Avalanche Report for Lochaber


Avalanche Hazard Forecast

FOR PERIOD 18:00 Mon 30/03/2015 TO 18:00 Tue 31/03/2015

Hazard level
Human triggered avalanches not likely. Generally safe travel conditions.
Human triggered avalanches are possible, so good visibility and good route selection is important, especially in steep locations as indicated in the reports. Groups should be managed carefully, keeping good spacing between people to reduce loading on slopes.
Natural avalanches may occur - and a single person load is likely to trigger an avalanche on some slopes. Good visibility and route finding in mountain terrain is important, as is experience in avalanche hazard evaluation.
Natural avalanches will occur - and a single person load will trigger an avalanche on some slopes. Good visibility and good route-finding in mountain terrain is essential, as is experience in avalanche hazard evaluation.
Very High
Widespread natural avalanches will occur - and a single person load will trigger an avalanche on most slopes. Good visibility and good route-finding in mountain terrain is essential, as is experience in avalanche hazard evaluation.
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The avalanche hazard will be Considerable

Forcasted Snow Stability & Avalanche Hazard

Areas of unstable windslab will be present, mainly on steep North-East, East and South-East aspects above 900m. Localised accumulations will also be present in other sheltered locations. Avalanches are likely in these locations. Fresh cornices will be fragile and prone to collapse. WInd scoured snow slopes will be frozen and stable. The avalanche hazard will be Considerable

Forcasted Weather Influences

Strong Westerly winds and snow showers. The freezing level will be around 1000m overnight, falling to 200m during the day.

Key Snow Stability Observations

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Observed Avalanche Hazard -

The avalanche hazard is Considerable

Observed Weather Influences

Strong Westerly winds and snow showers above 500m.

Observed Snow Stability and Avalanche Hazard

Large areas of unstable windslab have developed in sheltered locations. Greatest accumulations are on steep North-East, East and South-East aspects above 900m. Localised areas of unstable snow are also present in other locations. The avalanche hazard is Considerable

Mountain Conditions

Fresh snow above 600m with extensive drifting in sheltered locations. Strong summit winds


Weekly Snowpack Summary
  • The early part of the period saw several days of spring like conditions with cold temperatures overnight and thawing of the snowpack in sunshine. Snowpack stability was generally good. Some fresh snow on Tuesday made for more wintery conditions and fresh snow and wind overnight into Thursday has started to form fresh areas of unstable windslab again.

    After a few snow showers last Friday it has been dry, settled and often sunny. There has been little change in the snowpack through the week, it has generally been firm and stable on most aspects with some areas of windslab on steep, sheltered North to East aspects above 900 metres. The hazard has been moderate through most of the period.

    It has been another very stormy week. Initially wet at all levels with numerous wet snow avalanches. By Sunday there was a return to snow showers but strong winds have continued to be a feature. Fluctuating temperatures, with the freezing level rising above the summits on both Wednesday and Thursday have helped to consolidate the snowpack with localised instabilities persisting

    It has been a stormy week! Generally strong SW winds. A brief thaw on Sunday followed by snow showers giving significant fresh snow accumulations by Tuesday, even down to lower elevations. Thursday saw the start of a significant thaw with rain on the summits. Snowpack stability has been generally poor since Sunday with significant wet snow instabilities developing during Thursday

    Snowfall occurred most days during the week, with Sunday and Monday in particular seeing large snow falls. There was some natural avalanche activity through the week, again mainly occurring on Sunday and Monday. On Wednesday night there was a mild spell with rain at all level. This triggered some avalanches and cornice collapse. Lower temperature consolidated the existing snowpack on Thursday, but snow showers started to deposit fresh windslab through the day.

    The start of the period quite settled weather wise. The snowpack was generally stable, with just a few minor instabilities. The weather then changed on Monday and Tuesday, with some fresh windslab being deposited, but no avalanche activity reported. There was then a major thaw on Wednesday with a substantial avalanche in Observatory Gully on Ben Nevis. Winter returned on Thursday with the exiting snowpack consolidating, but fresh unstable windslab deposits building through the day.

