Les Courtes: North east face

Fergus and I headed into the Argentiere basin at a leisurely pace with no real plan and ended up on les Courtes’ north east slope, an 800m long classic steep line that sits at just over 45°.

Les Courtes North East
Les Courtes North East slope


After a bit of faff on my part at the bottom (I let my ski slip down the slope when transitioning to crampons, but luckily it flew straight at a guy coming up below us who caught it) we set off up the boot pack just after midday. Climbing up was straight forward enough, the boot pack was well trodden bar a few spots where the snow cover was thin and we could feel the ice below. 800m is a long way and we could soon feel the steepness and exposure on the higher slopes.

We’d made good progress and had the top in sight, however it didn’t look appealing, the snow was icy and the sun was dipping behind the summit so we transitioned a little below the top to avoid skiing down in re-freezing snow.

les courtes north east
Fergus on the way up
les courtes north east
Fergus on the way down
les courtes north east
Fergus skiing
les courtes north east olly alkema
Olly on the descent
les courtes north east
Fergus coming in hot

We skied a mixture of nice soft powder, hard pack snow, ice and sluff on the descent. All in all an epic descent and one to come back to in deeper snow.

Fergus kept up his tradition of taking terrible blurry photos of me skiing, cheers mate, so here’s a short video of the descent from my point of view.




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