White Room…

5th January 2024

The Cairngorm plateau was shrouded in cloud for the vast majority of the day, breaking only later towards the end of the day.

This made for some classic precision navigation for those away from the linear features of the snow fences. Some of the higher runs were open on Cairngorm Mountain, and quite a few people were enjoying the newly groomed ‘M1’.

Elsewhere the snow surface was firm after a cold night, but softened later. While at higher elevations a friable crust is still present in many areas, with softer snow below. This harboured some lingering shallow instabilities, but these are isolated and only likely to be present in very steep locations such as coire rims and headwalls.

The main implication is for travel, particularly for walkers and climbers who may find themselves in steep locations. Any instability could be consequential in steep terrain, especially where there is the added complication of exposed boulders below.

The snowpack continues to slowly stabilise, with well bonded windslab mainly on North-West to North-East aspects above 1000 metres. The Avalanche Hazard is Low.


A ski touring party navigating through the white room towards the upper slopes of Cairn Gorm.


Coire an t-Sneachda, Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda and Coire an Lochain viewed from Glenmore. Note the cloud shrouding the summit plateau, which was a feature for most of the day, despite breaks later. Look carefully and the crags of Alladin’s Buttress are visible just below the cloud base.


Casting around in Ciste Mhearad. The light was particularly flat and the terrain devoid of features for contrast today. A useful trick is to use snow balls or cast a piece of cord out “fly fishing style”. Once lying on the ground ahead of you, it provides a useful reference point as to the gradient, and in this case the approaching wind lip of a notorious accumulation zone.


Comments on this post

  • Alan Crichton
    6th January 2024 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the “fly fishing” tip. Old Dogs … New Tricks etc especially since I carry a short line even when just out walking
    SAIS Forecasts, background info and blogs compulsory daily reading for the next few months.
    Ta for hitting the hills for us, especially on the ‘bad’ days.

    • ncairngormsadmin
      6th January 2024 1:21 pm

      The new tricks are probably just the old ones recycled Alan. Enjoy your days out. Thanks.

  • Damien McGovern
    7th January 2024 9:23 am

    Went into coire an t-sneachda yesterday for first time this season. Your updates were a great help with our planning. Thanks for doing what you do folks.

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