North-east couloir, Pointe de la Terrasse

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.

pointe de la terrasse topo

pointe de la terrasse north east couloir 8

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.

splitboarding chamonix
Adam on the skin track up past the Chalets de Loriaz
pointe de la terrasse north east couloir
Heading towards the top of the couloir
pointe de la terrasse north east couloir
Greg putting in the last few steps
pointe de la terrasse north east couloir
Greg opening up the steeper top section
pointe de la terrasse north east couloir
Olly skiing the top section

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.

pointe de la terrasse north east couloir 6
Adam ripping the middle section
pointe de la terrasse couloir nord est
Olly tucking into the good stuff
olly alkema skiing
More good snow on the lower slopes
olly alkema
All smiles on the walk down

Thanks to Adam and Greg for a great day. Not bad for a pre-season adventure!

 

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