Sunday, 11 January 2009

Will's birthday/Beaufort again (part 1)

Back to Beaufort yesterday for a day out to celebrate Will's birthday. Will, Erica, Ginny and myself drove through from Bozel and met Emma who had come across from Chamonix. Areches-Beaufort is an area I have wanted to explore for a while prior to last months day trip, and again it didn't dissapoint...firstly as the day passes were going cheap, and they were handing out free hot chocolate & coffee at the bottom of the main lifts - now thats what I call service!!

We started with a run down the classic Combettes off-piste - this used to be accessed by a 10 minute hike, but sadly there is now a lift to the top of the ridge meaning lots more tracks. Still there was plenty of space to find our own soft snow...

Will, Erica & Emma part way down Combettes:

And hiking the ridge in the middle in search of more fresh turns:

Ginny with Mont Blanc as backdrop:

More fresh turns followed with a bit of tree-dodging, then a good ski right back down to Planay for a well-earned crepe & cup of coffee (we were on a day off after all..).
Then we headed back down to Areches to get the lifts up for the afternoons tour up the Grand Mont D'Areches.
Grand Mont is the main peak on the left of this photo:

The Grand Mont is easily accessed from the top of the Areches lift system, with just 350 metres of uphill to do from the Col de Forclaz button lift.
Looking into the Combe Nord, our descent route from the Grand Mont:

The views on the skin up just get better, halfway up and already a great view of the Vanoise, with the Mt Pourri, Bellecote, Grande Casse all visible:

Skinning up:

Looking over the back at the Pointe de Comborsier - some nice North-facing couloirs to come back and ski here:

The view from the summit is, I think, possibly the best panorama you will find of the Northern French Alps with the view covering the Aravis, Mt Blanc range, Gd Combin, Grivola, Gran Paradiso, the high Tarentaise peaks, all the major Vanoise & Beaufortain summits, Ecrins, Lauziere, and Chablais areas...breathtaking...

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