Saturday, April 01, 2017

6 days of exceptionally good ski touring.

The weather forecast was perfect. Clear skies meant we would get a strong overnight freeze. Bright sunny days would produce the optimum spring snow skiing conditions. Monday 27th March. John Young and I headed off up La Flegere. We skinned up the Col du Crochue. It was a bit weired because despite the weather being wonderful there was no one around. It is the sort of place that if you are on your own you have to ask the question what does everyone know that I don't? The answer soon became apparent - everyone was behind us; Next we skied down to the foot of the big gulley which leads up to the Glacier du Morte. We strapped our crampons on , stuck the skis on our ruck sacks and climbed up the couloir , which gets pretty steep at the top. The ski down was very good. Although the track through the forest back to Le Buet was "faster" [read icy] than we wanted. Tuesday 28th March. We got dropped at Le Tour by my new driving daughter Andrea. We headed up the lift and then skinned up and over the col just to the right of the Grandes Otanes. We couldnt believe the sight of the exceptional skiing which awaited us.
Again there was no one around - It was truely magnificent. Mind you there was a price to pay. Lower down there was the remains of some massive avalanche devastation the like s of which I had never seen before.It was tedious clambering through the hundreds of meters of smashed up trees.
. Eventually we did fight our way out and down to Trient village, where after getting lost several times, Andrea turned up to pick us up and drive us back to Chamonix in what she claims is now her Land Rover Defender. Wednesday 29th March. We drove around to Les Contamines , we used the lift system to catapult us on our way into the Beaufortain region where we skied around to above the lac de la Girotte. On the Thursday we decided to go on an overnight ski tour. We drove through to Sierre. We parked the car and took the Funcicular to Crans Montana. We then worked the lift system up to the Plaine des Mortes glacier from where we climbed the spectacular Rohrbachsteim 2950m After which we skied down to the Wildstrubel Hut- which at present I would have to rate as the best hut in the Alps that I have visited in terms of its welcome, food and general ambience. Friday morning we were a way by 7.00am just in time to arrive on the summit of the Wisshore 2948m to enjoy the sunrise over the Plaine Morte Glacier. From there we traversed the glacier before climbing up and on to the summit of the Wildstrubel 3244m. The ski down got better and better and the spring snow was very good all the way to the Gemmipass cable car. From here we descended by cable car to Leukerbad. After some lunch we took the bus to Leuk, then a train to Sierre where we picked up the car and drove back to Chamonix. Saturday was to be our final day. The weather was threatening to change. We headed to the summit of the Brevent and skied off behind the ridge making our way around to the Col du Brevent. The weather was cold and windy and the snow was not softening up. It wasbone shattering skiing and and had zero to recommend it. We decided to head back to La Flegere. This proved to be a good call. The wind dropped and the sun came out. We traversed around to Lac Blanc and the made our way over to the deep gorge which leads up to Col L'Encrenaz. Instead of climbing up the col we skied towards Col du Montets again enjoying good spring snow. Inevitably by the time we hit the road it was decidedly soggy and there was rather a lot of vegetation sticking up through the snow. All in all it was another excellent day. Andrea was there to pick us up in her Land Rover and rive us home.