Number 4 Gully

Ben Nevis

A great introduction to skiing on the north face, yet still requiring strong technical abilities

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
1.3 km
Ascent
0 m
Descent
486 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
679 m
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
53˚
Number 4 Gully Map

The ‘easiest’ of the Grade I gullies on the north face, but no pushover, Number 4 Gully usually has a steep & frequently corniced entrance. This gully is identified at the top by the notorious ‘Number 4 Gully Cairn’ that climbers use to rappel which usually pokes its head out of the snow at the top of this gully, if it hasn’t been completely buried.

Description

Number 4 Gully is the most frequently skied couloir on the north face so access through the top cornice usually isn’t a challenge. Climbers also use this couloir for a descent route after summiting the Ben via a more technical route and therefore the cornice usually has a slot cut out of it which allows you to safely drop/ski into the couloir itself.

Be aware - if the couloir hasn’t slumped yet (during spring), or a slot hasn’t been cut out then the cornice can soon becomes the crux of the route, with huge drops down onto the 45 degree pitch below making entering this gully almost impossible for all but the crazy - make sure you climb up the gully if unsure about how you’re going to get into the gully.

Once in the gully, you’ve got a short yet very steep top section that is wide open without any obstructions. Once this steep section is passed, the gully then funnels in a very short bottleneck and once this bottleneck is passed, you’re then through the technical sections of this ski which leads you out onto the Corie na Ciste where you’ll get to open out the turns a little more all the way back down to the CIC Hut.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

March, April, May

Features

  • Bowl
  • Single Descent

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area