Up and down the Gros Caval glacier

Spring snow down Gros Caval
Spring snow down Gros Caval

The last time we headed out to the back of the Col Pers we trekked through blizzard and skied on frozen-over chopped up snow. After several days of sunshine and warm weather, the conditions today were mercifully kinder and incomparably more pleasant.

After traversing behind the Rochers Pers from the Col du Signal, we tracked above the Rocher du Lechoir, over the Glacier Pers and skinned up the Glacier du Gros Caval, a peak I last went up a year ago to the day, when there was still plenty of snow through to the summit.

This morning however, the very steep approach to the final stretch of the climb was all rock and no snow; perhaps manageable but not worth the risk, even though guide Chris reckoned the snow on the other side would probably be very good. One group of skiers proceeded upwards and appeared to struggle; we didn’t hang around long enough to see if and how they finally made it.

So we headed down the glacier, in a series of long clear runs towards the refuge du Prariond before walking back through the gorges de Malpasset on the summer path, which was mostly clear of snow.

Traversing behind Rochers Pers
Traversing behind Rochers Pers
Cairn on the Lechoir
Cairn on the Lechoir
Rocher du Lechoir, Bazel, Calabre
Rocher du Lechoir, Bazel, Calabre
On the Glacier Pers
On the Glacier Pers
Skinning up Glacier du Gros Caval
Skinning up Glacier du Gros Caval
Glacier du Gros Caval
Glacier du Gros Caval
Looking over to Pointe de Bazel
Looking over to Pointe de Bazel
Glacier du Gros Caval: skins off
Glacier du Gros Caval: skins off
About to drop the corniche
About to drop the corniche
Glacier du Gros Caval: down the corniche and around
Glacier du Gros Caval: down the corniche and around
Down the glacier towards Revers du Prariond
Down the glacier towards Revers du Prariond
Down Revers du Prariond
Down Revers du Prariond
Le Prariond
Le Prariond
Heading towards Gorges de Malpasset
Heading towards Gorges de Malpasset
Walking back on the summer path in Malpasset
Walking back on the summer path in Malpasset

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