Yesterday evening I had a sudden burst of enthusiasm, threw some kit in a bag, checked boots fitted bindings, set the alarm quite early, and hoped the motivation would still be there when it went off...
The Pointe du Vallonet is a sub-peak of the Grand Bec and one of those lines that stares you in the face from Bozel though for some reason I had never got around to skiing it. Given the lack of skiing this spring (work & family & weather combining regularly to stop play...) this was a perfect line for today - 1500m of up, 200m at 45º then lots of mellow terrain.
I was very surprised as I drove up to the parking spot to see another car there... clearly I am not the only madman in the Vanoise - Frank had the same idea as me and we naturally fell in step and had a good natter on the way up.
Crampons on for the narrows below the summit slopes - bulletproof!
On the summit ridge:
Great views from the top along to the Grande Casse:
After hanging out on the summit for 30 minutes, we decided that on the balance it was better to ski the top slopes when they were hard and get great skiing all the way down from there, rather than wait for the summit slopes to soften up but then have 1000m of porridge below. As the top 200m was quite 'textured' anyway this was an easy decision, but did mean some fairly controlled skiing on 45º bullet-proof-ness for my first outing this year on my super-lightweight kit...!
Frank on the summit slopes:
On the shoulder above the steep narrows:
Below the narrows - it starting getting really good from here!
From here on down we were treated to 1000m of perfect spring snow (and when I say perfect I mean really, really perfect - billiard smooth, top inch softened, pure velvet...):
And it just kept on going:
Even the Scottish-style gully at the end was fun skiing!
The gully-line took us down to 2050m, leaving just 250m of hiking back to the cars, not bad for the end of May!