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La Grave to Chamonix traverse - live TR

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Our annual La Grave trip, cancelled in 2021 for pandemic reasons, was back on this year. But the snow did not cooperate.

So our guide suggested instead that we should do a traverse from La Grave to Chamonix. In terms of skiing, we’re probably doing a lot more than one
does on the Haute Route - on the other hand we like being comfortable so we’re sleeping in hotels in the valleys, rather than in mountain huts.

So here’s a near-live TR. We carry everything in our packs so all our photos are taken with our phones.

Day 1: warm-up in Alpe d’Huez:



Our guide is showing the way at the back of Pic Blanc:



The best snow is definitely on the upper slopes:



This guided ski route-finding is not all it’s cracked* up
to be:

(*see what I did there?)


But there’s some great skiing to be had - this bit is on the Vaujany side
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Looks likely to be a fun trip - going to enjoy following it. Thanks, Horizon!
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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?
horizon wrote:

So our guide suggested instead that we should do a traverse from La Grave to Chamonix.


Enjoy!
Very jealous

That route seems to be a cult classic among La Grave locals.
Know a Swedish couple who skied it a few years ago and rated it highly.
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@horizon, very nice!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Day 2 - the start of the traverse - La Grave to Valloire

Spoiler: great snow!

We start skinning from Col du Lautaret, past Pic Blanc, doing the tour of the Trois Évêchés. Total time four hours (we’re not fast), including three five-minute stops.


Here we are nearly at the top


On the catwalk


The crew on the ridge


Powdeeer!


Here I am enjoying it


We skied all this valley entirely alone, and there were another 300m of vertical to go below this


Didn’t see chamois but as we sat down for a well-deserved beer in Valloire, we were watched over by the local fauna
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Brilliant! Thanks for posting.

I look forward to the next instalments Very Happy .
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
horizon wrote:
Day 2 - the start of the traverse - La Grave to Valloire....
...We start skinning from Col du Lautaret, past Pic Blanc, doing the tour of the Trois Évêchés. Total time four hours (we’re not fast), including three five-minute stops.....


You're not joking Laughing

That's one of our favourite sectors, though we don't go over the ridge and down to Valloire, sounds like your guide must have some good logistics worked out!

And sounds like a good adventure!

The bowl you've skied I've done a couple of times and you can then skin back-up to the right and then drop down towards Les Hierres above La Grave.

I've been up there twice this season and scored reasonable soft-snow, though we're planning Thursday, hoping for Spring snow on the way back down like this trip up there, before the second lock-down last season.

This is the route to that ridge to then drop down.

https://www.strava.com/activities/5030471232


http://youtube.com/v/1xqiurUSw6E
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Great stuff - keep posting!
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Oh yes
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Hello
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Day 3 - Orelle to Pralognan

(I’m still a day behind, this was Monday)

After a taxi from Valloire deposited us in Orelle, we started by crossing the Val Thorens ski area. The Col skilift is closed due to the permafrost moving below the top pylon, so we started skinning on piste, and the turned left to skin and then climb up thr Glacier de Gebroulaz:


Walking up


At the top


The all-important prosternation before the glacier


I’m having fun in a couloir



Richard finds good snow


Arno loves this wide open face


So does Arnaud (confusing, I know)


Our guide passes in a cloud of snow


We finish with beers at Refuge du Roc de la Peche


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 8-03-22 18:35; edited 1 time in total
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Beauty snowHead
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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
Wow. One day.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
mon dieu! Very Happy
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Vicarious gnarl. The only sort I'm gonna get. snowHead
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Poster: A snowHead
Excellent pics. Almost feel I am there!
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Fantastic. Great pics!
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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?
I never got to continue this TR during our week out there as we were too busy drinking beers, washing socks and chilling out in the evenings.

Day 4: (Pralognan) => Champagny to Villaroger (=>Seez)

Here are a couple pics of the only day we didn't tour - but at least we found a funky lift:




The face we skied (Petite Face, on North of Bellecote) was pretty good (though this photo is taken the next morning):




The exit path was fun:




That night we ended up in a youth hostel in Seez...well I say youth, but we ended up decreasing the average age there, and we're no spring chickens. Very nice group of older singles who let us have of their apple crumble (no pics, sorry).
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err, on the mobile site the images seem to be just below the captions...on my laptop browser, less so. Apologies if you get the same issue!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Day 5: (Seez) Ste Foy => La Rosiere - La Thuile - Courmayeur

I’ll continue this TR, although it’s now over a week late - but some of the coolest pics are yet to come!

This was a day with some unexpected lines of great snow, with my best turns and also probably longest distance on skis.

After a taxi from Seez to Sainte Foy, we tour up (after a few chairs) to find this beautiful face waiting for us (spot Richard, very small in the centre, looking like a rockstar skier):



Then again, this is also Richard - how does the lightest of us fall in a hole on the traverse?



