Ski Touring: Chardonnet in the mist

Sat, 14 April 2001


Distance: 12.6 km

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 800 meters (2,625 feet)

Vertical Descended: 2,000 meters

Avalanche Risk: 2

Snowline: 1,250


After a night in the Argentiere refuge we got up at 5.00 am and fetched snow from outside. It was still dark and the snow took ages to melt. In the meantime I'd found that my salopettes had vanished from where I left them on the hook the night before. We were sharing with a second group who were heading to the top of the valley with the aim of climbing some couloirs there. A long search of the refuge by all our group eventually found my clothes in the kitchen! It would seem that in the dark one of the other group had made a mistake, then rather than returning the item to where he found it he simply dumped it where he was. Great and really something to watch out for when staying in refuges, without salopettes I wouldn't even have been able to descend to Chamonix.

The weather was getting worse outside. We quickly made breakfast and got ready to head into the cold. From the refuge we kept to our side of the valley and tried to avoid losing too much height. Eventually we came to the start of the col. A steep but wide valley that needed kick turns to climb.

Towards the summit the wind picked up although the cloud never cleared. It was impossible to see down to the Le Tour side and we decided to make a U-turn at this point rather than continue with our plans. The ski back was in a light, pleasant cover of powder although visibility was nil. After rejoining the main valley we pushed across to the other bank and eventually found the pistes from the Grands Montets. Visibility began to improve in resort and we skied most of the way back to Argentiere. The snow finishing rather abruptly a few hundred meters from the car-park.

Weather: Windy, low cloud

Country: France Area: Mont-Blanc Trailhead: Grands Montets

Participants:Juliette Gervais