So, I hadn't skied for a month (Apr 11th to be precise) for a variety of reasons, and having to deposit wife & child at the airport on Saturday scuppered any full weekend plans... time for a day mission to fulfill a promise to a mate.
A short night 'car camping' was followed by an early start -
5:28 am - leave car in L'Ecot (2000m)
5:33 am - leave car in L'Ecot again, having returned to pick up the ice axe I had forgotten...
6:35 am - over the hump at 2570m and down to the Plan des Evettes - groups heading off in all directions from the hut
8:00 am - Col Tonini (3200m) - First sight of 'La Face du Jour'
The north face of the Grande Ciamarella has been on the hit list for a long time, but is exceedingly rarely in condition. I had been watching the progress of the face this spring and it had been looking better and better...
Early start French team from the hut (cheats :-)) dropping onto the upper face. A few mm of soft over a hard base, hmmm.
The face proper is about 450m of steepness - not very big in alpine terms but it hovers consistently around 50º the whole time - definitely feels steeper than say the NNE of the Courtes...
French skier in here if you look closely - view downwards from approx half-height:
10:30 am - Grande Ciamarella summit (3670m) - 8km and 1750m vertical in the bag (got to count the extra for the drop into the Plan des Evettes). Tired legs due to a month of inactivity!
I'm not sure how much of this fella is normally showing, but if its a full statue then there is a fair bit of snow on the summit!!
Time for action - I have since seen a report from the Saturday of soft snow over a firm base - alot can change in 24 hours... there was the merest dusting (in places) over some really quite hard snow - spicy times!
And looking back at the face from Col Tonini - another French team on the top section - busy busy on here today!:
12:15 pm - back at the car & time for a brew - mission accomplished.
Apologies for lack of action photos... solo mission drawbacks!
This descent was for Will who should have been here too, RIP mate.