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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
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
skiing south toward Mont
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
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
Georges crossing a flat zone lower in the side-valley, with our ski tracks
Odile + Georges skiing out down the main valley back to the car