/ Forthcoming Avalanches

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AdrianC - on 11 Apr 2013
Was pondering what's going on right now and thought it might be a good time to bring this up.

Some observations:

It has been cold for several weeks.
There's still a lot of snow around - even at quite low elevations.
It is forecast to get significantly warmer through this weekend.

Rapid warming is a strong warning sign - bonds between ice crystals will melt and weaken the snowpack. Stability will likely generally worsen. So if your feet are in the snow and the freezing level is above your head in the next wee while it might be good to consider...

Taking the longer, less steep way round.
Avoiding convex rolls.
Being wary of unsupported slopes (e.g. ones with a drop over a cliff at their bottom.)
Using safe travel techniques (e.g. one at a time on steep ground, moving between islands of safety.)

...especially if it is raining or sunny. And if you're wallowing in soft wet snow and your feet are punching through to the ground beneath then you have every reason to get out of there and go back to the cafe. Let's see if we can get through the rest of winter without any more avalanche involvements eh?
tistimetogo on 11 Apr 2013
Good post. Bump.
Andy Nisbet - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:

In general at this time of year the snow is stable even when it thaws. Even cornices tend to shrink away rather than drop. So I don't think the risk is any more than the rest of the year.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
Quite often there is a brief spell of avalanche activity during a heavy thaw and then overall the risk is quite low if the thaw persists, but some will occur and its not uncommon for these to be full depth.

I guess it massively depends on how weak the cornices are and if their are significant instabilities in the snow pack before the thaw (which it doesn't sound like there are much off just now). It will be interesting to see what SAIS make of it, I doubt many people will be out this weekend in the forecast 80 mph winds anyways!
tripehound - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:
The main risks would be cornice collapse falling ice and the odd rock. Most of us will be "climbed out" this winter anyway. ......................
Climb in the wet.....naw!,,
nicjbuk - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC: avalanche today in Ben udlaidh. From the quartzvein area. Wetting snowfall all day and very warm. Conditions were starting to go. Bailed on doctors this afternoon as felt route was becoming dodgy . Organ pipes were fat though. Not that we climbed that either but started 1st pitch and saw the steepNess.
Purple - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:


> Using safe travel techniques (e.g. one at a time on steep ground, moving between islands of safety.)

Call me a pedant if you will, but I prefer the mindset that these are 'defensive' or 'safer' travel techniques. Not safe, (necessarily).

Right, go on, call me a pedant.

george mc - on 13 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:

Taken from the SAIS Northern Corries blog:
http://saisncairngorms.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/intense-sunlight-during-morning.html

"Weak sugar like facetted grains are still within the snow pack presenting snowpack weaknesses especially in areas of steep and convex terrain."

These are the bad boys in the snowpack that could, come a thaw, lead to pretty large natural avalanches occurring as they are deep in the snowpack. FWIW on the Ben yesterday there was some avalanche activity around Creagan Coire Na Ciste (heard but not seen due to very poor vis although we noted fresh debris when coming down No4). I think it's worth being cautious as this year is pretty unique when it comes to snowpacks.
george mc - on 14 Apr 2013
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StuDoig - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to AdrianC:
Not often you see warnings like this (2nd post down);

http://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=268654469930485&ref=stream&__user=735518622

I can't remember any similar closure warnings for the loch muick path anyway?

Cheers,

Stu

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