January 2009- Aiguille de L’eboulement 3599m South Couloir (D 40°-45°)

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Ski, tour

This was our first tour on glaciated terrain of the season and, for so early in the year, everything was very well filled in. Brendan, Ed and I set off from the Aiguille du Midi in the afternoon and skied down the “Vraie” Vallee Blanche. As we neared the bottom we turned right and headed up the Leschaux Glacier. A short way up on the left, set above the glacier hidden in the rocks, is the Leschaux hut. This unguardianed, compact hut was where we were heading and where we would spend the night. There are normally ladders used to access the hut but due to the large amount of snow fall and low temperatures these were mostly deep under ice falls! As we only had light weight touring gear and one axe each this made the climb up very interesting. Using a series of gullies and sketchy exposed traverses we got to the hut and dug out the entrance. It was a cold night (approx. -20°C) and we had not brought sleeping bags to save ourselves the weight and space. Luckily for us the hut was quiet so we had access to plenty of blankets. In the morning we set off down the way we had come back to the glacier and stashed all of our over night gear for collection later. In the deep snow breaking trail up to the bottom of the couloir seemed long and tiring and Brendan was sinking even deeper through our skin track with his snow shoes. The couloir its self is quite long and looks impressive from the bottom althought it is not very steep for the most part, as seen below.

 The snow up to the couloir had been soft powder the whole way, however once in the couloir there was a crust which we were breaking through thigh deep with every step. Once at the top it was extremely cold and we set off as quickly as possible. The very top of the couloir was a little rocky and we made a some turns on the 50° top few meters before side slipping for 10m through a narrow rocky section. After this the sking in the couloir is easy and although not breaking through the crust fully the sking was enjoyable and good jump turn practice. Once out the bottom the snow was deep and perfect and we had a great ski back down to Chamonix.

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  1. […] January 2009- Aiguille de L’eboulement 3599m South Couloir (D 40°-45°) « Exploring the Mountain… […]

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