Glacier De Gebroulaz

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Savoie (73) > Vanoise > Val Thorens > Off Piste? > Glacier De Gebroulaz

We set off from Les Arcs at 7.15am. The aim was to meet our guide, Michel, at Moutiers Gare SNCF at 8am. Michel was coming over from la Clusaz where he was teaching with the ESF this season. Packing three pairs of skis, boots, rucksacks and bodies into my Fiat Panda was a bit cramped and the sub-zero temperatures had caused the rear drums to freeze up.

We arrived in Moutiers a little late and transferred everything over to Michel's KatKat (4WD) jeep. Michel had decided it would be quicker to drive up to Mottaret rather than the long road to Val Thorens then take the lift over. At the ticket office I showed my les Arcs tickets and asked for 3V pass for the day. "ooh er, I don't know about that", said the lady. She went off and spoke to the manager and they finally agreed that I could have a 3V pass at no cost. "We don't get many people coming from outside the 3Vs", she told me.

Climb to the Aiguille de Polset

Climb to l'Aiguille de Polset

We took the Plattieres telecabine over to Val Thorens then made our way up to the Col de Thorens. Here we stopped in the little refuge to let our skis warm up in the cold morning sun and to drink hot chocolate and eat Steffi's wonderful home made chocolate cake. Then it was on with the skins and climbing to Aiguille de Polset, only around 400 vertical meters thanks to the lifts. The slope grew steadily steeper, at around 35 degrees we decided to abandon skinning and climb directly up to the Col de Gébroulaz.


Breathtaking views

The final slope to the Aiguille de Polset was over hard windpacked snow, but was rewarded with a spectacular panoram over the Vanoise glaciers and the Southern Alps. La Meije and Le Rateau along with the Aiguilles de Arves were all clearly visible.

Glacier de Gébroulaz

Glacier de Gébroulaz

The slope down to the Glacier de Gébroulaz was quite steep and a mixture of hard windpack and crust which would unexpectedly break trapping skis.

Glacier de Gébroulaz

But we were rewarded with some wonderful views of Seracs and Crevasses. Inès is particularly fond of the weird and wonderful shapes that seracs take.

Glacier de Gébroulaz

Out of the strong wind the snow turned to powder, we followed the glacier down the left bank until we cleared the ice-fall. We then plunged into the valley towards the refuge de Saut and the Vallon du Fruit.

col de Fruit

Col du Fruit

Above the refuge we saw a troup of around 25 Chamois enjoying the January sun and grazing on some exposed grass. It is amazing how agile these animals are even on steep slopes. Deeper in the Vallon we crossed some Bouquetin tracks and saw them high above us towards the Col du Fruit, a popular off piste route from Courchevel. From the refuge de Saut we picked up some raquette tracks. This must be a nice excursion for walkers from Mottaret but for us it was many kilometers of flat, if attractive valley.

We finally arrived back at Mottaret as the lifts were closing, a descent of around 1700 meters and a round trip of 25 km thanks to the lift systems of the Three Valleys.

27 Jan 2000

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