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walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?


Postby saltycaterer » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:15 pm

Hi there folks…firstly thanks for reading this post, given that it's not a route but just an inquiry about a route I thought it best to post it here.

I’ve searched the forums boards, and I think I am the first person to ask this question…(and therefore I am not duplicating information, wasting folks time)

Basically I was looking for some advice about climbing Ben Nevis in the summer months but doing it by walking up 5 finger gully, I’ve climbed the ben twice before (once from the main path and the other from the CMD arete) and I’ve always preferred walking up gully’s corries, etc (Coire na Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mhor is better than Tower Ridge in my opinion) when compared to ridge walking, (this admittedly puts me in a big minority compared to most hillwalkers) and I thought this route would be quite interesting and enjoyable and also something a bit different, for what is a massively busy mountain by the other routes.

I have been looking at maps, satellite images from google, apple, Microsoft, even any YouTube videos of paragliders going down this route to get off the mountain, (and obviously the pictures that are available on the web, etc of the area around Five finger gully), and it genuinely seems to be easy enough up the top of the gully, (not that steep and a straight forward path onto the summit plateau) its more the start of the gully that seems steep and hard to do, hence why I was on here looking for information on this topic…

Obviously, I would be looking at doing this in the summer months (IF the Coronavirus pandemic allows it, but it might not be over at that point) when daylight is long and also far more importantly…minimum snow cover so that I can see the path as much as possible. And also hugely important to mention is that I WOULD BE DESCENDING THE NORMAL ROUTE AS ITS BY FAR THE SAFER AND 80% ACCIDENTS HAPPEN ON WAY DOWN!

So my only interest in the five finger gully walk is ONLY on the way up, as I felt it was something different and worthwhile investigating given I like areas like that on mountains.

If anyone can give me any advice on this who has more experience with this area of the mountain then that would be fantastic and much appreciated.
Thank you for reading. :) Apologies if it was a bit long…
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:48 pm

Hey

I've just watched those paragliding videos and I genuinely can't think of a more unappealing and potentially dodgy way to climb a hill!
Loose, steep, unstable, dangerous ground with lots of potential for slips or rockfalls. I didn't see any path, the paler scree is just because its loose and constantly moving I should think. It may also hold snow for most of the year at the top.
The bottom half is probably similar, but also greasy, and with added waterfalls.

There are apparently routes onto Carn Dearg (the S one, 1020m) from Coire Eoghainn, but all have some point of the approach that is "interesting" eg around the "Waterslide" has a bad reputation.

If you're up for a bit of scrambling, Ledge Route would be worth looking at as a different way up than CMD or the normal route.
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:04 pm

Five finger gully goes into waterfalls further down which cant be walked. It might be possible to cut in from the side somewhere from the pony track near the first corner after the half way lochan. I have looked in to it from close quarters but not dropped down in to it. It is steep loose ground in from the top and I wouldnt fancy it to be honest even if its doable.

There is a good route via the SW top (Carn Dearg) where you could visit Coire Eoghainn if you like and you wont see anyone until you hit the track near the summit.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=56323
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby Giant Stoneater » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:06 pm

This may help make your mind up.

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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby dav2930 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:12 pm

Yes, I've just watched those videos too, especially the one with the two professional instructors abseiling down the waterfalls in the gully. Doesn't look a viable route up at all, and in any case is a notorious accident black spot where people have wandered into the gully by mistake - lots of fatalities. If you're expecting this to be a walk then I think you'd be in for a sharp shock. :shock:
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby jmarkb » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:18 pm

As far as I'm aware, Five Finger Gully remains unclimbed in summer conditions - for good reasons! (It's Grade IV in winter, but rarely in condition).

There is a scramble (Surgeon's Rib, Grade 2) that ascends the ground to the right of Five Finger Gully (and just left of Surgeon's Gully) but from the guidebook description there is not a lot of rock on it - there are better ways up the Ben!

Number 4 Gully on the North face is feasible in summer, but contains a lot of loose scree/boulders - https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5535024
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby RocksRock » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:17 pm

Yon coo says it all :crazy: :crazy:
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby al78 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:01 pm

Giant Stoneater wrote:This may help make your mind up.



Is that an ice climb in the winter?
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby saltycaterer » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:03 pm

hi there thank you for taking the time to reply....appreciate what you said, the bottom half was always what scared me (waterfalls and steep, so not a good mix) but the top half seemed a bit more benign if a little loose and steep. i promise I did not start this thread for a laugh or a P##s take, was a genuine question. Carn Dearg might be a better option as it allows you to avoid the crowds and also see a different side to the ben.

Kinda hard one for me to explain...I just honestly prefer a ravine type single access route up a hill. :crazy: probably why I liked Etive Mhor up the corrie so much :D

again your time and words are appreciated.


Mal Grey wrote:Hey

I've just watched those paragliding videos and I genuinely can't think of a more unappealing and potentially dodgy way to climb a hill!
Loose, steep, unstable, dangerous ground with lots of potential for slips or rockfalls. I didn't see any path, the paler scree is just because its loose and constantly moving I should think. It may also hold snow for most of the year at the top.
The bottom half is probably similar, but also greasy, and with added waterfalls.

