Thursday, 24 January 2008

A grand day out!

Making the most of a rare day off and perfect snow & weather I hooked up with Al, Ewan and Jonny for what turned out to be one of the best days of the season so far, a traverse of the Breche Portetta from Courchevel to Pralognan. This starts with a quick wander up & over into the head of the Les Avals valley, then 600m of skinning up to the Rocher de Plassa.
An exposed traverse from here leads towards the start of the Glacerets descent with a sneak preview of the Breche itself (centre of photo):

Les Glacerets gave several good pitches of warm up turns in perfect powder:

Then a short traverse led to the final climb up to the breche itself:

The 'Breche' is actually a labyrinth of passageways and finding the correct one is not necessarily obvious. The northernmost passageway is quite spectacular, 40m deep and 3m wide for 15-20m.

Looking up from inside the Breche:

At the far end a couloir drops away steeply giving a blind descent with perfect pillows of soft snow:

Jonny on the first few turns:

Al enjoying the powder:

A bit of routefinding required part way down to not end up down a 'blind alley', then more perfect powder for the rest of the couloir proper:

Followed by another 500m vertical of great snow in the Creux des Dents:

And some more bonus turns to give over 1000 metres of great descent!

A happy team!

Although the guidebooks suggest continuing by the Creux de L'Ours there is alot of new growth of small trees etc so its far more reasonable to finish of on the forest road that leads back into Pralognan

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