With the ski season not officially open until mid-December here in Chamonix, everything is a bit…. slow.
The ski lifts are closed and the high street is empty. The sun manages to get above the high peaks for just a few hours each day. Most restaurants are ferme until the crowds arrive.
But I like this time of year although the short days and dark nights can take their toll. Gone are those long summer days spent rock climbing in the baking sun.
Winter arrived last week with a big snowfall especially over 2000m across the Alps. Anyone who wishes to ski must earn their turns on foot from the valley for now.
Our mission was the north east couloir of the Pointe de la Terrasse. The couloir is reached by walking up the trail from Le Couteray or Vallorcine to the Chalets de Loriaz, then continuing up towards the col de la Terrasse, heading up the couloir on the left side towards the pylon. The total ascent is around 1300m.
The trail up to the Chalets de Loriaz had to be walked mostly on foot with skis slung over our shoulders. On reaching the plateau where the Chalets de Loriaz lie, we had our skis on and continued uphill in the baking sun. It was really hot by now and our pace was average.
It was clear that we were the first ones to come up here this winter. The snow was really good. Soft, cold powder was our reward for the big slog up to this line.
Thanks to Adam and Greg for a great day. Not bad for a pre-season adventure!