The Couloir

Vertical drop and average gradient:

100 metres; 45 degrees, but dependant on snow build-up

Orientation:

Roughly facing west-north-west

Ice climb grade:

Grade 1

Route description:

This line is one of the most prominent in Coire an Lochain, and splits the crags leading down towards the Great Slab.

Late season there is generally two access points, both merging into the same place a short distance lower down. The top is generally corniced, but late season is often just a convex slope.

While it is steepest at the top, there is a fairly constant gradient leading down towards the Great Slab.

Commitment:

Moderate to high. No easier line to escape onto.

Route finding:

Generally easy.

Local dangers:

A little below mid-way down there is often a rocky outcrop coming in from the skier's right, which is usually visible unless the couloir is particularly well filled. When snow covered this often gives a slight drop, but when not snow covered this can be a small ice fall. Late season, some rocky outcrops appear on the lower section just below the crags too.

A potential risk of avalanching.

Potential for rocks or other material such as ice to become dislodged from the cliffs above.

Ice climbers often use the line.

Unadvisable to ski over the Great Slab area, as it almost always avalanches.

Getting back to the carpark:

Assuming there is snow cover, you can ski a good way back to the Coire Cas carpark (NH990059). One way is to descend down the Italian Feature (the left edge of the Great Slab as you look down). The path in the coire begins at approximately NH980034, and following more or less the line of the path it's downhill almost the whole way. The Coire an Lochain path merges into the Northern Corries footpath at approximately NH984051, and from here it's a short distance to the Coire Cas carpark. Dependant on snow cover it may or may not be a long walk.

The Italian Feature

Vertical drop and average gradient:

50 metres; 25 degrees, but dependant on snow build-up

Orientation:

Roughly facing west-north-west

Ice climb grade:

None

Route description:

This route is to the skier's left of the Great Slab, and the "Italian" feature follows the edge of the aforementioned rock formation.

Tending to last well into the late season, it offers a route past the (avalanche prone) Great Slab from the snow fields above, with the option of continuing further down if the conditions permit.

Commitment:

Uncommiting

Route finding:

Generally easy late season

Local dangers:

The Great Slab is very avalanche prone - especially late season when the snow pack has a tendency to completely remove itself.

Getting back to the carpark:

Assuming there is snow cover, you can ski a good way back to the Coire Cas carpark (NH990059). The path in the coire begins at approximately NH980034, and following more or less the line of the path it's downhill almost the whole way. The Coire an Lochain path merges into the Northern Corries footpath at approximately NH984051, and from here it's a short distance to the Coire Cas carpark. Dependant on snow cover it may or may not be a long walk.


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