Sunday, January 27, 2013

Col des Chasseurs (via Col de la Cicle)


A beautiful tour organized by Phillipe Dilloard of the French Alpine Club, Chamonix chapter. It is a tour that starts from Notre Dame de la Gorge, goes on to the pass at la Cicle then immediately to the south some mixed climbing (crampons required depending on conditions), then a beautiful traverse to Col des Chasseurs ending with a 40 degrees some north facing 2000 foot shot. All this is set in an impressive environment with magnificent ridge views on both the Beaufortin side as well as the Mont Blanc.

Topo map: 3531OT (French IGN reference) 
Starting elevation: 4,000
Highest elevation: 8,300
Elevation difference: 4,300
Total elevation gain: 5,200 (lots of up and down from Col de la Cicle to Col des Chasseurs)
Dominating aspect: North (for the descent couloir)

Access by car:
Drive through the village Le Fayet, continue up to Saint Gervais (the “other” normal route to the Mont Blanc summit) and drive till de very end of this valley and park on the last public parking lot at Notre Dame de la Gorge (about 200 yards before the church).

Trail access:
Start skinning right off the parking lot. Cross the Nordic ski trail’s bridge and take a right onto the flat wide trail, continue straight ahead and leave the Gothic church on your right. Here is where the “Voie Romaine” (roman path, yes its 2000 some years old…) gets you started on your up climb.

Here are some pictures taken yesterday as well as a link to “the movie”:
The traverse: Up to Col de la Cicle, climb up due south  then skin
across to Col des Chasseurs
Col des Chasseurs - The movie filmed and produced by our Film
Director extraordinaire: Jean-Charles Granet (also of the French
Alpine Club, Chamonix chapter).
To view the video click here then scroll down.
Francois, Philippe and Jean-Charles on break with nicely snowed in chalets in the background.
Minor mixed climbing but falling back remains a bad idea...
View towards the Beaufortin side...
...and towards the Mont Blanc side
After the effort - the reward: The slope down from the Col des Chasseurs with
 the Saint Gervais valley in the distance. The slope itself is about 2,000 feet
 but from here to the parking lot you're dropping 4,300

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