Sunday, March 10, 2013

No name couloir of Mont Fréty (Italy)

A compromise tour due to bad weather conditions up high: The original idea was to cross from Chamonix to Italy via the Glacier de Toule but the weather wouldn’t have it.  So we did a smallerv tour starting at La Palud in Italy and skinned up the 3,000 some feet to Mont Fréty to ski the partially gnarly couloirs off of the “Pavillion”. The pictures below were taken during the rare fog breaks so they are kinda overselling the conditions that day as most of the time visibility was quite limited. However once we were on top things thankfully cleared up nicely enough to allow us down this cork-screw entrance of a 55° couloir (first 500 or so feet) that eventually mellowed out to 45° (amazing how mellow 45 can feeel...) after whivch most of it is 40°. Absolutely worth while ski, exciting and epic surroundings, and I can’t wait to get back there.

Topo map: 3560OT Chamonix (French IGN reference) this one covers only a tiny part of our tour and I still don’t know the Italian topo references.
Dominating aspect: NE
Starting elevation: 3,900
Highest elevation: 7,400
Elevation difference: 4,550

Access by car:
Drive towards Chamonix and at the first rotary take a right towards the Mont Blanc tunnel (make sure to ask for a round trip ticket). After coming out on the Italian side drive down a coupled of switch backs and take a left towards La Palud. Park at the second parking lot after the La Palud tram base. Looking up the mountain with the parking lot behind you, cross the road and veer right. Put your skis on the obvious snowfield and start going uphill.

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

Our starting point

After missing our start and getting lost boot-packing around with our skis, we
got back on top. This is  the village of La Palud
Looking down to the east is the Italian Val Ferret wich
offers some nice touring choices.
Looking down to the west is the Val Veny which offers endless & epic touring.
Courmayeur in the Val d'Aoste
Jean Claude working in the fog...
After the effort a rewarding lunch at the "Refugio".
Leaving the refugio behind here is a view of the Auiguille Noire du Puterey.
This area is full of classic and epic climbing routes favored by the alpinists.
The mellow part of our No-name couloir, in the higher parts
I was too busy surviving to get my camera out...
Took this one for the ambiance and the characteristic gendarme
JC fighting his way down the couloir...
Our line down no-name

Two couloirs to the right of "ours" I got this shot all the way up to Punta Helbronner
We saw this one from above, this could be our next objective in the area.
View of Dent de Jetoula

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