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Ski Touring Season is on

 Poster: A snowHead
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Family took a day off today (soft Scots), so dusted off the Skins and CountDown 107's and went up Mont Fort with the 3300 peak of Rosablanche in mind



Only one route down from Mont Fort!


2 hours later the sun was out and objective achieved!


Still some powder left on the north faces before the main course 🌽


Mont Fort backside


Worrying slide on the traverse to the lower skins on zone


Bec des Etagnes looking possible for later in the week?


Interesting conditions on the dam exit path!


Knackered and sunburnt after that but great to get an April ski tour in!
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@BobinCH, what do you mean by ski tour season is on ?

We tour all the season, powder or spring as and when conditions dictate.

Think I actually tour more days in a season that using the lifts rolling eyes

But there again we have to walk the dogs Toofy Grin



Loads more in the Serre thread http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=126874&start=240
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Very nice both!

How do you plan your route and know where you're going. I.e. Not end up with no way out, above cliffs etc? How are you assessing Avi risk before setting out and before skinning/skiing certain slopes?
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@capability, French maps have ski tour routes on them (long blue dashed lines), then I have local books, plus I also ski tour with the local Club Alpine and not withstanding that I've been in the area quite a while and have worked out variations as well as slack country*.

This time of year, it's all about Spring snow below 3,000m so it's about timing to get the snow just right, so early starts and off the mountain by early afternoon, depending on slope aspect, W/NW slopes you can descend early afternoon, though all does depend on overnight freeze.

For instance yesterday we will climb on hard snow (ice) and have to use ski crampons until it softens up a bit.

You see evidence of slides all around you, but these are late afternoon as rocks warm up and snow falls off and the starts a slide below as per the slide above, no big deal, but rule is to be off the mountain when things soften up.

*going off the back of the resort and then skiing down into a valley and then skinning back up into resort.
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@Weathercam, for most of us ski touring season starts in April hunting for 🌽. In Verbier lift served delivers the goods until then

@capability, 1) go with someone who knows and learn from them 2) Use the slf avi report. E.g. Yesterday due to cold bise wind overnight and some early cloud cover the transformation happened later than on previous days so it was still safe to ski sun affected faces later than usual. For the route down from Mont Fort, it's the most direct route and I had skied it before. But was prepared to hike back up and take the ski tourers classic route if there was no way through.
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Quote:

How do you plan your route and know where you're going.


Map/Google Earth. Guidebook. Talk to people. Take photos of things you intend to ski from all available angles and blow them up on a laptop.

The Rosablanche is a beaten track in the spring, partly as it is a nice day tour from Verbier/Siviez and partly as it is on the Verbier Haute Route. Route finding is therefore obvious unless you are the first (which you won't be as guided groups will leave the Mont Fort hut before you can get up through the lift system). Bob's variation down the SW face of the Mont Fort (a notorious local accident slope) is more difficult from a route finding perspective. There is an exit couloir that leads down to the traverse from the col de la Chaux. This is not difficult to find in good visibility but you do need to hit it bang on owing to the cliffs. I cannot remember whether I figured this one out for myself or whether I followed BobinCH down it.
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Weathercam wrote:

You see evidence of slides all around you, but these are late afternoon as rocks warm up and snow falls off and the starts a slide below as per the slide above, no big deal, but rule is to be off the mountain when things soften up.


Thanks! That's a useful tip, I'm always looking for a simple rule to figure out if it's safe or not. So you're saying if we keep clear of any slopes with rocks on we should be good to go? What sort of time are saying? Late afternoon being 5 or 6pm?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Late afternoon I think more like 2-3 pm, 5pm is very late.
For Switzerland you can view OS-equivalent maps with ski touring routes and also overlays for slope angles online and print them off all for free.
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Not too bad over in Tignes either. Saw just 7 other people on our trip to Col de La Grassaz:



Perfect spring snow on the way down:

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SnowPenguin wrote:
Late afternoon I think more like 2-3 pm, 5pm is very late.
For Switzerland you can view OS-equivalent maps with ski touring routes and also overlays for slope angles online and print them off all for free.


got it! And wethercam mentioned to just follow the lines on the map, I guess they avoid the rocks he was warning about.
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@BobinCH, I bow to your obvious ski touring experience rolling eyes

This was yesterday


http://youtube.com/v/FxVKp5dV65A


http://youtube.com/v/SBMqWbQbya8

Just looked at my Strava diary, and 32 ski tours / slack country this year, not too bad considering I've been off games for at least 4 weeks this season.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Wed 12-04-17 15:50; edited 1 time in total
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Most of the routes generally avoid slopes over 30 degree and I guess areas where there is higher risk. Also at least here I have found there is generally already a good skin track to follow for the way up.
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Weathercam wrote:
@BobinCH, I bow to your obvious ski touring experience rolling eyes


Why thank you. You must be smarter than you sound!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
At the risk of sounding like a killjoy......

milton9999 wrote:

Thanks! That's a useful tip, I'm always looking for a simple rule to figure out if it's safe or not.


