Snow and Avalanche Center 2019 Avalanche News

Avalanche numbers on Scottish mountains 'among lowest'
23 April 2019

BBC - Scotland's latest avalanche season has ended with one of the lowest numbers of recorded snow slides in 10 years.

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) has noted a provisional figure of 107 in 2018-19. That would be the second lowest figure in the last decade, and compares to 261 avalanches last year.

The latest season saw the deaths of three climbers, two Frenchmen and a man from Switzerland, after an avalanche in a gully on Ben Nevis in March.

SAIS assesses avalanche hazards and provides daily information on the stability of snowpack in six mountain areas between December and April. The areas are Lochaber, Glen Coe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms, Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

SAIS will officially confirm the number of avalanches in a report which will be issued later this year.

Previous avalanche numbers
  • 2017-18 - 261
  • 2016-17 - 90
  • 2015-16 - 207
  • 2014-15 - 305
  • 2013-14 - 350
  • 2012-13 - 129
  • 2011-12 - 154
  • 2010-11 - 178
  • 2009-10 - 220

Avalanches can occur naturally, be triggered accidentally by people, or be caused deliberately to remove an avalanche risk in ski areas.

Hillwalkers, climbers and skiers use SAIS information to help them plan trips.

The service said there is still snow in the mountains above 750m (2,460ft), and some extensive areas of snow cover at about 900m (2,953ft) - mostly in the Northern Cairngorms and on Ben Nevis.

An SAIS spokesman said: "We recommend that mountain-goers venturing into the hills continue to observe weather forecasts prior to their excursions, and visual observations of conditions during their trip. This information is important in making good plans and allowing for flexible decision making when in the mountains and hills."

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