Friday March 22, 2013
This is one of those really scenic
tours that also offer some fantastic powder and steep skiing.
Between the dramatic rock features, the seracs and infinite snow fields this is the kind of day where I have to pinch myself…
Today Philippe and I decided to tackle the Épée du Tacul. You start off by taking my favorite center-of-the-universe-tram to the top of the Aiguille du Midi. This takes you
feet up in no time and you get to start your day at 12,600 feet. It all started in the clouds today and we got worried about visibilty but the day cleared up when and as we needed it to. We skied down
the Glacier du Géant via “Petit Envers” all the way down to “ à Manger” (the
dining room) on the glacier du Géant. This involves some really nice skiing
between crevasses and seracs with some of it on rather steep terrain. By the
time you’re at the Salle à Manger you have dropped in excess of la Salle 6,000 feet and you
haven’t even put your skins on yet!
At the Salle à Manger you ski across the Glacier du Géant till you reach the bottom of the Glacier des Périades at about
6,000 feet or so you get
your skins on. You head south east on the glacier while trying to veer left
enough to avoid the potential serac falls. After gaining about 2,000 feet you take a
sharp left to head north east and gain another 1,000 feet and some till
you’re at the bergschrund. From here you ski down in an arc that takes you
first south west and then
for some really fun skiing some of which is a bit over 45° in some shorter
sections while the most part is 35 – 40°. You lap this a couple of times till
you can’t do it anymore (or it’s getting to late to catch the Montenvers cog
train) and you finish off with a 4,000 ski out on the Vallée Blanche. To my
knowledge, there are not a whole lot of better ways to spend a day. north west
Topo map: 3630OT (
Dominating aspect: NW
Starting elevation: 12,600 (Aig. Du Midi)
Elevation where you put on the skins:
Elevation gain to the pass:
|View down the Petit Envers slopes, its all quite tasty and its all |
before you even put on your skins.
|More nice slopes as long as you keep out of those pesky crevasses. The |
ones we see here are not the ones we worry about, it's the ones
you can't see that'll get you...
|Skiing around the seracs ads to the ambiance.|
|These are here just because...|
|OK, I'll quit the serac pictures now...|
|Dent du Géant (tooth of the giant) peeking through the clouds.|
|Looking back down our skin up to the Epee a rescue operation for a guy who |
fell into a fairly deep crevasse. The chopper landed four times...
|Philippe working his way up the Glacier des Piérades.|
|Halfway up view of the Dent du Géant (4013m) to the right and Aiguille de |
Rochefort (4001m) to the right with Glacier de s Piérades in between
|Of the three features here l'Epée du Tacul (épée is sword) is the middle one, |
the lower one is Chandelle (candle) du Tacul and the high one is Aiguille
du Tacul. After this it was all skiing so no more pictures...