There are apparently routes onto Carn Dearg (the S one, 1020m) from Coire Eoghainn, but all have some point of the approach that is "interesting" eg around the "Waterslide" has a bad reputation.

If you're up for a bit of scrambling, Ledge Route would be worth looking at as a different way up than CMD or the normal route.
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby saltycaterer » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:09 pm

will probably just try Carn Dearg but number 4 gully might be worth a shout if was snow free etc, thank you for taking the time to reply. my interest in ravine type routes up hills def puts me in a minority. :)

[quote="jmarkb"]As far as I'm aware, Five Finger Gully remains unclimbed in summer conditions - for good reasons! (It's Grade IV in winter, but rarely in condition).

There is a scramble (Surgeon's Rib, Grade 2) that ascends the ground to the right of Five Finger Gully (and just left of Surgeon's Gully) but from the guidebook description there is not a lot of rock on it - there are better ways up the Ben!
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby saltycaterer » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:13 pm

thanks for taking the time to reply, appreciated

obviously the waterfall area is TOTALLY out of bounds, I get that...just too steep slippy and above all dangerous, further up the corrie/gully area seemed more hospitable and straight forward...looked a bit like Buachaille Etive Mor corrie route but obviously much less traveled...probably best for me to try the Carn Dearg route.


dav2930 wrote:Yes, I've just watched those videos too, especially the one with the two professional instructors abseiling down the waterfalls in the gully. Doesn't look a viable route up at all, and in any case is a notorious accident black spot where people have wandered into the gully by mistake - lots of fatalities. If you're expecting this to be a walk then I think you'd be in for a sharp shock. :shock:
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby prog99 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:35 pm

No4 gully will be a hideous rubbly mess.
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby Kevin29035 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:25 am

prog99 wrote:No4 gully will be a hideous rubbly mess.

I went down that in summer once, big mistake. I wouldn't bother going up either.
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby gaffr » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:31 am

Never been anywhere near this gully. Gullies are best left for winter conditions when most of the wet and choss is covered with snow and ice. :) Not places to go walking up.
We had a spell of summer gully climbing when Clachaig, The Chasm and Crowberry were visited in Glencoe some with pleasant pitches in them but choose during a spell of dry weather when even then you can get a bit of a shower on some pitches....after all these clefts are the drainage channels from the higher ground. We once went into the great gully on Garbh Bheinn and after a few pitches traversed out onto the Great Ridge which is a very fine delightful classic easy route which kind-of misses out the direct start that we had climbed on an earlier visit....and the added attraction of landing you at the summit cairn.
All of these need a bit of kit to allow for a safe ascent
I think that someone said earlier that the approach to BEM via the Coire na Tulaich was preferred as a route than reaching Ben Nevis by the Tower Ridge? ...bit of an odd comparison when the Coire is a descent route from BEM and that TR is a classic way to get to the summit of the Ben. Maybe I misread somewhere.
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Re: walking up FIVE FINGER GULLY - possible?

Postby saltycaterer » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:07 am

Hi there, thank you for contributing to this thread...

It was me that mentioned preferring climbing BEM by the corrie...I've nothing against ridge walks...but just don't really find them as exhilarating at others, just a personal preference, the corries, and gullies, etc always felt more secure and less exposed, but maybe that's just a personal preference, a better example would have been on BEM, my mate and I climbed up Coire na Tulaich and then also back down that way. There is a route called Curved edge that we looked at doing but to be honest it seemed way to exposed and from my point of view just not enjoyable, going up the corrie was enjoyable if a little slow with the loose scree.

the reason that I compared it to tower ridge on ben Nevis was that tower ridge (while considered a classic) does just not appeal to me...if Five finger gully was straight forward and useable...I would much prefer the feeling of moving up it, again just a personal thing that puts me in a MASSIVE minority of hill walkers.

gaffr wrote:Never been anywhere near this gully. Gullies are best left for winter conditions when most of the wet and choss is covered with snow and ice. :) Not places to go walking up.
We had a spell of summer gully climbing when Clachaig, The Chasm and Crowberry were visited in Glencoe some with pleasant pitches in them but choose during a spell of dry weather when even then you can get a bit of a shower on some pitches....after all these clefts are the drainage channels from the higher ground. We once went into the great gully on Garbh Bheinn and after a few pitches traversed out onto the Great Ridge which is a very fine delightful classic easy route which kind-of misses out the direct start that we had climbed on an earlier visit....and the added attraction of landing you at the summit cairn.
All of these need a bit of kit to allow for a safe ascent
I think that someone said earlier that the approach to BEM via the Coire na Tulaich was preferred as a route than reaching Ben Nevis by the Tower Ridge? ...bit of an odd comparison when the Coire is a descent route from BEM and that TR is a classic way to get to the summit of the Ben. Maybe I misread somewhere.
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