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Carn an Tuirc: Coire Kander

Carn an Tuirc: Coire Kander.   Photo: Scott Muir

Tucked in behind the large domes of Carn an Tuirc and Cairn of Claise is the deep bowl of Coire Kander. Apart from the accessible ice climbing, there are a couple of Grade I gullies in the corrie:  Y Gully and Twisting Gully.  Y Gully is popular and relatively easy.  Twisting Gully less so (on both counts).


The shortest approach is from the A93 at the car park on the East side of the road at NO147799.  You can go over the summit of Carn an Tuirc, or skirt to the North of it,  Alternatively, follow the Allt a' Gharbh-coire and take the left split in Cul-Riabhach which takes you to the col.   A more scenic, but much longer approach is up Glen Callater.  A bike would definitely help if approaching from this side.

Relevant Weather Forecasts

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Relevant Avalanche Forecasts

There is one relevant Scottish Avalanche Information Service forecast for Carn an Tuirc: Coire Kander.

The tour of Carn an Tuirc, Cairn of Claise and Glas Maol is a popular one, and a little side trip down Y Gully would liven up the day, without taking up too much time.  The gully is clearly marked on the OS 1:50000 map.

The gully gets its name due to being split at the top by a rock island.  Either of the options at the start are skiable, but the skiers right is the easiest angled.   As you descend, you will pass a large icefall on the left.  Further round on the left is another couple of icefalls.  These icefalls are becoming more popular with climbers, and it is possible that you may meet people in the gully, as it is one of the means of accessing these climbs.  In relation to these icefalls, it's also important to make sure you have located the top of the right gully.  Each of these icefalls mentioned are topped by easy angled snow gullies.  Y Gully cuts back into the col much, and has the obvious rock island in it.  Make sure you don't head off down the wrong one!  

Looking back up to Y Gully on the left.  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking down Easy Gully on a day when the visibility wasn't great.  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking back up Y-Gully, 28th of April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
The view from the Carn an Tuirc / Cairn of Claise col.  Photo: Scott Muir
Y Gully, and the icefalls on the northeast facing backwall of the corrie.  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NO186805

Approximate Start Height: 920m

Approximate Descent: 200m

General Aspect: North

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Easy for Grade I

Twisting Gully is the deep gully on the south wall of the corrie.  It's a more serious proposition than Y Gully, but provides a fine second run after doing its easier neighbour.

If climbing the gully first (recommended), it curves out of sight to the right at half height.  Once at the bend, you will see the feature that gives the gully its name.  Just below the cornice is a narrow, icy groove that twists between rock outcrops.  I would doubt it's ever skiable, but someone may prove me wrong.  The cornice above looks like it can be outflanked on climbers right.

However, you can still ski from the top into the gully.  From the bend at half height, there is a snow slope rising above to the left.  Steep at first (about 45 degrees), it lies back towards the top, providing an easy top out next to a little knoll on the ridge.  This is the line of the descent.  The snow slope is steeper than the bed of the gully, but good snow compensates for the exposure.

Looking up into Twisting Gully.  The upper descent slope is hidden from view.  Photo: Scott Muir
Another view of the top of the descent slope into Twisting Gully, from the corrie floor.  Photo: Scott Muir
Standing at the top of the entry slope into Twisting Gully, with the head of the gully to the left.  Photo: Scott Muir
The narrow, icy upper section of Twisting Gully.  Good luck if you think you can ski it!  Photo: Scott Muir
The top of the descent slope into Twisting Gully - you can just make out some tracks.  Photo: Scott Muir
The top of Twisting Gully, showing the descent slope.  Photo: Scott Muir
The view from the Carn an Tuirc / Cairn of Claise col.  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NO188806

Approximate Start Height: 950m

Approximate Descent: 250m

General Aspect: North

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: The grade applies to the line as described. The gully line at the top looks a little harder than Grade I when lean.
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