Snow on the horizon…
2nd March 2023
A cosmetic dusting of fresh snow fell overnight above 650 metres in the Northern Cairngorms, giving the area a much more wintery feel than of late.
Coire an t-Sneachda was a popular location for many today, and the main gully lines were an obvious choice given the firm snow ice that exists in the north facing coires above 1000 metres. Inevitably, there isn’t a full repertoire of routes to be done and people are forced into the same areas bringing additional hazards.
The mixed routes on the buttresses were pretty much devoid of snow prior to this, and will feature loose rock that isn’t glued in properly. This ubiquitous feature of Coire an t-Sneachda is to be expected in any coire that gets freeze thaw action. Thanks to the party who shouted down from ‘The Message’ or ‘The Hybrid’ after trundling a block into clear space below.
Weaknesses are present in soft windslab in isolated locations around the coire rim and tops of gullies where crossloading has occurred in the East-North-Easterly and North-Easterly winds. These are generally easily avoided but are likely to gain depth overnight and into Friday. The avalanche hazard is low, but there will be a subtle change as snow is redistributed.
Although tomorrow is expected to be dry, precipitation is likely over the weekend at the high pressure system nudges to the west a little giving a north-north-easterly flow. There is little shelter for the Northern Cairngorms in these conditions and we have our fingers crossed for some showers coming in off the coast.
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