Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Trappier Couloir

A few weeks ago Chamonix had a long spell of high pressure bringing lots of sunny warm weather, which gave the place a very summery feel to it. This made a lot of South face ski lines really poor. So when Josh suggested to go ski the Trappier Couloir on the South side of the Gouter ridge, I was a bit sceptical that it would be any good. I presumed the North facing stuff would be a safer bet, but who am I to doubt the great Josh Fawcett! I mean the man comes from Yorkshire, where the all the best skiers come from!We also met up with Bouche who’s always keen for skiing, and after a bit of discussion we finally drove to Les Houches and headed for the Trappier.

It might sound really sad, but the skin up to the Trappier was one of the best tours I’ve ever done. I spoke to Josh half way up and we both agreed that we didn’t care what the ski down was like as the skin up was so good. Think this was due to having a great track in place, being in the shade on the way up which kept us cool and that it was a new area of the Massif for me to see.

The skin up took about 3 ½ hours and is split up into a few sections. It starts from the top of the Bellevue lift, it then follows the train track around until below a snowfield where you climb up and traverse across to a steeper section on the left. In good coverage you could probably skin right up here but we had to book pack up for 200m or so. There’s a middle snowfield, which again is climbed and traversed across to a couloir which you have to boot pack up. After this long climb up you arrive at a plateau, which you cross to the last short climb and is then followed by a horizontal traverse to the start of the Trappier.

Plaque in memory to Mr & Mrs Trappier, who were sadly
avalanched in the couloir.

The Couloir had a lot of tracks in it but there were still loads of fun to be had. I thought the snow could have been quite crusty on top but it was still really soft. There are few rocks that poke out and some are just under the snow, so be careful not to snag a big one. It has a good angle at the top which you can really get some speed on and crack nice big carves out.

Something that did happen that day was Bouche had just got new Dynafits fitted on his skis, and this was the first he’d used them. As we had just got off the lift and skinned straight away, his first time skiing down in them were the first turns in the Trappier. Which would have been fine, as he’s a solid skier, but the Dynafits were mounted wrongly! They were mounted too big so his boots just, and I mean JUST, clipped in. So on his first turn the ski came flying off and fired off down the couloir! Luckily it stopped in some pow about 100m below. After he slid down to his ski we looked to see if we could fix it, but they were mounted way too big!


He did take it really well, even though he had to sideslip down the Trappier! If it was me I’d been going mental and would have definitely went in the huff. Half way down he learnt the technique of down hill kick turns!

It got a bit heavy and crusty in places near the bottom, but still really god fun. At the end you break out left and then start the ‘shit-show’. We skied most of the way down through the trees but had to walk some of it. I reckon now even after this latest dump of snow you’d have to walk a lot more through the trees.

Bouche finding it easier to slide on his ass, still with a
smile on his face.

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