Rockfall warning in Cairngorms from MS

Posted by Peter Burnside on 14/06/2017
The Shelter Stone Crag in the Cairngorm mountain range of Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock / N Mrtgh

Mountaineering Scotland issue a rockfall warning in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms following an incident to a team on a route known as Fingers Ridge. Read the whole warning and hear the full story below.

Events last weekend in Coire an’t Sneachda in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms have highlighted the need for all hill-walkers and climbers to be vigilant when climbing on or passing below mountain crags, says Mountaineering Scotland in a news item

Two separate teams over the weekend were injured by rockfall. On Saturday a team on a route known as Fingers Ridge had a very lucky escape when a large slab of rock gave way. Ironically they were clearing loose rock from the route when the accident happened.

Read Ron Walker's own account of his accident below.

And on Sunday a team were injured on Pygmy Ridge, in the same Corrie.

Walkers and climbers are familiar with the shattered, loose rock around the crags and corries of Scottish Mountains. The process of freezing and thawing through the winter season continues to dislodge and shatter rock faces, and natural erosion processes continue as they have since the mountains were created.  

Shaun Roberts, principal at Glenmore Lodge, said: “I do believe that the nature of winters over the last decade, along with the generally more intense precipitation, has had an impact on Coire an t-Sneachda.

“We have experienced a number of winters with very deep snow packs, including snow laying at depth on the steep broken ground of the Coire. Over a season and under the influence of gravity this snowpack will displace, but often not dislodge, blocks and boulders of significant size, leaving behind a significant challenge for the summer climber.

“And this year we enjoyed a super dry May but then received almost our monthly quota of rainfall on one day in June. 

“I suspect these weather patterns are having an impact on the stability of some areas and we continue to approach climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda with a more heightened sense of the objective dangers.”

Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor with Mountaineering Scotland said: “Hillwalkers, scramblers and climbers should be extra vigilant when journeying either below or approaching scrambles and – particularly if there are other parties above or there has been heavy rainfall in the previous few days.

“Specifically, hillwalkers should be particularly cautious when ascending or descending the Goat Track in Corie an’t Sneachda when there are climbers above them.”


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