Haute Route 2008 - south route via the Grand Combin

In 2008, we skied the south route. Like most of my trips, what eats me is the anxiety. Having done the route once before, I felt comfortable. That turned out to be my undoing. The south route is very different and is more serious in my opinion. It is more glaciated and one needs to do more route finding.  I miscalculated a turn on the 3rd day and got help from local skiers.

In fog on the way down from Combin, I realized the meaning of “skirt the far right coming down from the pass” as there was huge drop of broken ice caps. Those who try this should have 50,000:1 of this area. I missed a map covering the south as I had two 25,000:1 maps.

The crux is Col du Sonadon. With a problematic part where two guys bailed and climbed Arolla en-route, at the pass, I lost my pole and ended up skiing the half of the route with one pole. We skied the route during full tourist season with many guided groups. There are usual herdings of inexperienced skiers and over-crowding and money issues.

During the winter peak season, you need to figure 80 euro per day. One of the crew decided not to carry money and leech. That was not pleasant either. So, make sure you have enough cash to cover. This turned out to be expensive and it felt more like moneyed class excursion except we did not have a guide. I will re-consider doing it again during the high season unless the party I am with is interested in Italian side; dramatic and less crowded.

Full links: http://www.egenius.com/Members/chalu/off_piste/Haute%20Route%202008/view?searchterm=haute

Posted by on Tuesday, 03 February, 2009 at 11:33 PM

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