Another fine day…

9th January 2024

Another fine day in the Northern Cairngorms, while sadly the Southern Cairngorms was covered in a blanket of cloud for most of the day. As the wind swings to a northerly tomorrow, this situation may well be reversed. Enjoy the images from today while you can see them!

The snow remains cold, and some small and shallow windslab accumulations are quite sensitive. These are usually small and avoidable, and can generally be recognised by their rippled or mottled appearance. I triggered a number of small slabs on Northerly aspects today under my skis. This was fine in simple terrain, but even a small windslab release could be consequential in steep or complex terrain.

Small windslabs will start to build tomorrow on South to West aspects above 800 metres. Again the Avalanche Hazard will be Low.

Some small windslabs easily triggered in this small test drift at 1000 metres on a Northerly aspect.


Shelter Stone Crag – signs of some ice on the “Cold Climbs” classic Sticil Face, but most likely a bit thin at the moment.


Stag Rocks, Loch Avon Basin.


Hell’s Lum, Loch Avon Basin.


Looking down into Coire Sputan Dearg, with Derry Cairngorm on the left. The Luibeg Burn below.


Garbh Choire


The bowl on the top of Cairn Toul.


Cairn Toul (left) and Sgor an Lochain Uaine (right).


The Fiacaill Ridge (foreground), Sron na Lairige and the “Sgorans”.



Comments on this post

  • Siobhan
    9th January 2024 7:08 pm

    Wow! Stunning photos! Thanks very much, as always, great info.

    Question for you…
    If there are some pieces of slab on N aspect that could be consequential if triggered, how come we still get full pie of green for go?

    • ncairngormsadmin
      9th January 2024 10:09 pm

      Thanks Siobhan, Really good question that one. The conditions are generally favourable at the moment, but there are isolated and shallow accumulations of slab. Triggering them could be consequential to us as a person if we were in very steep terrain, or complex terrain (e.g. above crags, or where we could be carried into rocks).

      On the forecast page if you click on “View the avalanche hazard scale” it will give a description. “Low – Human triggered avalanches are generally only possible from high additional loads (e.g. multiple people) in isolated areas of very steep, extreme terrain. Only small and medium size natural avalanches possible. Generally safer travel conditions”. If you look at the descriptor for “Moderate”, the current situation wouldn’t meet the bar for this level.

      I would reframe “green for go” as “Low does not mean no” (hazard). Enjoy the fine weather and favourable conditions while they last.

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