Ben Alder

End of April 2015 - a bike ride in from Dalwhinnie via Loch Ericht and Culra Bothy, then a hike and skin to the summit of Ben Alder for an overnight camp and some awesome spring gully skiing.

Loch Ericht

On the ride towards Culra, our first view of long Loch Ericht.

Estate track

The track runs along the loch for about 5 miles before turning west towards Culra.

Near Culra

Near Culra on our approach to ski the couloirs off Ben Alder. Laden with boots, skis, overnight gear and provisions, riding the bikes was tough along these unmade tracks, but it still made a much faster approach than walking.

Ben Alder massif

Our target comes into view.


Bikes abandoned, we take to foot alongside Loch a Bheallaich Bheithe

Loch a Bheallaich Bheithe

Still frozen, but the day is getting warm.

Starting the climb on skis

Approximately 15 miles from Dalwhinnie, we don skis for the climb up Ben Alder.

Summit slog

Loch Ossian is the backdrop on the haul up the southwest shoulder of Ben Alder

Evening ski

Garbh Coire beckons

Last of the sunlight

Dropping the cornice

Dawn light

Morning sunshine behind our tents on the summit plateau

Ben Alder summit dawn

After a night camping on the summit of Ben Alder, waiting for the sun to warm the snow. Sublime and unforgettable, ski touring moments like this last a lifetime.

Painted couloirs

Warm dawn light paints the couloirs we'll ski later when the sun has warmed the snow.

Breakfast club

Warming up and feeding ourselves after a cold night.


Some muppet from Moffat ;-)

Finding a way in

A chink in the armour near the central gully, and the sun had worked its magic

Lush snow

Where the sun had warmed the snow we found perfect spring corn.

High up in Garbh Coire

Hundreds of metres of wide open vertical lay below the narrow entrance.


But where the sun hadn't yet warmed the snow, conditions were rather firm !

Looking back to our line in

Across Garbh Coire and the old avalanche debris.

Climbing out

Crampons and axes secure the climb out back to the summit.


After a descent through one of Ben Alder's south eastern coires, we linked snow patches and heather back towards the stalkers path.

Last snow

The final patch of snow before we made our way back to the bikes.

etting ready to ride again

The backdrop of our skiing and our overnight camp. Sad to go, but happy it's mostly all downhill from here.

Pit stop

The inevitable puncture, but what a place to break down !