By the time we had walked up to the CIC Hut, the sun was out and most folks were down to one or two layers. The fresh snow made the plod from the hut up to Number 5 Gully to get to grade II Ledge Route quite hard work, and there were already signs of avalanche debris just left of the gully. Plenty of loose snow was also running off the buttresses to the right of No 5 too. The gully itself wasn't too bad although there seemed to be debris higher up past the first ramp at 50m on the right. Once we were established on the route (along with the other dozen or so in front and the ones behind) it was fairly straightforward and the snow conditions didn't cause any problems on the way to the top of Carn Dearg at 1214m.
Looking up into Coire na Ciste with No3 Gully in the centre and No5 Gully on the right.
Teams of climbers heading up to the base of No5 Gully.
Looking back down at the CIC Hut from No5 Gully.
The first ramp off to the right, 50m up No5 Gully - not quite as exposed as it looks especially on good snow!
Tower Ridge from the Ledge Route. A team of climbers can just be seen on the crest of the ridge, just to the right of the Douglas Gap.
Lorna in the "gully" section of the route just after the first ramp.
The way ahead with teams in front having just negotiated the tricky rocks in the centre of the picture.
The "wall" section behind Lorna with an interesting drop on the other side!
France, Switzerland, Austria?
Our fist view of the summit plateau from the top of Carn Dearg and the end of the route.
360' View from Carn Dearg.
Fresh tracks (up or down?) No4 Gully. We considered going down, but as the weather was so good we decided to head for the summit of the Ben first and decide where to go from there.
No4 again with Carn Mor Deag and the CMD Arete across the corrie.
The highest (Cadbury) Cream Eggs in Britain possibly, although there were a few chocolate bunnies around!
Not sure what that face is meant to be? However with the good weather continueing and the chance of never getting it like this again, we set off South East-ish to head for the Carn Mor Dearg Arete (CMD).
The slope in the foreground of the picture is normally a nightmare of a boulder field to descend but today it was completely covered with snow and cornices way to the left on the head of Coire Leis.
From here the ridge became quite narrow with a track only the width of two boots to walk along.
Some hardy souls (just right of centre) can be seen making their way up to the summit.
Looking back along the ridge with the North East Buttress on the right.
Our final view of the ridge before descending to the path along the Allt a' Mhuilinn and then back to the North Face car park to complete a long but brilliant day.