Friday 27 March 2015

Pointe Alphonse Favre, West couloir

We've had a funny weather week here in Cham, with the forecasts constantly predicting a big snowfall that never quite seems to have come. However, there has been drizzle on and off and Matt and I figured that we could find some good skiing if we avoided the crowds and found something sheltered. 

Having noticed the stunning looking line of the Pointe Alphonse Favre west couloir a while back, it had long been on the to-do list and today was the day. The weather was due to improve throughout the day so we didn't even get on the Flegere lift until 10.45 but knew we'd still be fine for time.

Not an ideal start at the Col Crochues, which was cloaked in mist.


That'll do!

Matt booting up to the Pointe Alphonse Favre on the standard approach for the Glacier Mort and NW Couloir.

Final steps to the top. The line begins where the standard Glacier Mort bootpack hits the ridge.

Boom!! The couloir looked awesome from the top and didn't disappoint.

My favourite view.

The couloir turned out to be fantastic, with a thin layer of fresh snow on a firm, consistent base.

 Me in the upper couloir. Photos Matt Livingstone.

Matt giving it beans in the lower couloir.

The line. The Col Berard is in the bottom left of the picture.

With motivation still high, we carried on down below the Col de Berard and then skinned up to the Breche de Berard.

Matt booting the final section to the Breche.

Our efforts were rewarded with another superb ski down a surprisingly quiet Berard Valley, which held plenty of decent powder, most of which was untouched. The final track out was fine too and we only walked for about 50 metres near the end.

Matt enjoying more cold smoke in the Berard Valley.

Needless to say, one of the best ski days I've had for ages was capped with a pint in Le Buet, followed by one in Les Houches. Good times.

The west couloir really should see a lot more traffic and it seems strange that the Glacier Mort was really tracked out, yet everyone who'd skied it must have walked past our line. Management speak brings me out in a rash but it's hard to avoid the old "thinking outside the box" line here :)