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14 April 2011: Pinnacle Gully, Braeriach Skiing Spring 2011

Sputan Dearg, or Garbh Choire Mor?   This was the decision i've been mulling over all week.  Initally, Ben Alder was in the mix as well, but someone very kindly sent me recent pictures of a day out there, and that put paid to that idea.  I decided that Sputan Dearg was going to be too much of a risk, in terms of not enough snow, to do what I wanted to do, so opted for "the snowiest place in Scotland" - Garbh Choire Mor, the southernmost of the corries of Braeriach.

It's a long trek in there, and it felt longer than normal today - must be my age :o)  One of the issues with this corrie is the cornices.  With that in mind, i had taken a short rope, harness and shovel with me, but in the end, the cornices that were there were monsterous, so not worth the effort of trying to manufacture a safe way through them.  From the description in the climbing guide, the top of Pinnacle Gully was likely to have a non-corniced section, which it did.  The gully itself it quite short, but it's very steep.  I'd go as far to say, the steepest Grade I i've done, and comparable to Back Bay Gully on Beinn a Bhuird from a couple of weeks ago.  That said, the snow was good, and it's a bit wider, so less stressful. 

I had hoped to do more than one run in Garbh Coire Mor, but the cornices put me off.  If the cornices can be negotiated, there are well over a dozen great looking lines to be done in here.  I climbed up and out of the corrie via the spur between Garbh Coire Mor and the Corrie of the Chockstone Gully, and cut across the hillside and onto Cairn Toul.  My original plan from here was to repeat the line down into Coire an t-Saighdeir, but it didn't look in great shape, so descended to about 750m down the Coire an t-Sabhail, dodging holes and cracks in the snow.

Short video, which admittedly, is quite similar to others recently...

Garbh Choire Mor from the top of Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir.  Pinnacle Gully is the obvious wide gully.
The summit of Cairn Toul from the south.  The direct line off the top was looking a little worse for wear, so abandoned that idea as a last run.
Decided against this one...
Me after skiing Pinnacle Gully (above and right of my head).  Most of the run is actually out of the gully, as it's quite short.
Panorama of the corrie - so much to do, so many cornices to deal with!
The bowl of Coire an t-Sabhail on Cairn Toul.  I skied down the righthand side, then out over the lip of the corrie down to about 750m.
The weather improved as the day went on.  My last run was down Cairn Toul (on the left), following the strip of snow you can see.
09 April 2011: Beinn Airigh Charr Walk Spring 2011
03 April 2011: A Gully, Beinn Bhrotain Skiing Spring 2011
29 March 2011: Beinn a' Bhuird skiing Skiing Spring 2011
27 March 2011: Taillears, Ben Macdui Skiing Spring 2011
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