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TR: Grand Miceau South Couloir
Posted: 13 February 2011 09:44 AM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

On Friday I decided to return to the legendary Lescherette valley. The north facing approach track is reputed for holding snow and seemed like an ideal spot for these late season conditions. I made the mistake of taking the Servion road which was blocked at 1098 meters by a 100 meter patch of sheet ice. It left me a long traverse of 2km and 150m of extra climbing. Avoid the track that passes by the revers de Chamorand, about 100meters has been washed away leaving an ice covered couloir to cross, Zoiks!

Indeed sheet ice is the big message from this trip. It is everywhere and very dangerous.

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The climb was relatively easy up to 2300m where I had a half hour rest in the sunshine before tackling the final slope.

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Allevard backcountry, Petit and Grand Charnier, n/w faces

The last meters need to be climbed on foot. I didn’t bother with crampons but had them in the sack just in case. The top of the couloir is a thin ridge, not much room for a party. The the descent.

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Obligatory entrance shot

It is not too steep. I skied down at 2pm, later than some groups but it was colder than earlier in the week and thin clouds were obscuring the sun. The snow was fine but there is a line of rocks down the fall-line of the couloir to watch out for terminating in a large outcrop. For this reason I have put the exposure as 2 (likely injury if you fall). Near the bottom of the couloir were lots of “fish mouths”, holes that open up as rock outcrops near the surface melt through the snow. Some where very big, over a meter deep and would be nast to fall in. I wonder what the 20cm of fresh predicted for Tuesday will do? Just bridge them enough to form a nasty trap?

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There was a lot of old avalanche debris from 1900->1700m which I crossed high then from 1550m was the “border cross” down the ridge which was very skiable. I took off my skis at 1100m, pretty good this year.

Range : Belledonne North
Sector: Maurienne
Aspect: South
Vertical: 1700 meters
Rating: 3.3/E2/
Start Point: Le Replat
Map : 3433OT Pays d’Allevard
Start Height : 1000 m.
Slope : 38° over 200 m, first 30 meters is steeper
Gear : Ski Crampons and Crampons if the couloir is frozen
Road Access: Epierre Junction of the Maurienne Autoroute -> St Rémi en Maurienne -> Girard -> Route de Replat which is generally snow free to around 1000 m in spring. In the Winter the route de Servion is kept clear to around 1000m for a telephone exchange and is a better bet but there is a 2km traverse.

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Col de la Pierre
From the parking follow the road to the bridge just before the chalet de la Lescherette (1100m). Climb the valley by track on the right bank (there is often a snow free or icy patch about 1170m). Climb into the vallon de la Pierre by a ridge (alder bushes but skiable) to arrive at a small plateau at 1550m. Continue to the slope below the col de la Pierre (1700 m) (Hut) Turn north to climb steeper south facing slopes under the Grand Miceau. At around 2300 m a plateau leads to the base of the south couloir S. From the top of the airy couloir (2630 m) you can reach the summit by a snow slope then the summit ridge.

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South Couloir at 2300m

Posted: 13 February 2011 02:45 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  270
Joined  2008-01-31

Oddly I was not able to find this tour last time I looked in my Toponeige Belledonne guidebook. Though it is prominently featured in the Editions Olizane guidebook for Savoie (tour 17), along with Col de la Pierre as a variation. I had wondered why Toponeige omitted it (or maybe I just didn’t know where to look in the book).

Good to find out that it worked.
. (so now what about the SE face of the Grand Moretan?)

davidof - 13 February 2011 09:44 AM

I made the mistake of taking the Servion road which was blocked at 1098 meters by a 100 meter patch of sheet ice.

I assume you mean the road more from the south starting from roughly St-Etienne-de-Cuines? So now instead you’re recommending the road more from la Girard near St-Remy. (which is also the recommendation of the Olizane guidebook for Savoie written by Emmanuel Cabot, one of my favorites).

The north facing approach track is reputed for holding snow

Yes now that you point it out, I can see on the topo map how the moraine shelters the snow on the approach.

GPS - some proposals for latitude/longitude (based on the IGN TOP25 map)

* le Replat (N45.37135 E6.26161)

* leave road just before Chalet de Lescherette (N45.36734 E6.24688)

* Grand Miceau summit (N45.37127 E6.20589)

* Col de la Pierre—not labeled on map ? (N45.35979 E6.20192)