touring & backcountry
The Nevis Range Mtns // Thursday 9th April 2015
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Aonach Beag etc from Stob an Cul Choire

An Cul Choire top section

An Aghaidh Garbh and Aonach Beag

Ski Camp daybreak view of Mamores

Above The Bhealach Face

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Aonach Beag East Face, Kenny Biggin said ?there is some epic riding to be had and new adventures await?. What he didn?t say though was how you can get there, enjoy it and get back as it?s a fair way off with 500m - 600m of descent then clearly there?s a bit of a climb out too even making full use of the ski lifts.
I figured an overnight camp might be the best way to crack it therefore particularly for a first visit and having been tormented by the distant snows round there for years I figured the time and weather looked about right setting out on 8th April from top of Nevis Summit tow where it was skins on to the summit and skins off to the Aonach Beag col. Ski?s on backpack then to the top of Aonach Beag which unfortunately was cloud covered but there are huge snow fields on the east side giving a decent descent to Stob Coire Bhealach and the promised land.
Finding a campsite up top was not easy though and in retrospect finding a pitch in the corrie might have been a wiser choice but I wanted to enjoy the views up top and didn?t fancy a first descent in shade and ice with a big back pack. First run in the afternoon was good from SCB col though the entrance which doesn?t catch the sun was steeper than the guide suggested but was fine once you made the commitment. There followed an ice axe ascent up the Bhealach Face (steeper) but good sport!
A further route was planned in the evening but food etc. took a while in relentless wind with clouds closing in on The Ben so I decided to call it a night.
Blue skies returned in the morning after a bit of a wild night with options to return over Aonach Beag or to have another ski down the face and traverse around Aonach Beag to Summit Gully Col. Aonach Beag is huge and with full snow cover and skins was enjoyable with no shortage of interest until arriving at the foot of An Cul Choire which looked in such great shape with snow down to the burn so I decided to ski that too (from the wee loch) which was completely snow covered with the upper section of the corrie in the shade and held steadfast in deep winter.
A long climb /skin followed to Summit Gully Col in baking heat and soft snow but with Stob an Cul Choire (The Far Side) beckoning I thought I?d ski that too heading to the foot of Braveheart (which was off) so a bit more climbing followed to Rob Roy, The Great Glen Chair and lunch 
In summary then snow cover is fairly complete but think a camp is needed to make the trip worthwhile also probably better in a couple of weeks when the sun will reach the whole face and not just Rough Couloir which looked inviting and I?m regretting not skiing.
:: Weather Conditions
Unrelenting wind up top esp overnight, otherwise mainly sunny particularly 9/4. Remaining cool out of the sun
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Icy in places in the shade and soft in the sun. Best on N facing slopes
:: Skiers/Riders
This report was posted by Winterhighland Member at 23.10hrs on Thu 9th Apr 15

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