Firm and Consequential…

6th February 2024

The snowpack is generally stable at all altitudes and elevations, with little change expected tomorrow. With this stability comes a very hard snow surface. An uncontrolled slide or fall at the moment is likely to be very consequential, particularly as the snowpack has become depleted in recent days exposing more boulders.

The major gully lines look to be in the main unbroken, but bare patches can be seen. Although the climbing will be good in relative terms, people are likely to be concentrated into the same locations bringing additional hazards.


A party heading upwards on the blunt initial slope of Fiacaill Ridge. It looked like hard work in the winds today.


Just a trace of snow fall was evident this morning, seen here as a dusting on the path into Coire an t-Sneachda.


The Goat Track in Coire an t-Sneachda, with the unbroken couloir of .5 Gully just right of centre.


As expected, the steady descent of the freezing level is demonstrated nicely here thanks to the weather station on Cairn Gorm summit. Source: Met Office.


The snow was quite unremarkable in my profile today, which is to be expected after the thaw of recent days. It really is strong and stable on all aspects and elevations. Walking out I examined a small piece of quartz at my feet and found these small (~4mm by 8mm) crystals. It is the temperature that defines structure and quartz crystals can be trigonal, or hexagonal. The most sought after are prism shaped fangs. The collection of quartz in the Cairngorms is not encouraged now, and in any case most of the large finds have been removed in years gone by. I left this one where I found it for somebody else to enjoy. An interesting contrast.


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