A Wee Tour

Jonny: Creamy smooth snow off the Col des Crochues

Location: Aiguilles Rouges
Snow: 20cm powder
Weather: Bluebird, cold in the shade

The first bluebird day after the recent snowfalls and time for a quick tour in the Rouges on the classic Crochues-Berard traverse.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s the most popular tour in the Chamonix Valley for a reason, it’s easy, safe and fun!

Starting the skin to the Crochues around 10.15am there was a fair bit of traffic in front and behind us but everyone was happy, chatty and in no rush to overtake others.  There is an old avalanche crown line at the usual start of the bootpack section and a rock step needs to be climbed, tricky even for me at 6ft4 but everyone managed OK.  Off the col, not quite perfect dry powder but lovely and smooth, and an easy traverse around under Glacier du Mort.

A quick transition let us skip ahead of a large Scandi group ahead of us and up at the Col de Berard looking down the Berard Valley there were less tracks than I had expected; a traverse to the right got us to a large untouched section of snow for long high-speed turns, amazing stuff.  The next mellower section was as fun as I’d ever skied it, flat-out from everyone, and another untracked gully got us to the Berard Valley exit.

The exit had more snow cover than any time last year but still a few little uphills to tackle on the track that was set.  A higher right track might be a good idea next time.  Trains home from Le Buet are running at 41 minutes past the hour; we had time for a 15 minute beer or an hour 15 for a few.  We chose the latter.

A few route observations from today:

  • Keyhole (Breche de Berard): Skin track visible to the ridge with a few people on it
  • Glacier du Mort: Unskied
  • Col de Berard: Unskied
  • Col de Beaugeant: Unskied I think (couldn’t see the col but no exit tracks)
  • Mont Buet: Skin track up the normal route and a few tracks coming back down

Fleur: Really nice snow before the Berard Valley exit

Got a comment, question, or your own report from elsewhere in the Chamonix valley? Leave a comment below (Facebook login required).

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