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Number 5 Gully

Ben Nevis

Stretching down the north face for 350m, Number 5 Gully is the longest of the named Grade I gullies on the north face

Ski Touring Severe

1.1 km
1 m
511 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
679 m
High Point
1.2 km
Number 5 Gully Map

Number 5 Gully needs to be on the hit-list for all Scottish steep skiers, with a real ‘journey’ feeling to this couloir as you’re enclosed by the steep walls of Ledge Route on your left hand side and Moonlight Buttress on your right hand side.


The gully itself begins with a choice of two different entrances, depending on your preferences and the snow conditions. The first entrance is via the bowl which flanks almost the entire width of the top of this couloir. This bowl begins steeply with a cornice usually barring the slopes below which soon funnels down into the narrow walls of the couloir proper.

The alternate entrance to the wide top bowl is much more worthwhile in my opinion. This entrance follows a tapered couloir which is found close to the top of Ledge Route and as it is hidden beside large rocky walls either side of it, it generally seems to carry much smaller cornices than the bowl entrance.

Once in the couloir, the gradient relents slightly whilst the walls feel like they are closing in you with some openings of respite which allow you and your partners to meet up before taking on the next section of the couloir.

The couloir opens out to the apron slopes that lead back to the CIC Hut or the summer path back to the car after passing a final narrow section of the couloir.

Tight jump turns in some fairly steep terrain are required for some sections of this couloir, particularly towards the end of the season, so make sure you are of a strong ability level before completing this descent - this one is a little tricker than Number 4 Gully.



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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between March and May


  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area