Snowline Up: 1420 meters (4659 feet)
Snowline Down: 1420 meters (4659 feet)
Avalanche Risk: 1
Route Taken: As topo but descent via my secret route (see GPS).
Road Access A bit of snow on the road at 1336m. Otherwise clear. The road has been rebuilt and is in good condition.
Vertical Climbed: 1150
meters (3773 feet)
Weather Clear skied overnight. Temp min 0C @ 1800m 5h00, 6C 15h00 Wind 20km/h NNE Humidity 29% @ 2300m
21 years since I first toured to this iconic summit in the Belledonne range. The gear has certainly evolved in that time... that said I was on skinny spring skis not that different from my old Dynastar Yetis.
I parked at 1360m just before the spring. About 5 minutes walk to find snow at 1420 m below the Muret shepherd's bothy. The snow was very hard, some people had climbed using ski crampons from the get go, not a bad idea but I dislike them. The snow softened out of the forest. The snow was very uneven in the Venetiers valley - sun-cups and percolation columns formed by the long, warm spell. The snow was grippy climbing and I didn't need my ski crampons for the final climb. A lot of cars at the parking and quite a few people on the route, most of them retired by the look of things. Chatted with a pleasant guy at the summit who was waiting for the snow to transform. The last 20 meters to the summit were snow free.
I skied down by the east facing slope under the Dent Blanche de Bedina. It was quite smooth and very good skiing. The refreeze was very deep and only the top cm had softened in the April sun. I then followed the right bank of the valley skiing a series of pitches on more or less smooth snow. At 1950 meters I skied right over to the left bank then under the Coche due to lack of snow cover above the Aiguebelle refuge. I then followed the left bank of the valley above the forest to return to the car via a secret passage just before the Muret ravine. Again good skiing on great snow - it is usually too soft here.
Aiguebelle (1800m) 9h50
Venetiers (2100) 10h40
Sommet (2478m) 11h20