Safety warning: Coire an t-Sneachda

Coire an-t Sneachda, Cairngorms

The view into Coire an t-Sneachda in May this year. The large amount of snow this year is believed to have been in part responsible for some of the rock damage.

The MCofS and Glenmore Lodge instructors have warned that climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda in the Northern Corries has become dangerous.

On September 2 a woman was killed when climbing on the Aladdin’s Buttress area of the corrie, and last month saw considerable rockfall reported in the area of the Goat Track, further along the same line of cliffs.

Shattered rock above Goat Track path in Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms

Some of the loose rock above the Goat Track

Instructors at Glenmore Lodge reported their concerns about the stability of rock in the area, and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s Mountain Safety Adviser, Monty Monteith (temporary), said: “This is particularly worrying as we move into winter over the next two months.

“Experienced climbers and mountaineers are very aware of the fragile nature of our mountains, which are in a constant state of decay. However, the heavy snows of last winter seem to have destabilised the cliffs and their surroundings even more.

“Once the first snows of this winter fall and temperatures plummet, the situation will be made even worse as successive freezes and thaws dislodge even more debris. This of course will be exactly the time when the first winter climbers take to the crags seeking adventure.”

Monty added: “Rockfall is sometimes considered an objective danger, but let’s take heed of all available information and plan accordingly when heading out to seek the challenge of winter – especially in the last few months of 2014, before the snow and deep cold has cemented the loose rock under its frozen cocoon.”

Two of the most popular climbs in the corrie are Fingers Ridge (Diff) and Pygmy Ridge (Moderate), but these are likely to be the most affected and should perhaps be avoided completely until further notice. It’s understood that the fatal accident occurred on or near Pygmy Ridge, while Fingers Ridge, already notoriously loose, is close to the area of cliff from where rocks fell onto the Goat Track.

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2 Responses to Safety warning: Coire an t-Sneachda

  1. Davie Walker says:

    Neil thanks for the info which I’ll pass around to my old MRT mates and friends on Facebook.

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