Ski Touring: Valdez

Sat, 31 January 2015


Slope Aspect: West

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 900 meters (2,953 feet)

Vertical Descended: 910 meters

Avalanche Risk: 4

Snowline: 894


Classic ski tour when it is high risk in the mountains. The day started at 9am with 400 vertical meters of trail breaking in snow up to my knees and at times much higher. It is a very light snow that has fallen, in the range 50 to 100 g / liter. All the powder was causing problems for my skins but luckily being glueless all you need to do is clear the snow off and restick them. At the plateau de Laval at 1300m I joined the main trail from the Col du Barioz with a well made ski track. The 400 meters had taken well over an hour. The remaining 500 meters took around 45 minutes. Lots and lots of people on the route. It is very popular in these condtions because, unless you go way off route the slopes are under 30 degrees. This has the downside that the skiing is perhaps less interesting, the best parts are in the fields at the bottom.

It was my first time on the Waybacks. This wide and rockered ski is pretty light to climb with but strange to ski. Having the shovels always sticking out of the snow is a bit weird; like turkish shoes. They are easy to turn but in this snow I couldn't really see much advantage compared to non-rockered skis.

The snow is exceptionally light, around here we probably don't see more than one snowfall per season like this. The lack of slope makes the skiing less interesting in these conditions. It is better when there is a bit less depth and the snow is denser.

No signs of any avalanche activity. There were some very localized whoumphs where the snowpack collapsed passing over snow pillows. A sign that the recent snowfall could be unstable elsewhere.

Route Taken: Started from les Vincents

Weather: Sunny, cloud later.

Access: Snow covered from 500 meters. Snow tires needed.

Country: France Area: Belledonne Trailhead: Barioz


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