Mountaineering Scotland and Glenmore Lodge have issued a joint warning to hillwalkers and climbers, urging them to be mindful of the risk of rockfall when climbing or passing below mountain crags. It comes after two separate teams were caught out in the Cairngorms over the weekend.
At Coire an t-Sneachda in the Northern Corries on Saturday, a team on a route known as Fingers Ridge had a lucky escape when a large slab of rock gave way, then on Sunday a team were injured on Pygmy Ridge, in the same Corrie.
“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,” said Shaun Roberts, Principal at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s national outdoor training centre. “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.
Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor with Mountaineering Scotland said that hillwalkers and scramblers should be “extra vigilant” when journeying either below or approaching scrambles and climbs – “particularly if there are other parties above or there has been heavy rainfall in the previous few days.”
She added that walkers must take particular care when ascending or descending Goat Track in Corie an t-Sneachda, especially when there are climbers above.