Forums Trip Reports The birthday couloir
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  • #574656
    JemG
    4 Posts

    Hi All,

    This is my first post here and I thought I should use it to redress the balance a bit since there aren’t many posts from Europe and there isn’t much footage of girls splitboarding. This was a tour I did last week with my girlfreind Cindy to celebrate my birthday. I’m behind the camera so most of the footage is of her.

    We live in a small village in France called Chatel which is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area. I’ve been working here off and on for 10 years and wherever you go around here you can see this big set of 3000m (10000ft) peaks called Les Dents du Midi (the teeth of the south). They litereally dominate the skyline and even form part of the ski areas logo, they’re everywhere.

    Some time ago I heard that there was a skiable couloir right down the north face of the Dents. At the time I couldn’t really see how you would ever ski the thing unless you maybe had a helicopter, but an idea had taken root and I started looking at this thing all the time. Then last year we bought some splitboards.

    The snow has been terrible in Europe this season and especially in our part of France, but with the splitboards we’ve managed to score some good powder on days when everyone else was tearing their hair out and declaring the season over (good thing about there not being any snow is that the avalanche danger stays quite low!). But with the season winding down and my 40th birthday approaching we started looking for a special tour that we could do to mark this little milestone in my life and of course the Dents du Midi were still there. So last week with a fresh dusting of new snow and some stable weather predicted for a few days it looked like it was on!

    We drove over to the small ski station of Les Marecottes in Switzerland from where we took the top chiar to the foot of the 2600m col de la Golette. A quick 200m boot up the col and we were at the top of a fantastic 600m descent in virtually untracked pow down to the Lac de Salanfe. Here we split the boards and crossed the dam at the end of the lake to start a long 1000m hike up the south side of the Dents du Midi in baking sun on mushy quickly transforming snow. It was a bit of a struggle in places but we eventually arrived at the Refuge des Dents du Midi, conveniently located at 2880m and just 150m below the col de la Dent Jaune and the mouth of the couloir. The hut is fully equipped with everything you need, including a pretty impressive view over the Mont Blanc Massif.

    The next morning after a comfortable nights sleep at the refuge all we had to do was boot the last 150m up to the col and we were finally looking into the mouth of the beast.

    And a bit of a suprise, the snow looked fresh, untracked and pretty stable! It’s a pretty easy descent. The couloir is a sustained 40 degree pitch for 600m with one steeper section, but the setting is spectacular and the snow was perfect. The only tricky part was finding our way down to the road with the limitted snow cover lower down.

    So after 10 years of looking at it the couloir nord ouest de la Dent Jaune is done and I have a pretty good memory to mark my 40th.

    Splitboarding IS the answer!

    Here’s the video

    [vimeo:33j0j1p6]http://www.vimeo.com/21647588[/vimeo:33j0j1p6]

    #638792
    SPLITRIPPIN
    709 Posts

    Dude more pics!! :mrgreen:

    And if it’s a youtube vid… use the youtube embedder…PM me if you need help, or just paste me the URL to your vid.

    Looks like a sick line

    #638793
    brainsteak
    87 Posts

    scoring on your b-day! unique line.

    #638794
    silver
    167 Posts

    Nice line! Way to get it done on your bday.

    #638795
    wild side
    33 Posts

    Well done! Super great effort on the vid. and everthing else. It tells alot about your journey. How you determine the route down after the snows ceases is a msytery to me especially on the big montains where your located (a mystery I’m looking forward to learning more about… as we were spoiled with in bound stuff for decades but now with a splitboard, a whole new ball-game). Good point about having the ladies out too. I’m setting up my sweety with split gear for next season and suspect she’ll enjoy watching your vid. A Great way to enter in your 40’s so Happy Belated B-Day. Peace. (BTW. good music choice)

    #638796
    JemG
    4 Posts

    Yeah getting back to the road was a bit tricky, we’d checked it out from the other side of the valley a few times and thought we had the route down pretty sussed, you never quite know until you get there though! In the end it was easy.

    Some guys from the Jones snowboards Euro team did the same couloir the next day

    http://www.lucapandolfi.com/2011/03/dents-du-midi-north-face-couloir-de-la-dent-jaune-breche-des-doits-23-03-2011/

    but they got a bit lost trying to find the road!

    Does this count as poaching their line?

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