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Eric + Craig in the Vanoise

After a few days touring with me, they decided to get out on their own, and started into it "American style": driving their car to the skiing. Then switched to "Euro style" and slept in a hut (Refuge Felix Faure). Next day they climbed the Grande Casse, highest peak in the Vanoise -- and skied its west side glacier: big ski run on a big peak. Following day they stayed around and did something completely different: navigating out on the big (mostly moderate) glaciers of Vanoise national park. Then back down to the car.

Glacier des Grands Couloirs, with a long section at least 40 degrees steep -- on the West side of the Grande Casse (3855m), visible all over the northern French Alps

Skiers and descent tracks, a bit after noon. Main summit is behind left, the snowy knob on right is Pointe Matthews.

after a second night sleeping at the Refuge Felix Faure (low center) at the Col de la Vanoise, Eric + Craig spent a day exploring out beyond it on the big wide glaciers up to Col de Chasseforet (high right).

Rock on left side of glacier is Pointe de la Rechasse (3212m). Rocky ridge above middle glacier section is Mont Pelve (3261m) with Dome de Chasseforet (3586m) on horizon just above, and Dome des Nants (3570m) is the little snow nub on horizon to its right. Rock knob below it is the Pointe du Dard (3206m)

skiing south toward Mont Pelve (3162m)

looking east to (I think?) the shaded northwest face of snowy Pointe de la Sana (3436m) behind the rocks of Pointes du Pierre Brune (3196m)

north to dark rocks of the Pointe de la Grande Gliere (3392m) and Petite Gliere (3317m).  Beyond left center is Mont Blanc, and beyond far right, Mont Pourri. The snow pass in the shade between the Gliere rocks is the Col de la Gliere (3162m), and the partly sunny slope lower (below Mont Blanc) is a ski tour to that Col . . .

Georges + Odile + Ken ski Col Sud de la Gliere

Same day Craig + Eric were on the Grande Casse, we chose a shorter more moderate tour very close to it. Interesting rock-lined valley with some big bends, with steeper and gentler sections, and some big views higher up.

plenty of French backcountry skiers know about this area and have a similar idea about when to start the tour. On the right side of the main valley is the Aiguille de la Vanoise.

higher in the main valley east toward the Col de la Grande Casse, with the peak of the Grande Casse to the right -- but we turned left into a side valley long before we reached that Col.

Odile climbing out of the main valley, with the Aiguille de Peclet beyond -- a backcountry area above the giant "Les Trois Vallees" lift-served downhill ski stations.

Georges and another skier getting thru one of the interesting sections in the side-valley of our route. Higher this valley turns sharp right . . .

and opens up, then the Col de la Gliere (3152m) is hidden around the corner left

Odile + Georges descending, with the main valley down in the shadow of the north wall of the Aiguille de la Vanoise -- and the Vanoise glaciers above beyond

Georges crossing a flat zone lower in the side-valley, with our ski tracks above

Odile + Georges skiing out down the main valley back to the car

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