Pic De La Corne NW Couloir

Fleur: Dropping in off the summit

Location: Chablais Alps
Snow: 20cm powder, some slightly windpacked, some firm
Weather: Hazy cloud

Another fine weather day today and from the look of my Facebook feed a lot of friends have been out enjoying the conditions around the Chamonix Valley.  With the avalanche danger still high we fancied something a bit safer so we settled on the low-elevation NW couloir of the Pic de la Corne, apparently the biggest couloir in the Chablais region.

After parking uphill from St Jean d’Aulps near Morzine the ascent was about 1100m to the summit at 2084m on a nice interesting skin track.  Once reaching a ridgeline and minor summit we had to put the skis on our backs to downclimb, traverse then boot up to the summit on some tricky snow; I’d take an axe and/or crampons next time to make an easier job of it but it was doable without.

The couloir is about 40 degrees for the most part and 30-40m wide for 700-800m vertical.  A pair of skiers had dropped in before us so we knew that the entrance was a little steep on crunchy snow followed by slightly firm snow for the first two turns before things improved.  After this it was good boot-top powder with some slightly windpacked sections which we were on our guard for so we skied sensibly.

From the summit Graham had spotted a second untracked couloir branching to the right so we had a look in, seeing what looked like excellent snow on a slightly mellower gradient.  After some stability tests we all felt happy to ski it and a fine ski it was with good powder all the way down.  A lot of sluff was being produced as we skied but since our turns were longer, faster and more confident than above we easily stayed ahead of it before tucking into the side for safety.

Graham: Near the top of the couloir

Further down things opened up a little, the angles got mellower and the snow improved further so it was long fast turns the rest of the way for a very fun runout to rejoin the skin track home.  Celebratory panachés (thirsty work today) finished things off nicely in St Jean d’Aulps in the Scottish-run “Le National” pub with the comfiest sofas around, check it out.

Plenty of other options around these peaks so I’m looking forward to a return visit sometime.

Fleur: After exiting the couloirs

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

One Comment

  1. 515545392
    Posted on Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 04:35

    u guys getting it!!! keep the posts coming!

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