Anyone done any SOTA Snowholing?

Just thinking that might be a new thing to try. I’m up in GM in March. Might give it a go one night. Keeps you out of the wind!

I look thin and young, 9 years ago (I’m on the right of the picture)

EDIT: I must have been tired last night and not thinking… There’s not likely to be many Snowhole based activations as very few good snowholing sites will be within summit AZs. You need a good leeward slope (without a dangerous drop below it) so typically they are in small river ravines. There’s nothing to stop you doing a portable non SOTA qualifying operation though.

Gerald MW0WML

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How long does it take you to dig; Gerald ?


There were six of us in the hole. Start by digging two entrances about 4 to 5 metres apart (so two of you can be working at once). Once “inside” start hollowing out and turn to meet in the middle. It gets a bit quicker when you can get several people working inside at once.

To complete a hole for six people takes about three hours if you don’t go mad.

This is the view across the width of the hole.

It gets surprisingly warm. Just below freezing is perfect. If it gets any warmer you get drips off the ceiling. It’s also eerily quiet even when there is a howling gale outside.


Well I met him in Crianlarich a few years back and found him a very pleasant and amiable chap at that first meeting. Some people will obviously need more meetings and there will be some who will never dig him.

Oh… that’s not what you meant.



I’ve never dug a snowhole myself but I used to come across them occasionally in Glencoe during my winter climbing holidays, roomy and comfortable and I found the little niches and shelves and even seats amusing! A friend fell through the roof of one once while descending Stob Corrie nan Beithe in the Coe!

On another occasion we topped the first rise above Loch Achtriochan heading for Bidean nam Bian to be faced suddenly by a three metre high snowman! Just behind it was an igloo, which struck me as a bit cramped and uncomfortable to get into, but one could probably be made quicker than a snowhole as there is less snow to be moved. The trouble with both snowholes and igloos is that you really need to carry a snow shovel to make one, and for a winter overnighter we would already be carrying a lot of gear!


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Ah memories - Black Mount, Meall a’Bhuiridh winter 1966/67. Built an igloo on the slope there (before those ***** tows were in place) using saws and snow shovels - brilliantly warm - and any thawed snow ran down the curved inside and helped seal the structure. :smile:

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That will teach me to use punctuation a little more often !