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Thursday, 19 January 2012

La Grave ice and skiing update!

A few clouds about today and slightly milder so another rest day skiing at Les Deux Alpes for less than 21 Euros!

With high pressure for the past two weeks, it's been sunny during the day and frosty both day and night especially in the deep valleys. It's also been a lot colder this week with overnight low temperatures well below minus twelve partially freezing up the rarely formed Le Saut de la Pucelle in less than a week!

This has really fattened up the ice in the upper La Grave area with Les Valseuses touching down and now looking fat. Many of the popular reliable ice lines on north aspects such as Le Pylone, La Croupe de la Poufiasse, La Colere du Ciel, are now climbable though not as fat as they have been in some years. Based on our past experience, Goulotte d'Astarothe, Les Doigts d'Astarothe, Cagade, and Goulottes du Muretouse all look like they would be ok. On southern aspects the lower pitches of the routes in the Clots area look climbable as well as the popular routes at the tunnel such as Caturgeas, Les Moulins and Mini Moulins though the upper cigars are either not fully formed or very thin. All the routes on the south facing slopes are now being strongly affected by the late January sun.
The routes at Alpes d'Huez have given us great climbing - Symphonie d'Automne, Supercramp, Stalactus and Super Misere. Ice Bille and Misere also were in condition. There have been so few climbers about that we've had the routes to ourselves and only on Saturday did we see a group on Ice Bille.
We were lucky to arrive just after the huge dump of snow so the snow conditions were stabilising nicely and we skied at Les Deux Alpes, Alpes d'Huez and had a fantastic day skiing on La Meije from 3200m all the way down to the village at 1500m. That was last Wednesday and since then there is a lot less powder about and some runs are getting a bit scratchy but with more snow forecast...!
The roads have been very icy and covered in hard packed snow. We've had to use our snow chains as winter tyres on hire cars can be a bit of a lottery unless hiring from Geneva.
After twelve years of trips to La Grave in January, this has turned out to be one of the best with a great mix of climbing and skiing.
More details and photos on Fi's blog here
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