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TR Chourum de la Parza

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The "12 Month Challenge" is alive and well!!!

Despite work getting in the way big style this month, a ski descent was pulled out of the bag on the 31st August...

I had heard rumours of a 'legendary' cave that existed with a snowfield in the bottom of it which kept its snow all year round... the Chourum de la Parza.
Sitting in the Devoluy massif, South of Grenoble, the Chourum sees very occasional ski descents, mainly due to the difficulties in getting into it - 75m of abseiling to access it, followed by a climb back up the ropes to get out again!

Will testing out his 4x4 snadals:



Entrance to the Vallon de Truchiere:



Thar she blows! - The entry to the Chourum:



Don't forget some bolt hangers! - The top belay is rigged with bolts and nuts but no hangers - presumably to avoid casual users getting in over their heads?



25m down the top slabs, just the small matter of a 50m free-hanging abseil from here:



Luckily we had taken a 100m rope along with the 75, as the top of the snow was pulling away from the rock leaving a big, dark bergschrund - with 75s one person would probably need to stand holding the rope-ends at all times to avoid them drifting out of reach above the void!!

On top of the snow, looking back up the ropes:



Will starting the free-hanging abseil:



Almost down:



Will enjoying his first subterranean turns:



The snow was great - firm névé with a soft surface - after the first couple of metres which were covered in debris from above the surface was smooth & debris-free and with a steady angle of 35-40º perfect for skiing! After 80m or so the snow ran out onto a gentle area of rocks & dust; further exploration below the snow-line took us another 80m or so deeper into the cave, past quite a few bones (previous skiers?) to the cave bottom...

Will climbing up for another lap:



After a few laps of the 'indoor ski slope' we decided we should really think about getting out of there again...time for some suffering...50m jumaring up free-hanging ropes, in ski boots, with backpacks & skis hanging off the harness... enough to make anyone sweat. Will did a sterling job for his baptism into 'proper' rope climbing - good effort mate!

Will near the end of the big climb:



Almost back on dry land!:



Jumar:



Great views - the scenery was absolutely stunning - from the rocky peaks of the Obiou, to the Verdon-esque rock walls in the valley - and best of all - not a soul in sight!



Video to follow (as usual)...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well that is seriously different!!!

I think I'll stick to the Chill Factore for indoor skiing though - no headtorch required.

Someone else's trip:
http://www.hiboox.com/go/albums/nature-discovery/chourum-de-la-parza,65c0917f7816a197439dac0af222c3de


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 1-09-10 9:59; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
And people complain about a couple of hours on the motorway to get to MK/Hemel Smile
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
altis, Yep, that's one of the photo sets that inspired me to go... Glad to see their bags were about as big as ours... shoulders still sore today...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
That looks/sounds EPICALLY cool!!
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
offpisteskiing, good effort! TAY (turns all year) has been a goal of mine for a while but each year I manage to fail. Here's hoping that when I start back up again (in a month or so) I can keep pushing it.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
parlor, 4 months to go....
Need to come up with some interesting ideas for the autumn months...! (And need work to not get in the way - was a bit close to the bone for August!).
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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!
offpisteskiing, nice one, at least you had proper jumars, wouldn't fancy having to do that on a pair of prussics.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
offpisteskiing wrote:
... past quite a few bones (previous skiers?)
exhausted prussic users Madeye-Smiley

Another interesting TR, looking forward to the next one!
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