Sunday, 9 May 2010

Col de la Grande Casse

With a lot of mixed weather this last week conditions have been quite tricky..
On Thursday I met up with Julien at Les Fontanettes to go for a bit of a recce up around the Grande Casse to see how much new snow had actually fallen. I was also keen to get a proper look at the NW face, and a line that Pierre Tardivel had skied on here some years back, to potentially continue my tour of the different faces of the mountain.

Despite a lot of valley cloud, as we climbed to the top of the lift system we broke out of the clouds, to be greeted with the usual spectacular views:

Even better was the lack of people...with the lifts shut, and the Col de la Vanoise hut now only manned at the weekend we were the only people in the whole area - not another track to be seen:

The Grande Casse was looking good as always:

Approaching the Col de la Grande Casse, with the NW face on the right looking very thin - this will need a BIG snow year to be skiable as far as I can tell...:

Looking back down the valley, the morning weather window about to snap shut again...:

The North Face of the Grande Casse from the Col - still big streaks of ice in the top of the Couloir des Italiens. With the weather closing in we decided to scratch our option of heading up the Moyenne Face Nord and beat a retreat before the visibility went completely:

Flat light anyone? Good snow underfoot all the way to Barmettes 4 inches of powder followed by good spring snow:

Julien demonstrating his 'dry-skiing' technique:

With unsettled weather forecast conditions are likely to stay good for a while, as long as you can pick the gaps in the weather...

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