Ski Touring: Fête du Travail on the Belle Etoile

Thu, 1 May 2014


Slope Aspect: South-West

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 1,570 meters (5,151 feet)

Avalanche Risk: 2

Snowline: 1,475


Reunion of Team Bivouak for a Belle Etoile, well in fact we started with no fixed objective but decided that Prabert was nearest to home and with least portage (5 minutes from the car). We climbed the 650 meters to the Aigleton in 1h40 then removed skins to ski the east face with a fine layer of power on a hard base. Luc made tracks up the first, steep pitch to the Belle Etoile until he lost his footing and slid, I took over right the way to the summit - the final 300 meters in 20-30cm of powder.

In the bowl we saw the couloir had not yet been tracked. I shouted down to Guy to check he had a signal from my beacon. I suspected windslab in the couloir given the North wind and fresh snow. Guy's ancient Ortovox got a signal after the others turned their beacons off. I carried on as the current spacing would help in the couloir, at least to reduce the load. Half way up the couloir we spotted some skiers at the summit, they had climbed from the North and spotting us in the couloir decided to descend. One of the guys hit some ice at the top of the couloir and lost his ski, they then spent 10 minutes faffing, kicking snow down on us. The lead skier continued down and covered my friends with debris from a slab he triggered. Altogether not very polite. We climbed the final meters on-foot.

The conditions on the N. side looked great. We hurried at the col as the 3 amigos who'd descended the couloir were now taking advantage of our tracks to climb back up. Despite the tracks left by the other skiers we still had space to make our own way down on the steeper banks in great powder snow. The fresh snow thinned out as we reached 2100m and the start of our climb back to the Aigleton. This section was in humid snow. The SW side of the Aigleton was spring snow but almost zero viz until we joined the Venetier valley.

Route Taken: As topo

Weather: Cloud to the Aigleton, then sun. Low cloud from 2200 to 1900m on the descent.

Access: Clear, parked at 1390m at the Source Captée

Country: France Area: Belledonne Trailhead: Prabert

Participants:Luc Anny Guy