Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs, etc) but only the consequences of the skier falling.
Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.
Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.
High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.
Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.
Two deep cut gullies split carve their way down from Castle Ridge, down to the corrie floor.
Both of these two couloirs are flanked between towering rocky walls either side of them and both require large snow depths to make a descent possible and fill in the large rocky steps that are usually present during low snow years. Both gullies are graded Grade II within the climbing guidebooks, but become fairly banked out during deep snow seasons, to make a passage by skis a little more amiable! Saying that, even during deep snow years, these gullies frequently have rocky steps that are either required to be down climbed or rappelled, so it’s always needed to bring a rope and some protection in the event of a rappel needing to be set up. North Castle Gully is the right hand gully of the two Castle Gullies as you are looking at them from the valley floor.
North Castle Gully has a slightly more ‘open’ feel to it at the top, where a rocky ramp follows you down initially on the skier’s lefts hand side, before rising up to create a large rocky wall as you snake your way down this rarely visited part of the Ben. Just as the walls start to rise up on either side of you as you head into the couloir proper, you need to make a slight skier’s left hand turn to follow the path of the couloir down to the base of The Castle. Once at the bottom, traverse above the large cliff band that flanks the corrie floor to make your way back to the CIC Hut.