Snow Shoeing: Winter of discontent

Thu, 8 January 2015


Distance: 43 km

Slope Aspect: North-East

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 1,810 meters (5,939 feet)

Vertical Descended: 1,810 meters


This is the winter of our discontent. Or so it would seem reading ski forums given the very poor snow conditions. There are pockets of good snow to be found but climbing 1000 meters to ski 200 meters of good snow, and risk wrecking your skis, is not my idea of fun. So the opportunity is there to think outside the box and try something different.

So I decided to mountainbike up to la Batie near the small ski resort of the col du Marcieu, basically the shorted ride to find snow. Then climb on snowshoes to a real summit. The ride splits nicely into about 900 meters of biking and 900 meters of snow shoeing and interestingly both legs took 1h30m to climb. A VAM of 600 meters/hour.

The advantages of snowshoes is that they are light to carry compared to skis and boots. I also used my cycling shoes to walk which further saved weight.

The climb from la Batie had limited snow at first and a few annoying rocks. After crossing the cross country ski tracks at 1250 meters snow was more or less continuous, about 10 to 15 cm of compact snow with maybe 30cm at the summit in sheltered spots. The trail was quite well made and would have been possible with boots. The Aulp du Seuil valley has some snow but it has been quite worked by the wind.

Route Taken: Took the trail from la Batie, after climbing from Crolles on a mountain bike

Weather: Sunny, some high cloud. Freezing level at 3000

Access: Clear, some ice on corners

Country: France Area: Chartreuse Trailhead: Col De Marcieu


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