Day 1 of 3 with Julian and James today - and Sal was along to help again. We hoped to do Ledge Route but with a poor avalanche forecast we were keeping the fallback option of playing on the ice on the way up into Coire na Ciste and doing some skills work. As it was we walked up to the base of No. 5 Gully to examine some recent avalanche debris and were happy enough with what we saw there to make a brisk ascent up the gully to where you break right.
The temperatures were high and there was a little wet snow on older firmer snowpack. The often tricky initial slab was an easy walk and above it was a nice icey bulge (avoidable) to play on. In fact snow conditions were user friendly all the way up as we continued our discussions on avalanche avoidance, winter footwork and moutaineering ropework up the ridge. We wandered around No.5 (snow still moist and consolidating) and on to No.4 Gully. This looked like it had picked up a lot of snow last night at the top so we made a sharp right turn and descended the Red Burn (rewarded with a couple of hundred metres bumslide- mind the boulders) which is complete all the way to the path.