Monday 18 February 2013

Couloir Pissoir

Today was supposed to be an easy day....

With the weather holding and energy levels high, Peter, Matt, Damo and I decided to go and check out the Couloir Pissoir above Trient. For reasons unknown to us, the guidebook says that you start in Trient, but a quick look at the map shows that it is much easier to ride the lifts at Le Tour and skin up from the top of the Col de Balme chairlift to the Col d'Autannes. The crux of the day may well have been surviving this section to be honest, as the temperature on the lifts was hovering around the level required for hell to freeze over! Being extremely tough mountain men, we barely noticed it though.

Once off the chairlift we skinned up towards the Col d'Autannes, and I was amazed by how much untouched powder there was above Le Tour, all waiting for anyone willing to skin for 20 or 30 minutes. The Col d'Autannes is quite a bit further than that, but I was once again taken aback at just how much terrain there is up there. There were quite a lot of tracks, but still masses of untouched powder, so I may well be back soon. 

Skinning up towards the Col d'Autannes, with Mont Blanc and Chamonix Valley behind

3 guys skiing below the Pointe des Berons (above the Col d'Autannes). Not sure I would have skied over the big blind roll that they did, but the snow looked good.

After a quick lunch stop on top of the Col, we climbed up to the Glacier des Grands, before traversing this to the top of the Pissoir. 

Looking back across the Glacier des Grands, with Mont Buet's N face looking in good condition behind.

Once at the top of the Couloir we were relieved to see that half a dozen or so people had already dropped in and made sure that it wasn't going to avalanche. It looked pretty solid but it's always nice when you don't have to go first.

Damo checking out the entrance

Having negotiated the steep entrance, the Couloir just goes on and on, and whilst the top section was almost perfect powder with the occasional wind crust, the lower section was completely perfect, mind blowing powder which took us all the way down to the Trient Valley. Here's the proof - 

Damo, taking it nice and slow as ever

 Peter shredding his new fat skis

Matt The Alpine Clown looking pretty rubbish, but the view of the Trient Glacier was nice so I stuck the photo in.

The best descent of the season so far? Certainly top 3 - this is a fantastic line, and although you need to make sure that it is safe avalanche wise (it's a pretty big funnel with a cliff underneath), if you get it in good condition it is mind blowing. I think I may well do it again this season, as I saw a video of people doing it in May and finding perfect spring snow and it looked awesome then too. 

So, 1200m of ascent today, 1400m yesterday, and Will Eaton is now back in town and psyched. This can only mean one thing - another mission tomorrow. My poor legs.