Sunday, 27 April 2008

Vanoise & Maurienne tour

Bit of a delay since last blog due to problems uploading images...
2 weeks back Jim & Anne were out for a 4 day tour round in the Maurienne & Vanoise.

Despite being mid-April Spring conditions were noticeably lacking, with a major snowfall in the days preceding. Day 1 saw 'full' conditions getting from Val Thorens down to the Orgere refuge in the Maurienne valley. After a couple of hours navigating in a white-out we finally dropped out of the clouds:

Day 2 saw an early start from the Orgere hut in beautiful blue skies heading for the Col de la Masse (top right of this picture):

A dozen chamois were running about the rocks above us as we skinned out of the valley:

As we climbed higher the snow got deeper and the wind picked up again, blowing hard as we took off skins on the Col. No picnic in the sun on the top today...

At least the powder on the far side made up for the weather...deep and quite light considering the wind:

We skied down into the Aussois valley with great views of the Dent Parrache and the Aussois ski area:

The end in sight...the Fond D'Aussois refuge in the bottom of the valley:

Day 3 saw us skinning under the stunning Pointe de L'Echelle en route to the Pointe de L'Observatoire and the Col D'Aussois:

Again the wind was picking up as the day went on, and with a worsening forecast we hurried up to the summit to make the most of this great viewpoint over the Pralognan valley.

The ski down was even better than day 2 with perfect light deep powder and loads of space for the 3 of us and the French group who had appeared from another Col:

The day ended with a great meal in the very comfortable Roc de la Peche refuge, where Ginny joined us, having skinned up from Pralognan.
For our last day we decided to head up the Roc de Blanchon on the way back to civilisation. Crossing the river before starting the skin up:

Great views on the way up:

Near the top, large French team behind:

Ginny and Anne on the summit:

Jim & others on top, stormy looking Glacier de la Vanoise behind:

The ski down proved to be a bit of a gnarly crust-fest as the sun and temperatures had got to work on the fresh snow. Eventually we dropped down into some better spring snow, passing this stunning claw of rock:

Jim, Ginny & Anne back in the valley, an easy slide from here back to the car at Pralognan. All in all an interesting 4 days, with very un-spring-like conditions!!

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