Sun, 21 February 2021
Minimum altitude: 1,184 meters
Distance: 19.5 km
Slope Aspect: South
Vertical Climbed: 1,292 meters (4,239 feet)
Vertical Descended: 1,292 meters
Avalanche Risk: 2
After Albertville take the la Bathie exit. Turn left then right onto the Route de Biorges. Before the village of Biorges take a right to climb to Lachat -> le Mondron -> le Daru (trailhead).
From le Daru take the trail NE to la Ravoire (1550 m.). Here you can climb a "piste" to the N. on the right bank of the Ruisseau d'Arbine, cross the river at 1660m to climb the left bank (right looking up the mountain) towards the chalet du Soufflet (attn. avalanches in the bed of the river). At around 1800 meters recross the river and head NW to climb towards the Lac du Souflet and then Lac sans Fond to arrive at an unnamed col (pt 2376m). Take the east ridge to the summit (attention cornice).
We've passed from winter to summer in a couple of days and the snow has suffered as a result. Lots of purges on the Saharan sand that fell a couple of weeks ago. We decided to play the spring snow card and head for a south face but we'd have to ski down not too late. First issue was finding the trail head, none of the roads were signposted and we ended up on a forest track above Biorges thanks to Waize. U-turn and back up to Lachat on a very small mountain road with the remains of avalanches on it. At Lachat we decided to park but some people had pushed on to le Daru (one in a Duster) despite the ice and snow. I didn't want to get stuck.
The initial part of the climb to la Ravoire is long and relatively flat but the slope steepened and we began to gain altitude. After the Chalet du Soufflet it was hot and we had to cross old avalanche debris but the track was well made and it wasn't long before the Pointe hoved into view. We passed a number of groups then finally we were on the summit ridge and summit with superb views over the Alps.
I was worried about the snow overheating so we skied down at 12h20 after taking some photos. There was old powder on SW slopes that was not too bad to ski although the base was breakable in places. Then onto some superheated slush with a breakable crust below but the snow got better below the lac du Soufflet to finally become excellent on SW slopes below the Soufflet. Basically 12h30 was too late on East-South East slopes which had taken too much sun. Even 11h00 would have been a bit late. The path below la Ravoire was long but passed pretty quickly with just a bit of snow at the end. All in all better than we hoped for.
Skiable snow from 1190 with a couple of breaks. The continuous snow started at 1300. Good refreeze. Spring snow when we descended at 12h30, a little overcooked on the faces that were directly oriented towards the sun but better lower down on the SW slopes. Some old powder on W and SW slopes above 2000 meters. Generally good skiing but the refreeze isn't that deep.
Avalanche risk 1->2 below 2300m. Zero iso 3200m.