For the past nine days I have been out skiing with Mountain Guide Graham Frost (www.frostguiding.co.uk) and Ric, Pete, Margarite, Charles, Sonia, Griff, John and Nic from the Eagles Ski Club. As I reported on the 21st April, we had a warm up day at Le Grand Montets ski area. The next day, we embarked on our hut to hut tour. The plan was to spend eight days ski touring between Chamonix and Zermatt. However, unlike most Haute Routes, our aim was to use no public transport and ski all the difficult sections. This version of the Haute Route requires great weather and good stable snow conditions.
The first day of our tour began with a descent of the Glacier des Rognon followed by the ascent of the Col du Chardonnet. From here most teams continue to the Trient Hut. We continued to the Plines Bivouac Hut which gives a stunning, quiet location to spend the night.
By continuing to this hut, it put us in the perfect position to ski the Col de la Grande Lui variation of the Haute Route. A 600 metre skin gives access to a 2000 metre descent into La Fouly. We timed this right and had some excellent spring snow on the descent. There was still snow all the way to the road so walking was not required.
Following our overnight stop we continued via the Val Ferret and the famous Col du Grand St. Bernard Monastery. Following some lunch in this very welcoming place we descended to the Plan du Jeu Hut. This day requires very stable snow as the ascent of the Val Ferret is severely threatend by avalanches. The next morning, from the Plan du Jeu Hut we made the steep ascent to the Col de Proxy and Montorge from where a spring snow descent gave access to the Valsorey valley.
From here the ascent was made to the Cabane du Velan. This hut sits in an amaxing location overlooking the Plateau du Couloir on the side of the Grand Combin, is very friendly and highly recommended. We had hoped to continue on to the Plateau the next day but very poor weather forced us to retreat to Bourg St Piere. Unfortunately, the weather has not improved over the last three days. However, we have made the most of our time by completing two more ski tours and one days lift served skiing. On Saturday we ascended the Tete de Balme from Le Tour before enjoying a nice descent. The ski area has been closed for a couple of weeks and therefore we had the area to ourselves. Following an early start on Sunday we travelled through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to the Val Ferret from where we skiied the Pas Entre Deux Sauts above the Bonatti Hut. Again, we did not see any other ski tourers on the hill.
Yesterday, was our final day skiing. We spent the day at a quiet Grand Montets using up the last of the energy we had left in our legs!