Saturday, 27 February 2010


These images are from the SAIS blog for Lochaber (Nevis Range) - An offshoot of the Scottish Avalanche Information Service.
There's been some extremely heavy snowfall in Scotland this season. Some commentators are saying this is the most that we've seen in over 30 years. Hearing on the news yesterday that Glencoe had the heaviest and most snow anywhere on earth that day was quite astounding. One would hope that this meant that the scottish ski industry would get a welcome boost, but it seems that there's been so much that the roads are inaccessible - 8 feet of snow in Glenshee! Once the roads clear, there's bound to be some good ski-ing and climbing though.
The above image shows some off piste cross country ski touring in the col between Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor. Below are some climbers on the North face of Ben Nevis.

There have been disadvantages of course, and with this unprecedented amount of snowfall, there's also been a high incidence of avalanches, something that we're not really used to here, at least, not in the way found in alpine regions. And us Scottish walkers are, I hate to say, quite inexperienced in dealing with them. I know basic avalanche safety, but don't go out with avalanche probe, transcriever etc.

Large hoar frost crystals have formed, and once further accumulations of snow build up on top, this results in a weak layer where the new snowfall easily slides off as avalanches. There have already been many fatalities, and with windslab crust layers forming, the scottish hills are more dangerous right now than many of us have ever seen.

1 comment:

  1. The South of England seems very safe and gentle in comparison! I never have to go out with an avalanche probe. I feel awe at the sight of these images, admire the courage of those who face the challenge of walking and climbing in such conditions. The South offers rugged coastlines, but nothing like the landscape pictured here.