Chamonix - Les Grands Montets 12/29/04

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Chamonix - Les Grands Montets 12/29/04

Postby ChrisC » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:23 am

Les Grands Montets. This place rocks! Simply amazing! The vertical is huge (2000m/6000ft), the pitch consistently steep (few flats), the terrain vast and open, the exposure a perfect I have to go on? It is hard for North American mountains to compete with an epxert's playground like this. Resorts like Snowbird, Jackson, Squaw, Whistler are too limiting, too legalistic and not quite on the same scale.

The day started with sunshine, 20cm/8in of new snow and a temperature of -15c/4F ... at the base. However, we were one of 20 cars at 8:45am! On Xmas! Where is everyone??

It only got better. The morning we skied the Herse lift since the Bochard and Tram were on hold. However, there were very few people on the lift. And 75% of the skiers on the hill wanted to stay on the one groomed piste. Thank you!

The powder was expcetionally light and wind-loaded to about 40cm/18in in places. You did have to be careful about a lurking rock or two. But mostly, the entire face of Les Grands Montets is skiable. No annoying cliff bands, drainages, etc -- just great terrain. Even a few glaciers were accessible.

The Bochard Gondola/Bubble opened at 12noon and we sample the goods over there. The highlight of the day was Combe de la Pendant. This is an area of 1000m/3000 ft vertical-wise that is at least half the size of Snowbird's frontside. The tracks stayed fresh until closing.

I have never been to area that has so much open terrain that cannot get skied out in one day. Almost every run was a powder run. It does not get much better than this.
Grands Montets Early AM.jpg
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Grands Montets at 1PM.jpg
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Grands Montets Combe de La Pendant.jpg
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Grands Montets Combe de La Pendant 2.jpg
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re: Chamonix - Les Grands Montets 12/29/04

Postby Patrick » Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:07 pm

Thanks for the reports,

Happy to see what the place actually looks like on a sunny day. It was raining and snow / white out conditions on top when I went in March 2003.

Combe de la Pendant (I think - right side on the trail map?) was definately on of the highlights of my day with the run from the top toward the Argentière Glacier.
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re: Chamonix - Les Grands Montets 12/29/04

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:15 pm

I was there on a pleasant sunny day during a peak February holiday week, and Combe de la Pendant was still empty. Obvious powder potential, assuming adequate visibility.
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