Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Dent Parrachée - East Face

Some unfinished business from a few weeks ago...

Having been shut down by the weather on the East Face of the Dent Parrachée a few weeks back, Will & I were both keen for a rematch. A quick look through binoculars on the way back from the Haute Maurienne last week convinced me there was still enough snow on the face, so with Greg keen for action the 3 of us walked in to the Dent Parrachée refuge.

The East Face from Termignon:

Not quite enough snow for the Plan Sec button lift...

Looking at the peak from the walk in to the refuge, with the normal Breche Loza route visible heading right of the skyline ridge:

A 4 a.m. start saw us skinning towards the Breche de la Loza in the dark:

Dawn breaking over the Ecrins skyline:

Will in the Loza couloir:

Nice scenery:

Greg on the exposed traverse into the Chaise du Pape:

Will on the summit ridge:

We made the summit at 8 a.m., and spent a bit of time peering in to the top of the face & waiting for the snow to soften. The East face is one of the classic steep descents of the vanoise, first skied by local extreme skier Yves Anselmet, and starts with 150m of 50º slopes, picking a tight line through rocky couloirs, before opening onto 'Les Grandes Pentes', 400m of 45º, and finally narrowing to a tight funnel to exit the main face. The 2 cruxes are the top rocky section - which we had scoped through binoculars and figured a line that might go, and the bottom funnel which looked extremely deeply runneled by soft snow releases from previous days - but we had a plan...!

Will on the summit, Mont Blanc and Grande Casse behind:

First turns down the shoulder - 50º with big exposure:

First tight section:

Carefull skiing required to not send sluff onto the man below...:

Will & Greg exiting the upper face (they're in there somewhere!:

Enjoying the wide open 45º slopes below:

"Variation des 3 Mousquetaires": Will scoping our alternative line - from Termignon we had spotted a couloir skiers right of the face which by-bassed the runneled exit. Continuous steep skiing on good spring snow on the sides of the couloir, the only question mark was wether it actually was skiable all the way, as we couldn't quite see the bottom through the binoculars, or without actually comitting to the couloir...:

In the couloir, from here we could see a clear way through:

Greg surviving a short runneled section:

Looking down the exit couloir:

The East Face from below, 700m looking very fore-shortened:

View from the Crete des Ferrieres:

With a high snow-line we avoided the classic descent down to Termignon and hung a hard left. A short hike up some scree got us onto the Crete des Ferrieres, from where we could drop in under the North face of the Dent:

A long hot skin up the Glacier de la Mahure followed:

North face of the Dent Parrachée, some future projects on here, but a bit more snow needed currently!:

By 1230 we were at the Col du Moine, from where some great spring snow took us back to the refuge, for a well-earned cup of tea & rest before a gentle stroll back to the car...:

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