There is no simple rule, there are a lot of factors to take into account.

milton9999 wrote:

So you're saying if we keep clear of any slopes with rocks on we should be good to go?


I would imagine he's not saying that.

milton9999 wrote:

What sort of time are saying? Late afternoon being 5 or 6pm?


The ideal is to be back down or at your hut for a late lunch. It depends on the weather and conditions but 2/3pm.

Milton, where are you based? Can you go out with a local who knows the area? Get them to show you the easy intro routes and you can build experience through them. If not, there are loads of guidebooks and textbooks out there to help you get started. I'm assuming you already know the basics of skiing, dealing with skiing on a glacier, avalanche rescue, assessing snow conditions etc......


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Thu 13-04-17 10:56; edited 1 time in total
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Weathercam wrote:
@BobinCH, I bow to your obvious ski touring experience rolling eyes


Why is there never a yawn emoticon when you need it?
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 Poster: A snowHead
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galpinos wrote:
At the risk of sounding like a killjoy......

milton9999 wrote:

Thanks! That's a useful tip, I'm always looking for a simple rule to figure out if it's safe or not.


There is no simple rule, there are a lot of factors to take into account.

milton9999 wrote:

So you're saying if we keep clear of any slopes with rocks on we should be good to go?


I would imagine he's not saying that.


pretty sure he is.

galpinos wrote:
I'm assuming you already know the basics of skiing, dealing with skiing on a glacier, avalanche rescue, assessing snow conditions etc......


Just the bits I've picked up from work really.
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Werthercam wrote:
plus I also ski tour with the local Club Alpine and not withstanding that I've been in the area quite a while and have worked out variations as well as slack country*.


*going off the back of the resort and then skiing down into a valley and then skinning back up into resort.



C’est totally vrai.

Bonjour, c'est moi, Jean-Claude Poisson. Je suis le chef des étrangers accueillants et light entertainment pour le club alpin français. On connaît bien M. Weathercam, ou M. Meteospanner en français. Nous like to avoir les membres anglais et nous aimons les anglais, Bobby Charlton, Maggie Thatcher, Frank Spencer, Mr Spanner, Mr Blobby, Crumpets, Rôti etc. Nous aimons l'humour anglais et nous share beaucoup de jokes avec Mr Spanner. Les catch-phrases are very drôles, we ne les avons pas en français. "Je suis meilleur que vous", "Mon mate est un guide", "avez-vous vu ma strava" très hysterical! Il est dry, car je think que vous say en anglais, non? Nous make de many trips amusants dans les montagnes, M. Spanner fait une démonstration de la technique correcte et nous pratiquons. C'est très difficile et c'est tout nouveau pour notre club, mais, comme l'a dit M. Pimplemouse au magasin de sport «Nous avons vu que vous venez», il est temps de faire une mise à jour.

in a tent, cordially

J-C
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Wow. Nice photos to weirdo feuding in 16 posts. Is this some kind of record?
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@gorilla, no, but it's Laughing Laughing Laughing
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milton9999 wrote:
galpinos wrote:


milton9999 wrote:

So you're saying if we keep clear of any slopes with rocks on we should be good to go?


I would imagine he's not saying that.


pretty sure he is.



I'm still pretty sure he's not. Avalanches can be caused by lots of things, one of the causes of late afternoon slides is due to rock heating up, the snow on top of it slipping, hitting the slope below and triggering a slide. A slope at the exact elevation and aspect, without the cliffs above, might have been triggered by the additional weight of a skier, steeper slopes with a different aspect might just go in the afternoon sun, the scenario of a rock-free slope being automatically safe is farcical.

There are plenty of low risk tours about, you see plenty of old french dudes wandering up stuff without a care in the world, or any avalanche kit but it's worth getting to understand snow. Read Bruce Tremper's book, ask friends, go on a course, read the avalanche bulletins in conjunction with the weather reports, get an idea of what the snowpack is like and why, get out there and dig pits to see for yourself the layers in the snow - fundamentally, get yourself educated, it's an interesting topic to learn about and it might well come in handy!
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^^Just to be pedantic, my understanding is that it's more likely to be dark rocks warming up and conducting that heat into the snow pack (which due to its high albedo would otherwise reflect rather than absorb sunlight), that causes a slope to slide. Not snow falling off the top and the impact triggering something.
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milton9999 wrote:


galpinos wrote:
I'm assuming you already know the basics of skiing, dealing with skiing on a glacier, avalanche rescue, assessing snow conditions etc......


Just the bits I've picked up from work really.


And your work is?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@clarky999, Just had to google albedo!

