Luc called on his mobile… did I fancy climbing the Ferrouillet? Ferrouillet, Ferrouillet, sounds like a mountain made of iron. I’d passed by a few times on skis and foot and had fancied the summit. While the Pointe Centrale Sud was pretty straightforward if long trek the Pointe Nord was much more complicated.
The walk is initially on good paths, past the Pont de la Betta and under the Orionde and Bartlett, two of our favourites ski touring.
and then around the lac du Crop. At 600 vertical meters from the trailhead this is as far as most walkers get. A great spot for a pic-nic or a spot of fishing for alpine trout.
above the lake we left the GR549 walking trail and traversed a small snow field above the lac Bleu. This snowfield seems to be a year round affair and was practically ice - a micro glacier. We were then presented with a 30 meter vertical rock face with a waterfall in the middle. We made for fault in the rocks
face on it looks difficult but as you approach the gradient flattens out and it looks nothing more than a scramble. Don’t be fooled. Although not difficult it is still a 3.x climb up mossy, damp and cold rocks. Wary of rockfall we wore helmets.
What followed was a scramble up a rocky bowl. Which we both agreed would be fantastic to ski down in 50cm of powder.
This lead up to the col du Ferrouillet with views over the Trois Laux (three lakes) and the glaciers of the Grandes Rousses (or big red-heads according to Google translation).
We hesitated for the descent, back the way we came down with the mossy crack or the south-west couloir. The latter is a steep skiing route. In the summer the top is humid grass with old snow in the middle section. We had brought axes not for cutting steps in the snowfield
but to secure ourselves on the wet and slippery grass covered slopes at the entrance to the couloir, a fall here would have finished some 200-300 meters below
there is rockfall in the couloir hence the climbing helmets and a step at mid slope which requires a small rappel (bring a 30 meter rope and a harness) to pass safely
finally you regain the lac bleu after a glissade down scree slopes
Around 1300 meters but signifcantly technical for a walker to be ahem… interesting. The slopes leading to the summit are a veritable garden of alpine flowers with dozens of species sharing the same space. Due to the difficulty of access the route is not well travelled by humans and you have a good chance of seeing groups of chamois grazing and even marmottes. However remember your helmet, ax and rope, not a walk for the inexperienced.