Ski-Touring: Vallon de Marcieu

2017-02-11 by davidof

Snow and Avalanche

Time Location Altitude Aspect Fresh/Total Type Skiability Stability
11:00:00 Vallon de Marcieu 1700 West 50/70 Powder 4
11:30:00 Couloir 1700 East 40/60 Heavy Powder 3
11:45:00 Woods 1600 East 30/40 Mank 2
12:00:00 Woods 1100 East 10/10 Skiable Crust 3

Avalanche Observations

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

Description

Participants:
Route Taken: as topo
Road Access Clear

Vertical Climbed: 980 meters (3215 feet)
Distance: 9 km
Weather Warm, strong southerly wind at altitude, sunny

Comments

This is the first time this year that conditions have been acceptable for this route. Some guys attempted it after the 11 Jan snowfall, which was fairly considerable but had to downclimb the couloir. This time it had enough snow cover. Arriving at 9.30pm it was already relatively warm and sunny with only about 5cm of snow outside of the ski runs. I climbed to the top of the ski area passing a couple of groups and getting passed in turn by a ski competitor out training and a guy on normal ski touring gear.

The track was well made, in the cirque I caught a number of groups who were very nice to let me overtake. I had planned to ski straight down but the Marcieu valley looked tempting. The snow was a bit wind blown in some places but generally very good. The couloir had already been skied by a number of groups - the first on Thursday evening. There was still some areas of powder on the banks but a lack of snow in the main couloir making it a bit narrow and steep. A skier behind was having a bit of difficulty. I took the small couloir on the right and then exited into the forest as high as possible. Conditions in the woods were heavy powder, it was better to follow existing tracks. The path was in good condition but lack of snow at the bottom of the ski pistes.

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