Having seen Cecile Eichinger’s trip report on the Pilliozan north-east couloir we decided the Glandon was more interesting than Pleynet and the Belle Etoile.
Snow conditions were more like early June, a good 30 minutes hike to find the remaining snow. The Rocher Blanc south face would normally be skiable in the second half of May but the snow had melted under the record temperatures we’ve been having since the start of April. On Sunday it reached 33.8C in Bourg St Maurice, not bad for a high alpine town and 2C hotter than the previous record for May.
There was enough snow left in the sheltered couloir and despite the lack of refreeze the compact neve was very skiable. The couloir is rated 3.1, hard to tell with these ratings, it is probably between 35-40 degrees at the top but maybe steeper due to lack of snow.
Luc was on Telemark. His Dynastar Altitrail Powders having gone back to the factory as they had delaminated last week. This was the main reason we didn’t follow Cecile and Jo into the scary north-east couloir. Well that and the snow seemed to have melted even more since the day before making the mid section tricky.
Fred agreed that the spot was wonderful, wild, we saw bouquetins but no marmottes which is unusual. Lots of cyclists on the Col de la Croix de Fer though.
Is that the last trip of the year, with the limited snow, maybe.