Ski Touring: Orionde before the thaw

Sat, 28 January 2017


Distance: 11.7 km

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 1,040 meters (3,412 feet)

Avalanche Risk: 2

Snowline: 1,021


With a thaw predicted for next week and fairly thin snow cover I thought it was time to revisit a little mountain I'd not skied on the NW side since 2010. At just 20 minutes from home it is one of the closest ski tours. The weather wasn't great, grey and quite warm, 7C at 1000 meters. There was about 5cm of hardpacked snow at the col. Hoards of snowshoers had turned the road into a ski piste. Exactly what I wanted on the sections in the forest.

It was the usual long climb through the forest on trails that don't climb all that directly adding unnecessary km. I discovered a new bothy in the woods below l'Orionde. Very tidy with bunks and a stove. Could make an interesting base for a few tours although the possibilities are not large. The snow in the woods was very sticky, I will have to waterproof my skins. The traverse under the Orionde was a bit of a battle as the direct trail is a bit steep so you have to zig-zag but without a lot of space.

There was a coldish breeze at the summit. I took a few photos then skied down the towards the trail. The snow had been windblown near the summit and was either crust or cardboard. Lower down some old powder before the traverse back into the forest. The skiing on the ridge to 1500 m was not bad at all with old powder on a base. The trails down to Pre Marcel were almost rock free, just a small section of a few meters that required care. Finally from the Pre Marcel to the car it was a ski piste made by snowshoers.

Weather: Overcast

Access: Clear

Country: France Area: Belledonne Trailhead: Col de Mouilles