Stag Rocks and Hell’s Lum…

6th January 2024

Hopeful that the cloud may break, the aim today was to explore the Cairngorm plateau and take some images of some of the summits on the southern periphery of our area. Unfortunately, the cloud remained static over Cairn Gorm and the northern coires, only clearing fleetingly to give a view down Loch Avon.

The wind has quickly veered around to the West-North-West, and correspondingly there are some small and shallow windslab accumulations in isolated spots, on South and South-East aspects. These are generally confined to the tops of gullies and steep wind sheltered locations. They and are unlikely to present a hazard unless they become more expensive in size or depth.

The presence of a widespread crust means that this is unlikely, as this limits the light and cold snow which can be redistributed to other aspects. There were a few light snow showers today on the plateau and a trace dusting of snow last night which provides little other than a cosmetic fresh feel. The avalanche hazard is low.

Scroll down for some images from today. Also are included are a couple of addition submissions from Glen Feshie, which has been enjoyed by a few ski touring parties recently…


An interesting ice layer in the bottom of my snow profile today. I was primarily interested in the shallow windslab above so this was a surprise. Although it perhaps shouldn’t have been, as I was on the flank of a small stream bed at around 950 metres.


Snow transport on a South-East facing convexity above Loch Avon.


The stone lintel from The St Valery Refuge above Stag Rocks. This small refuge was removed in 1975 after the earlier ‘Cairngorm Disaster’ which occurred in 1971. This stone is all that remains. The logo above the text is that of the 51st Highland Division having fought at St Valéry-en-Caux.


Shelter Stone Crag – home of some very committing mixed climbs., many of which were traditionally approached from the east via the Ford of Avon Refuge in the days before the access road to Cairngorm Mountain.


Hell’s Lum with two climbers just approaching the bottom of the main chimney slot on ‘Deep Cut Chimney’. A good place to be hiding from the wind today.


Looking down ‘Diagonal Gully’ into Loch Avon. South and South-East aspects on the edge of the plateau were accumulating small windslab deposits today. They are very isolated and unfortunately the snow cover is fairly limited on the southerly aspects with scoured ground and exposed rocks just out of shot.


High up in the Feshie Hills. Good cover for ski touring.


The burn lines are starting to fill in nicely, offering some good sport for those prepared to walk with their skis.


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