The scenario I thought was being discussed is a slope with cliffs/rocks above it. The snow above the cliffs warms, due the the low albedo (get me) of the rocks, slides and lands on the slope below. This either just buries whatever was on that slope or sometimes, triggers that slope to go as well. It all depends on slope, aspect etc of the various slopes. This something I'm wary of when spring touring one you get lower as thought he slope you are on may be safe, the slope above the cliffs above you may be loaded and ready to slide.

I may well have got the wrong end of the stick though, I often do, and I'll bow to your greater knowledge as you seem to be out there actually doing it compared to me who's now but a desk jockey and holiday punter.
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@clarky999, is correct in what I was alluding to, and as had been mentioned of course there are other scenarios and a lot is relevant to overnight FL's.

Interesting today in that I went for a usual slack country (E facing) descent (11:30) and snow was patchy, amazing how it has gone in the past week Sad

Whilst climbing back up thought that a W/NW slope could be worth a go that I've done before.

Knew it would take me a good hour plus to climb up from where I was, then ski down, get lifts and then climb up again to a point to drop in.

So hopefully snow would have transformed nicely circa 13:00. And as ever a video paints loads of words Cool

Reason for fat skis was more for the slush fields that I had to ski back down after 14:30 with nigh on deserted pistes as the going was so turgid.


http://youtube.com/v/A-9NBRXRRno
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Chamcham wrote:
milton9999 wrote:


galpinos wrote:
I'm assuming you already know the basics of skiing, dealing with skiing on a glacier, avalanche rescue, assessing snow conditions etc......


Just the bits I've picked up from work really.


And your work is?


drone operator to film weathercams trips when it's just too dangerous to send a crew
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galpinos wrote:


The scenario I thought was being discussed is a slope with cliffs/rocks above it. The snow above the cliffs warms, due the the low albedo (get me) of the rocks, slides and lands on the slope below. This either just buries whatever was on that slope or sometimes, triggers that slope to go as well. It all depends on slope, aspect etc of the various slopes. This something I'm wary of when spring touring one you get lower as thought he slope you are on may be safe, the slope above the cliffs above you may be loaded and ready to slide.



For sure, can and does happen! It's also fairly common that (around 10/11ish when it starts getting really warm) snow will start hissing down from any rock wall. I think it would be fair to say that's more of a specific circumstance though, partly 'cos snow doesn't tend to accumulate so well on those steeper walls, and maybe partly because of the continual warming of the rock? So once it goes, it's gone (the sort of hazard that might get cleared in one intense cycle at the beginning of the thaw).

Whereas I'd say wet snow point releases are a general hazard on pretty much every warm day. For example, in this photo (which I randomly found on google), note how each slide has started from a tiny bit of rock, then fanned out down the slope. That's the sort of thing that can keep happening over and over.



Quote:
I may well have got the wrong end of the stick though, I often do, and I'll bow to your greater knowledge as you seem to be out there actually doing it compared to me who's now but a desk jockey and holiday punter.


What we need is an actual expert like Davidoff to come tell us we're both wrong wink Unfortunately I've been back in the UK for over a month now so have missed out on most of the spring skiing this year. Looking forward to getting back out in a couple of weeks!
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@milton9999, Interesting job. what else do you do?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Snow next week!
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Chamcham wrote:
@milton9999, Interesting job. what else do you do?


fulltime job, over 10 freaking awesome days every week. It'll be on a new dedicated digital channel UK AWESOME and UK AWESOME GOLD

sadly our fleet our drones have become self aware, more so than the talent, so they've unionized and refused to follow for their own safety.
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[b]BobinCH[\b] in reply to your OP, yes it certainly is! This is last week in South Wales. Powder all the way to the sea. Unbelievable.

Joking aside it looks like you found some good stuff...a month ago it was high summer in the Vanoise!
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@milton9999, Awesome. I'm in awe. Gold. Smile
Are your channels available on freeview?
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PS. pmsl Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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@jcpoisson, you're my hero bro 👊
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@Sharkymark, that's fabulous. Chapeau!

We've got our eye on Bec des Rosses tomorrow...
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@Charliebigpotatoes, Can you translate what he said, for those of us who don't speak Franglais?
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@BobinCH, nice photos, looks like a good day!
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@BobinCH, yes it's amazing just how good Barry Island can look with a little dusting Wink

Becs des Rosses? No sir, chapeau to you! Are you going full send?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Tempting....

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Looking forward to the report on this one Smile
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Chamcham wrote:
@milton9999, Awesome. I'm in awe. Gold. Smile
Are your channels available on freeview?


sure thing dude, here's a rough cut:

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=A-9NBRXRRno&video_start=0&audio=MK6TXMsvgQg&audio_start=0
http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=A-9NBRXRRno&video_start=0&audio=MK6TXMsvgQg&audio_start=0
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