Ski Touring: Janvril AOC 2022 - 1,814 m. (5,952 ft)

Tue, 5 April 2022


Minimum altitude: 1,070 meters

Distance: 5.9 km

Slope Aspect: East

Vertical Climbed: 774 meters (2,539 feet)

Vertical Descended: 770 meters

Rating: 4.1

Avalanche Risk: 2

Snowline: 1,060


I haven't skied the Virgule couloir this year. An error but conditions have not been good with the long anti-cyclone and I've also been very busy. Finally Janvril! arrived dumping up to 80cm of new snow on the Chartreuse mountains and we got extra time. I couldn't ski on Saturday and in any case was worried that with no base lower down it wouldn't be good for my skis. Reports were of very light powder with lots of rocks and tree stumps and not great skiing - even on 120mm skis - but those were from ski tourers who can't ski anyway!

So I let the powder settle and the good weather return. Monday was no good as I was too tired so today, Tuesday was the day. A terrorist attack by XLW (extreme left wingers) had cut the power to my town but was also a good excuse to be a bit late to work. I set off at 7am from the Col de Marcieu; just a couple of ski tourers ahead. It was sunny but not warm, this had kept the snow fresh with just a bit of settling since the weekend. Ideal conditions.

The climb was a bit harder than normal so I arrived at the top of the couloir after 8am. A nagging north wind was blowing my skins around making it difficult to pack them. Finally all set, bindings locks to make sure they were clear of ice and then the traverse to the start. The couloir was bathed in early morning sunshine. A few people had skied it already, maybe 20 descents? and the usual side slipping taking all the snow off the route. However the snow was easy to make turns, like a pisted ski run. After the crux at the top I took a side couloir, this was full to the brim with settled power. I'm always wary of this couloir as it is avalanche prone but the base is pretty stable at the moment. The forest was excellent to ski, the trees had kept yesterday's sun off the snow. A quick change at the car and at work at 9.25am. Fortunately we have power unlike colleagues further up the valley.


Frozen tracks on the climb in the combe, ski crampons necessary (or bootpacking). Skied powder at the top of the couloir then I detoured into the steep side couloir on the right which had only been skied once (maybe Saturday) and was filled in with about 60cm of pow. Dense but cold powder in the woods, excellent to ski and no worries about tree stumps. Packs new snow on the path, only a couple of rocks, easy to avoid at the bottom. Crud/crust on the piste but a thin strip of powder on the far right under the trees, okay to ski if you can godille !


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