    It has been a generally settled spell of weather with the freezing level remaining between 900m and the summits. There was a brief period of drizzle which has formed a crust on much of the snowpack. SNowpack stability is generally good with the snowpack slowly consolidating through out the period. Some very isolated pockets of unstable snow have persisted but these tend to be in high and shady locations

    This period started with windslab being mainly on NE to SE aspects. Cold temperatures, a moderate to strong generally Northerly airstream and some further snowfall led to redistribution of windslab onto SE to SW (and some W) aspects. The end of the period was dry with light winds and a variable snowpack on most aspects: unstable windslab, more consolidated windslab, frozen snow-ice and soft snow.

    The start of the period was quite variable with rain and mild temperatures on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, and cooler conditions with some snow showers in between. It was particularly wet on the Sunday, with some avalanche and cornice collapse activity. Wednesday and Thursday were much colder with a significant snowfall on Wednesday night and Westerly winds, which caused some cornice collapse and natural avalanche activity on higher North-East to South-East aspects.

    Last Friday marked the end of significant storm cycle which deposited a lot of snow above 500 metres. During this storm a number of natural avalanches were recorded. During the next three days conditions were cold, clear and calm, and the snowpack seemed to consolidate a bit. Through the final three days of this period, conditions remained cold and dry, but with some drifting on increasing Southerly winds. However, the redistribution was not extensive and no further avalanches were recorded.

    After a big thaw on Friday night, the freezing level has been generally around 4-600m with 2 rises to around 1100m on Sunday and Wednesday night. Very strong W-SW winds have been a feature of the week with a reasonable amount of snow showers. The snowpack has been generally weak, with heavy snow showers over the past few days producing some considerable amounts of fresh unstable windslab

    After a wintery start to the period there have been 2 major thaw/freeze cycles with summit temperatures rising to around plus 5 degrees on both Monday and Wednesday. These were separated by days with summit temperatures of minus 4 degrees on Tuesday and Thursday. Windy towards the end of the period with some snow showers

    From Friday until Monday it was quite cold with a little fresh snow. This drifted in strengthening winds to form some shallow but quite unstable deposits on Monday afternoon. From Tuesday until Thursday the weather became progressively milder and wetter. The snowpack soon became a wet spring snowpack, and gradually consolidated through this mild period. A few minor avalanches were recorded on Saturday the 27th

    The cold and wintery conditions early in the period but by Sunday there was a major thaw with heavy rain over the summits. Monday saw a gradual return to colder conditions with the freezing level gradually lowering to around 799m by Tuesday with snow showers and drifting on strong WSW winds. Overnight into Thursday there was the start of a period of cold, calm and dry conditions. Following the Sunday thaw, all of the older snowpack has now refrozen with fresh windslab accumulating after Monday.

    There have been a number of thaw/freeze cycles during the past week: Friday and Saturday saw cold and snowy conditions followed by the freezing level rising above the summits on Saturday night. This was followed by cold and snowy conditions again until a second major thaw early in Wednesday which has continued through out most of Thursday. There were several avalanche events associated with the rising freezing levels

    It has been another week of generally mild conditions. There has been the odd dusting of fresh snow over the summits but overall the snowpack has been thawing at all levels. Stability has been generally good

    This week has seen predominantly Spring conditions. The freezing level has fluctuated between 1000m and well above the summits and there has been no significant precipitation. The snowpack is generally stable and gradually thawing, although there is still a reasonable cover above 650m. Glide cracks are appearing on many steep snow slopes and along cornice edges

    Early in the period there was a return to winter conditions with fresh snow at most levels with strong South-Westerly winds. Monday saw the wind swing round to the South-East with extensive redistribution of fresh snow. Tuesday and Wednesday saw the freezing level rising and the snowpack gradually thawing at all levels. Colder temperatures on Thursday have frozen and stabilised the snowpack. There has been no fresh precipitation since Saturday night.

    The majority of the week has seen rain at all levels and a considerable thaw of the existing snowpack. There have been some spectacular cornice collapses during this period with some long run-outs. Thursday afternoon has seen a return to colder conditions with the wet snowpack starting to stabilise and some fresh windslab development.

    It was a variable week weather wise, with a big thaw and heavy rain on Saturday, before becoming more settled from Monday onwards. There was a small amount of fresh snow on Friday and Sunday, but not much. Some significant full depth avalanches occurred in the Mamores and Grey Coires following Saturdays thaw. On Monday and Tuesday there were some significant cornice collapses, in some cases triggering the slope below on Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis.

