Cornes de Loriaz, NNE Couloir


I have already reposted Tims account of our awesome day above Buet away from the holiday makers of the Chamonix valley.  I have a few more words to add and some more pictures.

I am more often than not quite reluctant to leave the Valley in pursuit of good skiing and powder simply because with all of the terrain in the Mont Blanc Massif I like to challenge myself to find new spots and fresh snow without the use of a car.

However, What Timmy had in store for us just a 20 minute drive from home looked superb and with the possibility of no other tracks I was on board and up at 6am to get ready while the sun was still sleeping hard. Skinning into the mountains as the sun is rising has some magical feel to it. Similar to the experience you get with a 4am alpine summer start. Keeping cool in the early morning light is easy too and leaves you feeling dry and fresh by the time you start the long deep bootpack up the 40/45′ couloir.

We wanted to have a look over the Col to suss out Buet NE face conditions but the last 10 meters of climbing looked to sketchy so we just skied what we knew would be great, the way back down…

Cornes de Loriaz, NNE Couloir

Timmy had a few words to say about our sweet ski a couple of days ago. Winner

Tim Oliver Alpinist

One of the things I love most about ski touring is exploring new areas. If that can be combined with skiing a great line in good conditions then for me skiing doesn’t get much better. By some careful planning and a good dose of luck Joel and I managed to tick all these boxes earlier this week when we went to check out the peaks around Loriaz, an area neither us had skied before. We ended up skiing the NNE couloir of the Cornes de Loriaz, an aesthetic line that snakes its way down the face and offers about 500m of moderately steep skiing (according to the guidebook, the couloir averages 42 degrees, the crux being the first 70m or so where it is steeper and quite tight).


We found the line in great condition, with perfect spring snow on the approach slope and cold powder on the face itself. Hard work on the ascent…

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Y Couloir, Aiguille d’Argentiere

This winter has made us look away from the norm. With the unstable snowpack and fresh snow falling on an irregular basis we have to consider alternatives. We went to have a look at the Y couloir on the Aiguille d’Argentiere which normally is a spring steep but we found it in condition mid February.

It was a scorching day and with the sun on your back things warm up very quickly. Plodding our way up the 500m+ reasonably narrow couloir we stopped when things started to get very loose and soft. Just after the split on the lookers right branch.


The snow was perfect spring corn on a firm base, and allowed for comfortable fast paced turns all the way down to the choke, which plays in your head the whole descent. Its a 20/30m ice and rock band that was definitely worth bringing two axes for on the way up.

A great ski and a classic line. Just need to go back and ski it from the top…