Ski Touring: The Eagle has Landed - 2,290 m. (7,513 ft)

Sat, 4 May 2019


Minimum altitude: 1,351 meters

Distance: 9.6 km

Slope Aspect: South-West

Vertical Climbed: 1,012 meters (3,320 feet)

Vertical Descended: 1,001 meters

Rating: 2.1

Snowline: 1,410


The forecast wasn't great for the weekend so I got up early to look out of the window. The clouds were starting to clear so I headed up to Prabert. The snowline was a couple of minutes from the car park thanks to the remains of a huge avalanche that had come down the valley earlier in the season. Unfortunately it was a double edged sword as the remains of broken trees blocked the paths up the valley. Instead I climbed via the left bank of the valley to cross back onto the main route before the Refuge de l'Aiguebelle. The snow turned from dense spring snow to a refrozen crust that slowly got thicker as I climbed.

I'd planned to ski the Jas de Lievres but the cloud had come in, the Aigleton valley seemed to be protected from the clouds clagging the tops, everywhere else was covered. The final pitch up to the summit was a mix of ice and windblown snow. Fearing the weather would close in I quickly removed skins, waiting 5 minutes at the entrance of the valley for the clouds to lift there was an extremely strong wind from the south. A clearing, go! I crossed some skiers climbing, by now a band of cloud had swept in around 1900 meters. Skiing was  good, on a think layer of fresh snow but lower down the crust tended to break unexpectedly. Skiing below 1900 m was on springlike snow and generally good but I did a big traverse along the left bank to avoid the chaos of broken trees on the main route.

Skiability: 3/5 being perhaps a bit generous overall.


Dense snow from just after the pumping station at 1400 meters (the remains of the winter avalanche that ripped down from the Jas, the biggest for at least 20 years). Refreeze from around 1700 meters although the surface crust would break onto dense snow underneath. 1-3cm of fresh snow on a hard base from 1950 meters. Clouds arrived around 10h.


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