Snow Shoeing: By fair means

Tue, 23 December 2014


Distance: 49 km

Slope Aspect: South-East

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 2,000 meters (6,562 feet)

Vertical Descended: 2,000 meters


My idea was a cime de la Jasse "by fair means" that is, under human power from the valley 25km below. I set off on my old Raleigh MTB at 9am, making the trailhead at Prabert around 10h15 and the top of the road at 10h45. Quicker than on skis and just as well as the road was bone dry. It was then a climb on the track to the colonie des Vacances and around the west side of the Jas de Lievres mountain where I finally picked up snow at 1650 meters. A 4x4 had been up the road and had polished the snow to ice in places so cycling was a bit on and off. There was then a hard 2km where the trail ended to the Aiguibelle bothy (1775 meters) and I finally arrived at 12h15 having overtaken some surprised snow shoers.

I fitted my snowshoes and set off on the climb to the Jasse. A lot of people had been on foot which made the trail very uneven and I finally decided to stop at the Lacs de Venetiers at 13h30 - tired from the long climb, lack of food and hot sun. The snow was not too bad at this altitude (2100 meters). About 35cm depth consisting of

i. a 2cm rain crust
ii. 15 cm of old snow
iii. a base of round grains

No obvious instabilities as have been seen higher up in the Maurienne. The snow was a mix of crust and spring snow. Probably skiable to around 1900m where there was 10cm of compact snow. I collected my bike which I had stashed in the bothy and set off down the direct forest trail. This was well compacted by walkers and easy to ride. Surprisingly the cold air of the forest had conserved continuous snow to 1500 meters although the 2-5cm of compacted base would not have been skiable.

Conditions are similar to Christmas 2007.

Weather: Warm, zero iso 3300m. Sunny.

Access: Black ice between 500 and 800 meters (temperature inversion)

Country: France Area: Belledonne Trailhead: Prabert