    It has been a mixed week. Initially the freeing level was around 600m with several days of snow showers, mainly overnight. Winds have been predominately from the West or South-West. Wednesday saw the freezing level starting to rise and by Wednesday night there was a significant thaw with heavy rain at all levels. Fairly constant avalanche activity through out the period with some large wet snow avalanches on Wednesday night. Stability improving greatly during Thursday.

    There were snow showers during Friday Saturday before the freezing level rose above the summits on Saturday night and heavy rain fell. This caused numerous substantial avalanches, including some large full depth ones in the Mamores running out to low levels. The freezing level fluctuated over the rest of the time with snow showers. Some avalanche activity was recorded, but they were not particularly large.

    Earlier in the week, the freezing level was around 6-700m and mainly Westerly winds producing an avalanche cycle on Sunday. Tuesday say a brief rise in the freezing level to the summits before cold and dry on Wednesday. Wednesday night saw a significant that with rain at all levels causing a series of wet snow avalanches. This has helped to consolidate the old snowpack however further windslab development on Thursday is producing fresh areas of hazard

    There has been further snowfall and drifting throughout this period. The freezing level was around 850m at first, dropping during the period to 300m. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday snow fell at most levels. It has remained generally windy with the direction varying but mainly between SE and W. Extensive areas of unstable windslab have been present on most aspects; greatest accumulations on W through N and E to SE aspects.

    Snow has fallen most days during the week. It has been quite windy, with the main wind direction being South or South-East. The avalanche hazard has remained considerable or high throughout the week, and avalanches have been recorded particularly on Sunday when some large ones were observed on Ben Nevis.

    On Friday evening the freezing level rose above the summits with rain causing a period of high instability. SInce then the freezing level has been around 5-800m. The old snowpack has been stabilised. Heavy snow showers since Saturday have produced extensive areas of fresh unstable windslab. Strong Southerly winds, backing to the Easterly quadrant in the early part of the week before easing slightly. Extensive areas of moderately to poorly bonded snow on many aspects.

    It has been a slightly milder week dominated by SE to SW winds and snow showers. The freezing level has generally been about 1000 metres, although Tuesday and Thursday were colder. Although further windslab has been building up during the period, this has tended to begin to consolidate relatively quickly in the slightly milder conditions. Although some smaller scale avalanche activity was observed, particularly on Monday, no large avalanches were recorded.

    On Friday and Saturday there were frequent snow showers above 900m with strong winds producing a period in instability. Generally colder for the next few days with some shower activity before a thaw to all levels on Wednesday afternoon and early evening. The thaw was followed by colder conditions which refroze and stabilised the snowpack

    This week started with a storm on Friday, with large natural avalanches releasing on N to E aspects, either during this storm or during the overnight rise in temperature. Thereafter fluctuating freezing level 700-1100m. Further natural avalanches on Monday. After Fridays storm there were snow showers each day, with moderate or strong generally SW winds. Snowpack consolidating but fresh windslab each day mainly on higher N to E to SE aspects.

    Over the past 7 days there has been fresh snowfall every day with significant accumulations, mainly above 900m. Winds have generally been strong and between SE and SW, though also some W. On Sunday and Wednesday nights the freezing level rose briefly to, or near, the summits, before falling again. This helped consolidate the snowpack. Instabilities persist in the snowpack on higher W through N to NE aspects and currently there is fresh unstable windslab mainly on N to E aspects above 900m.

    The theme for the past week has been very strong Southerly or Westerly winds with a significant amount of fresh snow above 600m. On Friday and Monday evening there were some brief warm periods with the freezing level rising above the summits which helped consolidate the snowpack slightly. Currently there are significant fresh unstable snow deposits in many N and E facing corries above 700m.

    After some significant snowfall on Tuesday consolidation took place during Wednesday with the freezing level rising above the summits. Colder again on Thursday with snow to approx. 300m. Strong SW winds have also been a feature with new accumulations forming mainly on sheltered locations only. Old snow remains in many of the deeper gully lines and high corries.

    Limited snowpack. Localised deposits of old, wet, stable snow on some steep N, NE and E aspects above 1000m.

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