Ski-Touring: In search of lost powder, le Grand Mont

2016-01-28 by davidof

Snow and Avalanche

Time Location Altitude Aspect Fresh/Total Type Skiability Stability
09:40:00 Forest trail 1350 North-East 0/70 Hardpack 3
11:00:00 Under the Tete Rouge 2000 West 15/150 Powder 4 Some small surface purges in the sun

Avalanche Observations

Snowline Up/Down: 1310 meters (4298 feet)
Avalanche Risk: 2


Participants: Mike
Route Taken: as topo
Road Access Clear

Vertical Climbed: 1400 meters (4593 feet)
Distance: 14.5 km
Weather High cloud, some sun. 4C at 1300m at 9.30am.


Mike was keen to explore the Beaufortain, the snowiest mountain range in France at the moment with some 3 meters since the 1st Jan at 1800 m. The area didn't seem to have had any of last weekend's high altitude rain but we didn't really expect to find much in the way of powder, especially as it is an extremely popular touring area. We should take more advantage of this little jewel of a valley as it is only 1 hour from home. The snow was certainly present. We started up a forest trail that was much like a ski piste, at least this part of the descent would be simple. At 1770m we didn't climb a slope to our left which leads straight to the col at 2000m but made our lives difficult by climbing by the Grand Mont stream (the topoguides advise this) but just climb to the col by the Lac Tournant if you are heading to the Pointe Dard.

From the col at 2000m we decided to acend to the Grand Mont. The snow was reasonably light, cut up powder. But the trail wasn't always that well made so it was quite tiring. The final slope before the summit was pretty steep but altogether good snow. It was cold at the summit with a breeze and a lot of other skiers who seem to have taken the ski lift to the Col de la Forclaz then skinned from there.

The ski down was a mix of pockets of powder, flat light under the col de la Forclaz then chaulky snow down to the forest trail. The trail and shortcuts were hard snow, sometimes a bit transformed by the sun. Fun to ski.



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