Ski-Touring: Before the storm

2015-01-28 by davidof

Snow and Avalanche

Time Location Altitude Aspect Fresh/Total Type Skiability Stability
10:45:00 Vallon Aulp du Seuil 1750 North-West 20/100 Powder 4
11:15:00 Couloir en Virgule 1760 North-East 15/50 Powder 4 Small windslab
11:25:00 Forest 1550 South-East 20/50 Powder 5

Avalanche Observations

Altitude Aspect Size Type
1750 East Sluff Slab
1650 South-East Sluff Purge

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


Route Taken: Descended to the valley but didn't climb to the Mallisards.
Road Access Clear, snow in fields from St Bernard.

Vertical Climbed: 982 meters (3222 feet)
Vertical Descended: 982 meters (3222 feet)
Distance: 6.4 km
Weather Sunny with some low cloud.


A rapid ski tour before stormaggedon (well according to the forecasts) with a blistering climb to the Aulp du Seuil then a quick ski to the foot of the Mallisards. I didn't have time to climb the Mallisards. Snow is very good in the Aulp du Seuil on the west faces. It is crusty on SE to S aspects. Forest is almost skiable as the snow has fallen from the branches but the couloir really lacks snow. Kicked off a small slab on the left bank of the couloir, probably formed by the north wind over the last few days. These kind of weaknesses could cause havoc once the storm blows through. The foot of the couloir lacks snow with a lot of brushwood baring the exit. Some stones on the path too.

Timing for the climb
VAM 931m/h, top of pistes: 14:17, l'Alpette: 00:28:14, top of cirque: 43:54, col: 49:41

Risk 2 with S and SW and NE to NW slopes at most risk following 3 days of strong northerly winds.



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