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Jason Bonniface,

Saturday, 15 May 2010

2nd May 2010 - Ben Macdui & Braeriach Ski

I've been desperate to ski from Ben Macdui down into the Lairig Ghru for a while but have been too busy ticking munros, or not in the right place at the right time until now. I got the chance on Sunday 2nd May though, and although the weather wasn't great it was just as good as I'd hoped for. With a bit of extra effort I got the added bonus of Braeriach and a wonderful ski descent of the wide open snow slopes of Coire Gorm at the north end of Sron na Lairige as well.

Here's an interactive map of the days route courtesy of the newish Ordnance Survey Openspace service which I'll hopefully be making more use of (there are some compatibility issues particularly with IE8, and the route and or map might not show up unless you turn on compatibility view under the Tools menu!).
Interactive map of the route

Early morning ice in the stream draining Coire an Lochain

Morning mist over Braeriach.

Footsteps across the plateau to Ben Macdui

Me on the top of Macdui with Cairn Toul on the left and Sgor an Lochain Uaine (The Angel's Peak) above my head. I'm standing on the top of the shelter seen below towards the end of May 2008!

Ben Macdui 24th May 2008 - a little less snow about

Ben Macdui ski descent route down the Allt a' Choire Mhoir

Gentle skiing in fresh May powder off the summit before it steepened up

After the thaw at the end of April and then re-freezing, conditions in the Allt a' Choire Mhoir were a bit icey but free from avalanche danger. I wouldn't be keen on these slopes after any great amount of fresh snow. The stream gully itself looks quite steep and narrow and had a cornice on one side making escape tricky, so I made use of the broad bowl on its north side. The route of ascent to Braeriach marked on the other side of the Lairig Ghru.

Looking back up the Allt a' Choire Mhoir

Carn a' Mhaim, the southern end of the Lairig Ghru and Cairn Toul from the nameless east ridge of Braeriach, an unlikely perched granite boulder on the crest of the ridge.

The summit of Braeriach, all trace of it obliterated by snow. Some large cornices too.

Gentle wide open slopes in Sron na Lairige's Coire Gorm gave lovely skiing right down to the end of the ribbon of snow down the Allt a' Choire Ghuirm (curving to the left of the photo). With short walks in between I was able to link snow patches down to the base of the Lairig Ghru to the junction with the Chalamain Gap path.

One last plod over the moor from the Chalamain Gap to the Cairngorm Ski Centre with Coire an t-Sneachda above. A rough pathless end to the day, to be greeted by hordes of skiers and sightseers at the car park.

Coming soon: Bynack More ski

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Jason Bonniface, 15/05/2010