Central Gully

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 57.10697°N / 3.66151°W
Additional Information Route Type: Ice Climbing, Mixed
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Scottish Grade I/II
Sign the Climber's Log


Central Gully (Grade I/II) is the leftmost of the Fluted Buttress' Trident Gullies (the other two being The Runnel and Crotched Gully). Central Gully is the easiest of the three and in good conditions is a superb and straightforward Grade I, 135m route. This makes the route an ideal introduction to winter climbing for those new to the sport. Be aware however that under lean conditions the grade of the route is increased to II and the gully may contain enough ice to challenge novice leaders.

F.A: T.E. Goodeve, A.W. Russell and A.E. Robertson (1st April 1904).

Central Gully
Central Gully (Photo by Nanuls)
Central Gully
Central Gully (Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

Conveniently, Coire an t'Sneachda is an easy walk from the Coire Cas car park, which offers free parking and easy access to the café in the Cairngorm Mountain ski centre. Consequently, it fills up quickly and so you have another good reason to get an early start. The main reason of course being the desperately short days of the Scottish winter.

Park at the Coire Cas car park (NH 989 060) and take the path path that traverses around Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais. Within about 200m of the car park the path splits (NH 986 056). Take the left hand path and follow it for just under 1km. Here the path splits again (NH 987 047) and again you should take the left hand path.

After about 1km the path terminates (NH 992 035) just before a boulder field which surrounds the Coire's lochans. The easiest route through the boulder field is to trend left, which takes you to the Coire's first aid box just beyond the lochans. You are now standing in the centre of Coire an t'Sneachda (NH 993 032) with the Fluted Buttress just in front of you.

Central Gully
Central Gully (Photo by Nanuls)

Route Description

Central Gully is the leftmost of the Fluted Buttress' Trident Gullies and marks the boundary between Aladdin's Buttress and the Fluted Buttress itself (see the topo below).

The gully slants leftwards and is not usually pitched, though given its 135m length it can be split into 4 long pitches if necessary, with rock belays readily available.

The climbing is straight forward throughout, taking the form of 45° to 50° snow. In lean conditions the gully can contain much ice when it becomes a superb low end Grade II climb.

The best descent is to walk west along the edge of Coire an t'Sneachda and back into it via the Goat Track. This will allow you to easily bag further routes on Aladdin's and Fluted Buttresses. If this is your last route of the day then the you may wish to walk off eastwards and take the Fiacaill a' Choire Chais, which will take you directly back to the Coire Cas car park.

Central Gully
Central Gully (Grade I)

Essential Gear

If conditions are favourable most will not feel the need to use anything more than a single axe and crampons, however, if conditions are lean, ice tools, a singe rope and a small rack could prove useful. This being a gully climb, a helmet would also be a very good idea.

Coire an t'Sneachda. Mess of Pottage is the collection of dark rocks on the left side of the Coire.
(Photo by Nanuls)


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Navigation Maps

Ordnance Survey 1:25k Explorer Series 403 Cairn Gorm & Aviemore

Ordnance Survey 1:50k Landranger Series 36 Grantown & Aviemore

Harvey Map Services 1:25k Superwalker Series Cairn Gorm

Harvey Map Services/BMC 1:40k British Mountain Series Cairngorms & Lochnagar

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Ordnance Survey Tour Series 12 Scotland


The Cairngorms Scottish Mountaineering Club: The Cairngorms by Andy Nisbet, Allen Fyffe, Simon Richardson, Wilson Moir and John Lyall

A beautiful and lavish guide from the SMC, containing details of summer and winter climbing in the Cairngorms.
Scottish Winter Climbs Scottish Mountaineering Club: Scottish Winter Climbs by Andy Nisbet, Rab Anderson and Simon Richardson

A superb guide covering winter climbing throughout Scotland.
Winter Climbs in the Cairngorms Winter Climbs in the Cairngorms by Allen Fyffe and Blair Ffyffe

A stunning little guidebook from Cicerone Press which contains all you'll need for winter climbing in the Cairngorms.

External Links

Cairn GormCairn Gorm
(Photo by Nanuls)
Coire an t SneachdaCoire an t'Sneachda
(Photo by Nanuls)
Fiacaill ButtressFiacaill Buttress
(Photo by Nanuls)


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