Fuselage Gully, or Far West Gully as it is also know as, bounds the West side of Triple Buttress. It is a popular ascent and descent route for climbers in it's own right, but is also used to access the harder routes on West Buttress. It is unusual in that there are remains of a Lancaster Bomber in the gully, which crashed into the slopes above in 1951, killing all those aboard. When you see other bits of wreckage higher up, you realise just how close they were to clearing the top of the hill. Following the accident, some of the wreckage was pushed into the gully, and a section of it came to rest at a narrow point in the gully, about two-thirds of the way up from the bend. A propeller is the most distinguishable element of it.
Despite the sad history (see links below), Fuselage Gully is a fantastic ski in the right conditions. Although never very steep, it requires care for a successful descent. The top of the gully is a wide open bowl, and people have been caught in avalanches in the gully in the wrong conditions. Be very careful to ensure that you descend the correct gully. The top of West Buttress forms a snow arete that separates Fuselage Gully (on skiers left) with West Central Gully (on skiers right). Do not ski into West Central Gully - there is a 70m high overhanging step in the gully which will ruin your day! Fuselage Gully has a low cairn at the top of it (skiers left), and a few meters below the top on the left hand side of the bowl, some plane wreckage may be visible when not covered in snow.
When skiing from the top, it only takes a few turns down a narrow section before you are above the propeller. Unless the debris is completely banked up, a short abseil, or easy downclimb will be required by most. If abseiling, the propeller is a useful anchor.
Below the wreckage, the skiing is easier, with no nasty surprises. The outlook is superb. In the upper gully, there is a fine view of Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin. As the gully swings round to the right, you are presented with a view out the mouth of the corrie.
Approximate Start Height: 975m
Approximate Descent: 300m
General Aspect: Northwest, then Northeast
Climbing Grade: I
Notes: Grade I if the airplane wreckage is banked up. Grade II (or harder) if not.
Details of the Ben Eidhe Lancaster Bomber Crash - Part 2
Details of the Ben Eidhe Lancaster Bomber Crash - Part 3