Ski-Touring: Nice and Easy Aulp du Seuil

2015-03-04 by davidof

Snow and Avalanche

Time Location Altitude Aspect Fresh/Total Type Skiability Stability
15:15:00 Col de Marcieu 1060 East 5/50 Powder 4 Humid base
15:45:00 l'Alpette 1450 North-East 10/ Powder 4 Polystyrene like snow grains
16:00:00 Cirque de l'aulp du Seuil 1630 East 10/125 Powder 4 Purge in the cirque
16:30:00 Couloir 1800 North-East 15/125 Powder 2 Purges on a hard base

Avalanche Observations

Altitude Aspect Size Type
1800 East Small Wet Snow

Snowline Up/Down: 1060 meters (3478 feet)
Avalanche Risk: 2

Description

Participants:
Route Taken: as topo
Road Access Clear

Vertical Climbed: 793 meters (2602 feet)
Distance: 6.1 km
Weather Sun, sleet and some cloud

Comments

Nice and easy because I have a slight cold and sore throat so had to climb at a reasonable rate without forcing too much, especially as I was breaking trail.

There has been 5 to 10cm of snow, not quite as much forecast. There were no tracks, which is pretty rare this year as this has been an extremely popular route. The ski resort had not bashed the runs, maybe due to the heavy rain on monday which has left the base very humid. At the clearing at 1450 meters the snow was falling as little rounds or graupels.

Coming out of the woods at 1630 meters there had been a purge in the cirque both in the middle and on the right bank. The middle purge was caused by the usual slab just under the cliffs at the top. On the right bank it seems snow had come from high up on the cliffs. This made trail making a bit difficult here. The purge probably happened yesterday with the warm weather.

At the summit there was a lot of evidence of wind transport and this was ongoing with the North wind. The snow in the couloir was uneven, having been moved by the wind with 5cm in some spots, 15cm elsewhere. It was quite slabby but there was no weak layer. The base was icy so altogether not great skiing in the upper section. The icy layer is quite superficial with more humid snow underneath so there is a risk of full depth avalanches if the weather warms up.

Lower down the snow got better, there was quite a bit of avalanche debris in the couloir from purges. The woods were generally good to ski as was the forest trail. For tomorrow look for open slopes, not too steep so the snow sticks, which have not been overskied.

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