Ski Touring: East Couloir of the Belles Ombres

Fri, 20 February 2015


Distance: 9 km

Slope Aspect: East

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 950 meters (3,117 feet)

Avalanche Risk: 2

Snowline: 935


I'd skied this couloir with Luc in 2009 after a detailed reccy in 2006 both in the winter and summer. Unfortunately it was skied a few days prior to our visit. I've been skiing with junior this week so was a bit tired after doing 2 ski areas yesterday! So I cast about for something half an hour from the house that was not the Col du Coq nor Col de Marcieu.

I parked down on the main road to take advantage of the fields above the village then a fairly rapid 90 minute climb to the summit. It is quite a long traverse over to the entrance of the couloir. The entrance was soft snow but had a lot of "steps" made by previous skiers. It wasn't well filled in, barely room for my 175cm skis. A few turns in the suspended slope then another tricky descent of the exit couloir. The main bowl was a mix of refrozen spring snow on the left bank and old powder on the right bank. I selected the old powder option. The "jump" had a bit of snow cover in the middle so straight lined this then cut through the woods back to the forest trail with more old powder. The biggest issue is I didn't have powder baskets on my poles and sometimes a pole would sink in half a meter.

Rather than regain the Pre Orcel car park I traversed through the woods, big mistake. The woods are steep and have a lot of shrubbery in places. Best to ski down the road then cut through the woods where it is clearer.

Weather: 14C in the valley, sunny.

Access: Clear above les Pres to 980m but nowhere to park

Country: France Area: Chartreuse Trailhead: Les Prés