Four Avalanche days in a Row.

13th February 2024

Another day, another avalanche in Coire an Lochan. There was more snow than expected overnight, which had built some up fragile cornices and unstable slab. Visibility was quite hazy at higher levels due to the amount of snow which was blowing around. This meant that it was hard to see  how much avalanche activity there had been in Coire an Lochan. However, one crown wall was visible in the usual spot in Easy Gully. I could see various other things that might have been recent avalanches/debris, but it was hard to know for sure.

There was a bit more snow that expected last night. As the photo shows there was significant drifting on the lee side of the fences. There was only a very shallow covering of snow here yesterday afternoon.

A section of cornice which had formed behind a snow fence allowed me to preform the generic physics experiment; throw/hit something, with something else, and see what happens. At CERN for example they spent lots of money and energy accelerating particles up almost the speed of light to smash them into another particle to probe the underlying structure of the universe. My aims were more modest, I hit the cornice with the end of my ski pole at a speed a long way short of the speed of light (in fact even by ski pole hitting standards it was a low speed) to see what would happen.

The results of my experiment, the cornice collapsed. Although this result can not be generalised to all cornices on Aonach Mor, it did suggest that at least some cornices were prone to collapse. To be honest, I probably didn’t need to carry out this experiment to predict this, but it was quite satisfying!

Looking down Chancer towards the Braveheart Chair. Although very much in the lee side of the hill, a scoured area can be seen in the foreground of the shot. Local wind effects can sometime scour areas local areas on the lee side of the mountain, and conversely can deposit localised patches of windslab on the windward aspects.

Spindrift coming off the plateau into Coire an Lochan. Two darker streaks can be seen in the scarp slope. This was the old hard neve. It was hard to tell why these areas were exposed, whether it was wind scouring, or the overlying snow had avalanched off.

Looking into Easy Gully. A new crown wall can be seen cutting diagonally up and right in the usual location

Although there were some snow showers through the day, there were also clearer spells. However, visibility was always a bit hazy due the quantity of blowing snow.

Comments on this post

  • Colin
    13th February 2024 6:09 pm

    Your talents are wasted….head for CERN!

    • lochaberadmin
      13th February 2024 8:13 pm

      Problem is that I like pottering about in the Scottish hills to much to get a “real” job. Glad people are enjoying the blog though!

  • That Guy From The Internet
    13th February 2024 6:39 pm

    No, Colin, NASA.

    (Actually that nearly happened. True story.)

  • Sam
    13th February 2024 7:36 pm

    Great blog thanks for the daily updates!

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