/ Massive Avalanche Coire na Tulaich

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CurlyStevo - on 21 Feb 2014
AFAIK no humans have been caught up in it, but the scale of this avalanche is quite something for Scotland.

http://saisglencoe.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/coire-na-tulaich-avalanche.html
Bob on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Some of those shots make it look like a glacier somewhere in the himalaya not a gorge on the side of a Scottish mountain.
Wesley Orvis - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

wow
Withnail - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Eek! I don't think I've ever seen a slide that big in Scotland! Pretty scary...
Sean Kelly - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

A notorious well documented avalanche blackspot!
PeterM - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Sheesh! that's quite something. Scary just to look at...
CurlyStevo - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to Sean Kelly:

for sure, but I'm thinking this is one of the larger ones to come down the corie in recent years / decades.
crayefish - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Big 'un! People stopped climbing gullies in the area now? :)

I was been told by a few people on separate occasions about some very famous full depth slab avalanche that took a whole corrie of snow down with it off the side of the cairngorm plateau. When did that happen? (If you know the one I mean!)
CurlyStevo - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to crayefish:
yeah when the great slab on coire an lochain goes (which it does most years at least once) I believe that is quite something as well!

I'm sure much bigger avalanches do regularly occur in Scotland, probably mostly slab avalanches with very big crown walls. However to get 15 metres of depth of debris at the bottom is still quite something IMO!
Post edited at 16:27
JamesRoddie - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

The debris looks similar to the one that came down the West face of Aonach Dubh in March 2010. The crown wall was something not far off 1km in width, running most of the width of the face, and some of the debris still remained at about 400m altitude well into June!

Some photos here, with that similar 'glacial' appearance to the debris.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.405200245224.203906.371389085224&l=d7162c5587

Trevers - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

On a walk out from the Northern Corries a couple of weeks ago I turned round and could see what looked like a bergschrund at the top of the Great Slab in Lochan
OwenF - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to crayefish:

Mark ??? (forgot surname) of SAIS fame once told me of an slab avalanche near Drumochter with a 10m high head wall that sheared over wet heather one spring.
Bob on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
Many years ago (on my first winter trip to Scotland) we stopped at a caravan park just south of Aviemore. The owner related a tale of heading up to Coire an Lochain one spring with John Cunningham who was working at Glenmore Lodge. JC would walk along the top of the Great Slab crown wall and this guy along the bottom - all sounds a bit scary. They measured the depth of the crown wall at 26ft!


OwenF: it's Mark Diggins
Post edited at 16:43
crayefish - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
Yeah that's the one. I think one year it was particularly big right? Now that would be an impressive sight to see. Getting close to the huge ones they get in the big ranges.

I imagine this year it could be a big one given the dumps that have happened early in the year and the wind blowing mostly to the north.
Post edited at 17:06
drmarten on 21 Feb 2014
Great Gully on Buachaille Etive Mor goes as well, I've seen reports online and personally witnessed it from up on North Buttress. Both have shown a wet avalanche with a lot of water content as if there is a reservoir of icy water being held higher up in Great Gully when the reservoir barrier melts the water descends down the gully, with rocks, ice and snow and easily crosses the Curved Ridge/North Buttress approach path - what we saw would wipe anyone out who happened to be crossing the bottom of the gully on the path. I suspect we may be in for more large slides with the amount of snow lying on the hills.
jonnie3430 - on 21 Feb 2014
stevesmith - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to drmarten:

The British climber Gunn Clark died in an avalanche in Great Gully in 1970.
http://www.alpinejournal.org.uk/Contents/Contents_1970_files/AJ%201970%20331-349%20In%20Memoriam_1.p...
CurlyStevo - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to jonnie3430:

Wow another avalanche on the Ben coming fairly close to the CIC hut, much more snow and it may get taken out!
andrew ogilvie - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to jonnie3430:

Scary
Ron Walker - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
I had a lucky call a few years ago in the 1980's when we swam up Coire na Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mor oblivious of the avalanche risk.
We returned back a few hours later only to find our path in via the gorge was completely buried by a massive avalanche similar to the one in the photos. We were asked to help in the search for some missing walkers we'd spoken to and passed earlier. Several hillwalkers and climbers were killed that day in a number of big separate avalanches and it could so easily have been us.
Given the horrible forecast for Sunday I'd be very surprised if there aren't some massive avalanches and landslides in the Glencoe and Ben Nevis areas and I'd stay well clear of the lower runout areas!
Sean Kelly - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to Ron Walker:

> I had a lucky call a few years ago in the 1980's when we swam up Coire na Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mor oblivious of the avalanche risk.

That was in 1986. I led a friend up the following day and checked the snowslope just 100ft below the coire lip, and there was a shear layer waiting to be triggered. So I wisely backed off and went back down. Everyone behind me, about a dozen, did the same.
Ben Sharp - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to drmarten:

Think there was a video posted of a big wet avalanche in Great Fully a few years ago, think it was Mike Pescod. Scary stuff
OwenM - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> That was in 1986. I led a friend up the following day and checked the snowslope just 100ft below the coire lip, and there was a shear layer waiting to be triggered. So I wisely backed off and went back down. Everyone behind me, about a dozen, did the same.

I remember walking up to some avalanche debris that had come down from the Buachaille that year. There was a number of deer mangled up in it.
jonnie3430 - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

I was heading up the Buachaille to have a look at routes on Crowberry Tower on Wednesday but found the snow wet and thick, with no sign of layers and the weather warmer than I expected. We turned before the steep bit before the base of Easy Gully, the lower parts of Curved Ridge was banked out completely. The difference between the 18th, our forecast and 19th, when the avalanche happened can be seen here: http://www.sais.gov.uk/page_Glencoe_seven_day.asp
Jamie B - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> Think there was a video posted of a big wet avalanche in Great Gully a few years ago, think it was Mike Pescod. Scary stuff

This one here?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/abacusmountaineering/5415949137/
Michael Gordon - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to Trevers:

> On a walk out from the Northern Corries a couple of weeks ago I turned round and could see what looked like a bergschrund at the top of the Great Slab in Lochan

That is quite a common feature there
MarcusP - on 09 Mar 2014
I had a nose around the remaining debris today and found a Simond ice axe! If it is yours and you can tell me the model name or describe the tat tied to it I will return it to you. If I hear nothing it might get donated to the Glasgow Uni Mountaineering Club's gear pile.
Kevin Woods - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to MarcusP:

Would just hope there wasn't a body in the vicinity...? Was it on the surface i.e. someones dropped it since the avalanche or did it appear to have been taken down with the debris?
MarcusP - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to Kevin Woods:

Hard to say. It was on the surface, but I think there has been a lot of melting so it could have been recently exposed.
Trevers - on 09 Mar 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> That is quite a common feature there

So my instructor explained, but for a city boy from London it's a real eye-opener!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Mal Grey - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

AMazing, it really does look glacial.

We counted about 12 separate avalanches from collapsed cornices on Tom a Choinich's north east face (Affric) on Thursday. Certainly made finding the route off down the spur to Bealach Toll Easa on a bearing a little thought provoking, even in clear conditions...but the snow itself was in good nick.

The cornices along the edge had frozen to the heather, and the weight had actually ripped up large amounts of heather and dirt along the fracture lines. Never seen anything quite like it in 20 winters of walking in the Highlands.


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