Couloir 3500, North Face of Grande Motte & Pramecou (Tignes) 16/03/18
Dougal had his family out for the week, so we were keen to show them some of the quieter areas of Tignes. After hearing that they had already skied a few of the Mickey’s Ears couloirs, P2 & Les Tufs, I was pretty stoked to show them the terrain which requires a little more interesting approaches – namely rope ins.
The day started pretty bleak, with low cloud covering all elevations. We kept our optimism in the forecast clear skies and headed up high to wait for a break in the clouds. We opened up couloir ‘7’ to warm things up a little and once the clouds started to clear we headed up the Telecabine to see what goods were hiding over on the south side of the Grande Motte. Couloir de Nettes was planned, but the bolts required for the rappel were buried at least 1m deep, so couloir 3500 was decided.
Couloir 3500 is a pretty straightforward couloir with no challenges in route finding and just requiring a little sidestep to get into it (although I’ve frequently been able to ski right into it in previous seasons). The couloir itself is pretty long so make sure your team are up to scratch fitness-wise! We had it in perfect winter snow, so could relax and enjoy the whole couloir with no worries at all. I’ve found 3500 in some pretty horrific conditions before – making it that little bit more interesting 😉
We toured out of the Leisse Valley from the base of 3500 and back up the Telecabine to head for the Petit Face Nord of the Grande Motte. The north face of the Grande Motte is heavily crevassed terrain, so make sure you and your mates are correclty equipped and know how to pull each other out of a crevasse – if you have no idea how to use this equipment or how to travel on glacial terrain (guides are good to train you for this) then don’t attempt to ski on the glacier – simple.
From the base of the Petit Face Nord, we headed up to the north face of the Pramecou to find yet more cold, dry powder allowing us to let the skis run a little and charge the face. The team’s legs were pretty cooked and it was around 16:30 so we decided not to head up for the Grande Balme to complete the ‘trio of north faces’ & instead headed back to Val Claret – banger of a day!