Squally showers and safe travel considerations on Ben Nevis

22nd February 2022

It was a day with occasional heavy showers of snow and graupel, above 500m on Ben Nevis. There were plenty of folk out enjoying the testing wintery conditions.

Looking up to the bottom of Boomers Requiem and South Castle gully.

Not great definition, but looking closely you can see a fair amount of avalanche debris from No2 gully area to the side of the Garadh. This most likely occurred around 48 hrs ago during a thaw period.

Looking up to Observatory Ridge and the Minus face.

One of the main considerations for travel in avalanche terrain, is the additional loading we put onto the slope, which can cause human triggered avalanches. The maths is easy. As a rough average, if there is two of you, this would be around 150kg additional loading. If there are 11 of you.. over 800kg worth.. A big difference. This large group heading towards No4 gully, were on a relatively stable slope at this point, so probably not an issue here. However, as slope stability and angle changes, group spacing should certainly be a consideration.

The snow profile today was heavily supervised by the chief avalanche mutt !

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