After this we go touring again, to a place called Champ du Tir - and yes we heard shots! But this doesn’t stop our guide and Irbis looking silly:



Some good snow on the other side, Richard again, I know, boring…



… so here’s Paul on the catwalk:



No pics from La Rosiere - La Thuile as we just traversed the domain really quickly using the lifts and pistes. Then we nearly met a bunch of snowheads on the Gnarlibug, but apparently they had to tend to an injured Rabbit and we had to get a bus to Courmayeur. We finish the day at the Maison de Filippo, where they feed us very very well, although their order taking skills could be improved “allora, six Valdostana and a fish? Ah no? Four Valdostana only? One ham and…?”

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Rad tour and TR!
Posting my appreciation
... and look forward to seeing the last day.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Haggis_Trap wrote:
Rad tour and TR!
Posting my appreciation
... and look forward to seeing the last day.


Thanks! I'll aim to post more tonight. As it happens there's more than one day left, as we spent an extra two days around Chamonix and there are some good photos from those!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Inboard, @under a new name, @Bergmeister, @Weathercam, @jedster, @Mike Pow, @Layne, @BobinCH, @sbooker, @dbeatski, @pam w, @achilles, @Kimski44, many thanks for the comments, sorry for the late reply and I hope you enjoy the remaining days.

I have no idea why the photos bunch up randomly, at least on my laptop browser - sorry (still ok on mobile). Hopefully the story can be followed anyway.
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Brilliant trip. Thanks for sharing. Very jealous
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@iainm, thank you!

Late again, here's Day 6 of the trip (Day 5 and last of the traverse): Courmayeur to Chamonix


The Skyway Monte Bianco cable car in Courmayeur is pretty swanky but the views once you get up are unbeatable:














Some crevasses ahead: check out the black dots, ie people towards the bottom of the shot, for scale:













So we rope in:


















Pierre rules the mountain:












The glacier is fantastic:











Definitely needs a spot of colour, though:












Last tour of the day:












...and irbis shows us how to ski the last line:







We finally made it to our destination!




The End...

...not really, two bonus days to come!
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horizon wrote:

Definitely needs a spot of colour, though:




It’s all about the yellow Cool
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@BobinCH, Toofy Grin Laughing
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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
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
@horizon, @BobinCH getting close to summing up the term 'bag of skittles steeze' in one photo right there (though I think we have some Lofoten photos that might challenge...!) Happy
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You know it makes sense.
@horizon, wonderful!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Wow! Just wow!
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@offpisteskiing, great to have met you for a beer!

@Hurtle, @pam w, thank you! I've been rather ill yesterday but will try to put up the photos from the last two days this evening.
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This is great! how far are you traveling each day in terms of vert and total km?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kat.ryb, the biggest human powered uphill was about 1000m (on one of the add on days in Chamonix) so nothing crazy. One day was fully lift served - when we crossed from Champagny to Vilaroger. The longest distance covered was probably Orelle to Pralognan but, again, not a huge amount of that was human powered uphill.

I’d say the most physically challenging of the actual traverse was the first day because that was all human powered. I would say that it was quite a physically challenging trip but I wasn’t in the best shape (and I’m not the fittest even when I’m in good shape for me) and it wasn’t too hard. Some of its quite high altitude (eg Glacier Gebroulaz) so depends a bit how you handle that
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Jealous snowHead snowHead snowHead
Very nice pics!
What’s the average day’s effort in terms of altitude gain, etc?
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@mooney058, see above. You could actually do it with no more that an hour or so’s uphill if you took a slightly different route. You can use the lifts at Alpe d’Huez to get into the Maurienne valley. From Pic Blanc you go over Pic Bayle (maybe an hour) then through the Col de Quirlie (?sp) then ski down to St Sorlin. Similarly, from Orelle you could just use the 3 Valleys lifts to get over to Courchevel 1300. We did slightly more challenging variations because it suited the group
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Interesting TR thanks.

I wouldn't do this route as it is not that logical (for me) as you are crossing some deep valleys in a S->N direction which means not much snow. La Grave -> Turin or La Grave -> Grenoble makes more sense as once you reach the snowline you can stay high, just dropping down to find somewhere to sleep or even using refuge. Actually Grenoble -> Turin is a good tour along the high alpine ridge plus great pizzas at the end.

but yes, touring over to the home of alpinism has a certain ring to it.
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Thanks @Arno, appreciated. For newbies like me this sounds super interesting and encouraging
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@davidof, it’s certainly not a purist’s route so you have some taxi rides across the valleys. The S>N direction was an advantage this year because we tended to be skiing downhill on north facing slopes so got the best of what snow there was
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Arno wrote:
@davidof, it’s certainly not a purist’s route so you have some taxi rides across the valleys. The S>N direction was an advantage this year because we tended to be skiing downhill on north facing slopes so got the best of what snow there was


Yes it looked really fantastic.
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Have to say I’m now intrigued by the idea of an LG to Torino traverse…
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