The East couloir of the Pas de la Rousse is one of the last lines that I’ve not skied on the eastern ramparts of the Chartreuse. It is reputed to be the steepest line in the range with sections at 55 degrees. With the recent snow bonding much better than previous falls it seemed like a possibility for this week. Wednesday the weather was poor, flat light and cold. Thursday had a cloud base between 1000 - 1500 m, very thick on the Belledonne but thinner on the Chartreuse.
The route is tortuous route. A short entrance chute to the left (looking up the mountain) of the pine in the middle of the “pas” then you hang it right into a small bowl then a traverse left to the big cliffs that reflect heat and can change the snowpack. Then back right into the central channel before traversing to the left and picking your way out close to the rock wall.
The line is best tackled “sight unseen”, that is you climb by the unexposed forest trails to the Croix de l’Alpe then traverse to the couloir entrance. The Rousse massive is a wintering ground for Tetra Lyre so keep to any existing tracks.
The entrance is, here Patrick is considering the snow before engaging. Blow a turn and their is a a nice “toboggan” then a series fo cliffs. It is probably closes to E3 on the toponeige scale rather than the E2 quoted in the guide book. In short a No Fall Zone, as the American’s say.
We found “settled powder” of somewhat treacherous quality in the upper bowl.
and settled snow, almost corn under the cliffs
turns were not always that elegant. At the exit we had about 2 inches of snow sitting on 45-50 degree angled flagstones, it was amazing that the snow was sticking to these. Then a large snowfield above the trees of light skiable crust then a mix of powder in the woods.
So the “settled powder bonded to the base” wasn’t really there. Maybe a couple of day’s earlier? Then again it is the devil and the deep blue ski (sic). When the skiing is good the avalanche risk is often unacceptable on this route but wait too long and there is no snow at the exit.