On Saturday Ken suggested the south-east face of the Pointe de la Combe Bronsin. I’d last ski toured to the summit back about 20 years before but from the north side.
We checked on the Web and someone had skied the route on Friday, starting from la Pautaz above Biollay at 1500m. The road is narrow so we decided to get their early. The access is via Albertville then the col de la Madelaine road taking the turn to le Biollay before Celliers (where the col is closed for the winter).
The route climbs a north-east ridge from la Pautaz to the left of the hairpins to arrive at Haut-Gentil (1775m) where there is a chalet. Continue under high voltage cables to reach a ridge at 2000m. The normal route traverses under the south facing bowl of the Bronsin but instead we climbed a short summit ridge to reach the hanging south-east bowl. The refreeze wasn’t great, about 8-10cm of hard snow on very soft snow. We reached the summit at 9h15 and started skiing down about 20 minutes later on what was already transformed snow. Skiing down at 9am would not have been out of the question.
We had a choice in the hanging bowl of continuing down to cliffs than traversing over some grass and heather into a short couloir or skiing the ridge we’d climbed up. We opted for the 2nd, safer option then took the north facing slopes under the col du Loup before reskiing for a 100m of vertical back to the ridge at 2000m.
From here it was just a case of pointing the skis downhill on rapidly softening snow. We were surprised to see a large club group heading out at 11am on what would soon be very slushy snow.
As a note, I could punch my ski pole down all 100cm of snowpack to ground level in a lot of places.