. The greatest amounts remain on Northerly aspects, combined with East facing ridge flanks. Outwith these locations snow cover is isolated in extent and limited to the odd patch or ribbon of snow in hollows, depressions or stream beds.

Where larger snowfields or patches remain they provide ample opportunity for winter skills parties, mountaineers and climbers to practice their snowcraft as many people were doing today. Good luck to the candidates on their ‘Winter Climbing and Mountaineering Instructor’ (WMCI) Assessment starting today, there is enough, but I am sure some early starts will be required.

The snow surface is firm, and ideal for the use of crampons but a slide or fall could have serious consequences in steeper locations. Little change is expected tomorrow and the snow surface will be firm again, albeit softening slightly during the day.


Coire an Lochain and ‘The Great Slab’.


The classic climb ‘Savage Slit’, very much in summer rock climbing condition at the moment.


View from the ‘Twin Burns’ down to the Lochan. This area was the scene of a large avalanche last season, video below with some drone footage.


A climbing party at the bottom of one of the biggest snowfields around at the moment. Outwith these north facing slopes there are just isolated snow patches and ribbons of snow in sheltered hollows depressions and stream beds.


Video: Avalanche debris in Coire an Lochain thought to have released 19/20 February 2021.


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