Ski Touring: Autumn powder on the Petit Van - 2,422 m. (7,947 ft)

Fri, 8 November 2019


Minimum altitude: 1,742 meters

Distance: 19 km

Slope Aspect: West

Vertical Climbed: 1,249 meters (4,098 feet)

Vertical Descended: 1,259 meters

Rating: 2.1

Avalanche Risk: -

Snowline: 1,750


Early November snow is not uncommon but always nice to restart the ski season. Someone had skied the pistes at Chamrousse a couple of days before so I figured with another 20cm of snow it should be good, or nearly. I haven't put my snow tires on yet so was worried by the climb. The road was snow covered from around 1500 meters but had been reasonably well cleared. I hoped with the sun it would melt for when I came to drive back down. Parking at Roche Be (1750 but possible to drive to over 1800m).

I skinned up to the Cross then decided to ski down to the Lacs Robert. It was good where it was steep but a bit slow on the flatter pistes with a good 30cm of powder. There was a track to the Col des Lessines which followed but it returned to the Cross so I decided to climb towards the Petit Vans. At about half distance 4 people took over trail making to my relief as it was slow work. The ski down the left hand / shady side of the valley was pretty good. The sunny slopes were purging a bit but all would be skied within an hour. Dozens of people were following my tracks up now. All that remained was to skin back to resort - easier said than done as one skin was refusing to stick. I warmed it in my jacket for a few minutes and had to repeat the process a couple of times before reaching the top. The resort had pisted the slopes - not to open but to conserve the snow - so the ski down was pretty much a formality.

A great early start to the season, lets see if the snow sticks around, which would be pretty rare for November snow.


20cm of Powder at 1750 meters, 50cm at 2100. Some rocks in places. Sunny.


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