Thursday, 19 April 2007

Roc des St Peres, Grand Couloir

Over to Val Thorens today with Benoit to try and find some snow that is surviving the current summer temperatures (20º + in Bozel today). A quick skin and then boot up to the Roc des Saint Peres saw us peering in the top of the Grand Couloir trying to judge if the snow had softened enough to make it viable. This was my last line left to ski from this peak, having previously skied the Petit Face Nord (200m @ 50º) and the Triangle (750m @ 45º, alpine feel, complex route-finding).

The Grand Couloir is hard to miss as you sit on the Moraine chair in Val Thorens, and is very reasonable to ski, with a short steepish section (45º) at the top followed by steady 40º for 500m, then out onto the open slopes below. West-facing the couloir doesn't get the sun til late morning so there's no rush to get there if the snow is in Spring conditions (access slope is S facing though). We dropped in at 12.30, and found the snow still quite firm on the left bank, but nicely soft on the right bank, where it had been catching the sun for a bit longer. A bit of filming on the way down (video link to follow), a few sections of chattering over marbles, but mostly good spring snow right the way down...perfect!

The Grand Couloir is the obvious main diagonal line in this picture:

Benoit on the Roc des Saint Peres, with the Ecrins in the background:

Looking into the W face of the Aiguille de Peclet. There are 2 people just above the shaded section, which gives the face some perspective...

Benoit 150m down the couloir:

Benoit in action:

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