If your sliding around CairnGorm Mountain (or any of the areas for that matter) this weekend, stop and have a look around and think what your sliding on, what does this terrain usually look like, what’s under my feet in summer?
Just how much snow might be under you feet will depend where you stand, gullies, burns and other terrain depressions will likely have the most, but let’s consider the Coire Cas Gunbarrel, the T-bar track to be exact. Both of these photos though looking up from a different position and angle show the same tower of the Cas T-bar up-line nearest the camera.
Coire Cas Gunbarrel - going up the Cas Tow on Wednesday 3rd March:
The small orange roundels that give the tower number give a fixed point of reference, this allows the height from roundel to top of tower to be measured in each photo, giving a scale factor that means it’s possible to assess the relative portion of the tower still visible in the above photo.
On the photo below the red-line gives a representation of the snow surface level on the top photo:
The snow fence up the track side is approximately 5ft and the tower base height is around 2ft on the uptrack side. Given these bits of info and from comparing the tower to the skiers in the top photo, an estimate of 10ft/3m depth on the tow track at that point would not seem unreasonable.
Will try and measure the roundel to snow surface height on this tower accurately in the coming days and rephotograph it - this will allow the above estimate to be verified with a more accurately calculated depth and will continue to monitor it.