Sunday, November 26, 2023

My first ever November ski tour.


Gd St Bernard Monastery.

Its not even December yet and the snow is plentiful- above 1800 meters.  A short  weather window materialised and Harvey and I took the opportunity to visit the Gd St Bernard Monastery.

We drove  from Chamonix around to the parking at the now sadly defunct Super Grand St Bernard ski station and left the car at the road head.  I sort of assumed that in late November, we would be alone.  But this was wrong - I reckon there were over 70 cars already parked.

We put the skins on and headed up the snow covered road.  Instead of going directly to the Monastery we headed up a parallel valley, the Combe de Barasson and then up to the Swiss Italian border at the west col.

Despite the beautiful view we didn't hang around because there was a bitter wind.

Harvey at the col with Mt Blanc in the background.

We then skied back down to rejoin the main path at the entry into La Combe des Morts and then headed up to the Monastery. We arrived at about 3.30pm - at this time of year the days are short.

Despite all the cars at the car park, there were actually only 6 people staying the night.  Dinner was excellent and very socialble with interesting conversation.

The next morning dawned bright. I have been lucky enough to visit the Monastery may times over the last 25 years- but I have never seen it look better than this.

Looking out or the Monastery window 8.00am

But it was windy...At first I just assumed it was at the col, but I was wrong.  The wind proved to be quite challanging all day.

Harvey Sturgess on his 1st Alpine peak

We eventually managed to battle our way to the summit of Mt Fourchon where surprisingly  the wind seemed to be a little less strong.  

The ski down was fine.  Not great because the wind had compacted the snow but the snow cover was extraordinary.

Heading back up the road.

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