So is it still possible to do a real ski tour in the Chartreuse, you know, not a patch of wet snow half way up a mountain side but a route officially certified by Seigneur Shahshahani with a start point next to a car park and a genuine summit? Well it certainly was a couple of weeks ago when there was a great weekend of touring at spots like Chamchaude and the Soms but we’ve had rain to 2000m and raging foehn since then.
Why not just head higher? Well everyone is in the starting gates for the opening of the high mountain passes at the moment. Obviously the 10th ski tour from Chamrousse to the Grand Van of the year has bored even the most manic of skiers. Oh and I only had a couple of hours free.
So it was up to the Col du Coq, the road on the north side is now open, and the north-west face of the Bec Charvet above the former ski station of the Col du Coq, possibly the only bona-fide ski tour route still feasible in the Chartreuse with no portage.
As you can see the pistes hold the snow well. It was possible to ski from 1360meters, just below the col and the summit of the Bec Charvet is at 1738m. After skinning up the right piste (the old black) I skied down to the car park (post on left) to add a 150 meters. The snow on the NE slopes was not compact enough and had seen a bit too much sun, having formed sun-cups.
I reskinned and climbed back up to the Bec Charvet which you can see on the right of the 1st photo. Not much snow left on the Charmant Som. I skied own the limestone face you see in the center of the photo a couple of years ago, but in mid March.
Still lots of snow over at Chamrousse and the Taillefer / Brouffier behind. The Casserouse has about 100 D+ portage from the car park (bottom left) but the Brouffier (right) still has snow down to the road, I think that is the Devoluy at the extreme right.
The 7 Laux also has snow down to resort level, the ski area has been closed for a month now!
The first part of the descent is via the fairly steep “Bazinga” couloir which had quite a lot of pine needles on the snow but still skied well. The snow was much more compact on these NW slopes. Technical skiing but fun.
The couloir opens out, with a short traverse, to the north north west bowl which had cleaner snow but also softer out of the trees. It was possible to ski down to around 1350 meters. Then a quick traverse and ski down the ex-pistes of the CDC as far as the snowline.