Friday, 11 June 2010

Midsummer skiing - Tower Gully, Ben Nevis

With a few days left in Scotland and a short spell of good weather forecast I was keen to sneak in some midsummer skiing. Tower Gully on Ben Nevis has been on my 'list' for a long time, despite a close call with a double-fracturing cornice about 15 years ago, but it is one of those things I never quite get round to doing - either through being in the Alps in the Spring or not being able to travel back with ski gear...

With everything but skis in the car I gathered a crack team comprising Al Reid - in top form (only 1 days skiing this winter) and local all-round mountain man Jonny Sutherland. A quick visit to an old friend & I was sorted with a pair of slightly short skis, but hey - for spring snow almost anything will do (cheers again for the skis Mike!).

Despite a cloudy start to the day we set off hoping that the forecast would come good...And sure enough as we walked towards the CIC hut the sun finally burnt off the remaining clouds:

Not much snow left in #2 & #3 gullies...

A quick pause at the hut to take in the view and we wandered round to the bottom of Observatory Gully:

There was still a tongue of snow almost to the bottom of the gully, and though thin we were hopeful that it would be continuous all the way up. A quick swap to ski boots and we were off again:

A sneaky dogleg towards the bottom of Point Five gully and 10 yards on rock & grass saw us connect to the upper snow. Good firm conditions under foot made for rapid progress.
Level with the top of Tower Scoop:

Heading towards the light in Tower Gully proper:

Al pushes on towards the cornice:

Culture shock - Ben Nevis summit busy with walkers - needless to say we got some strange looks wandering up there in our ski boots!

Al contemplating the cornice, normally the crux of the descent:

Al & Jonny in Tower Gully:

The ski down was fantastic - a small drop to get over the cornice, and then perfect spring snow all the way - a couple of narrow sections that had to be straight-lined near the bottom, but a fantastic place to be skiing, particularly in June!!

Some headcam footage from the descent - full video to follow at a later date:

Tower Gully - Headcam footage from Simon Christy on Vimeo.


  1. Good account Simon. Pity we couldn't have filmed the venture from static cameras also. Looks like it was a great day.

    David Jinks
    Fridge Productions.

  2. Hi David,

    Have footage from a HD camcorder as well... full vid to follow in due course...


  3. Brings back memories of climbing Tower Ridge in the late seventies!