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Jacob's Ladder

Cairngorms National Park

A seriously challenging Cairngorm classic

Also in Highland, United Kingdom

Ski Touring Severe

568 m
20 m
196 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
940 m
High Point
1.1 km
Jacob's Ladder Map

Jacob's Ladder is without doubt one of the most talked about steep descents in the Cairngorms. The gully is a serious step up from anything available in the official ski area, is narrow throughout and requires very good ski technique and experience. However with that said, it has reportedly been straight-lined before!


The gully can be accessed by skinning up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais or by skiing over from the Cairngorm summit. Be aware that Coire an t-Sneachda is outside the official ski area, and its remote nature makes rescue much more difficult. Be prepared and have the appropriate equipment for a backcountry adventure!

The access to Jacob's Ladder may require an abseil in for the first 5-10 metres, depending on snow conditions and whether there is any cornice build up. Make a good assessment before dropping in - if it doesn't look good, there is always the easier Windy Col line around to skier's right.

If you're happy with conditions, you're all set to drop in! The line is only a couple of metres wide, and will require good control and a strong jump turn. Once you're through the hardest part, the run opens up and you can ride down the massive open bowl of lower Coire an t-Sneachda.

You can either skin back up Fiacaill a' Choire Chais to have another shot at Windy Col, or you can ski right out of Coire an t-Sneachda where you’ll finish close to the Cairngorm base station and car park.



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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between December and April


  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area