Avalanche Hazard in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

R. G. W. Ward
1980 Journal of Glaciology  
Avalanche accidents are increasing in Scotland and fatalities now average two each year. The victims are either mountaineers or cross-country skiers as the problem is confined to the steeper and remoter slopes. Studies in the Cairngorm Mountains have shown that Scottish snow differs from alpine snow in three respects: depth hoar does not occur in Scotland, higher values are found for density and rammsonde penetration, and ice layers are more abundant. Slab avalanches are found on slopes of
more » ... d on slopes of about 35° and sluffs on slopes of 30° and steeper. Although most avalanches are small, crown fracture lines reach a maximum length of 500 m, and slabs may be up to eight metres thick. Preliminary correlations between avalanche release and weather conditions have shown the importance of cold periods following heavy snow falls and the significance of thaws. Much more needs to be done before an avalanche-forecasting service could be provided, not the least of which is persuading likely beneficiaries that such a service would be worthwhile.
doi:10.3189/s0022143000201020 fatcat:5h37wjdqvnalfdzuu4iriytiey