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Dents du Midì North Face – Couloir de la Dent Jaune – Breche des Doits 23.03.2011

Couloir de La Dent Jaune: 3004 m ; 600 m 43° ; NorthWest ; 4.2/ E2
Brèche des Doites (skier left branch): 3190 m ; 100 m 50°, 750 m 45° ; North ; 5.2/ E3

Couloir de la Dent Jaune on the left and Brèche des Doits on the right

It s a long time that I have wanted to come and ride this magic corner of the Alps.
In Chamonix the snow conditions are pretty boring and people are losing their motivation, so it’s the perfect time to go visiting a new place.
I took the midday train from Chamonix to the charismatic Swiss village of Les Marecottes with my Swedish friend Magnus.
From there we took the lifts up to the start of a 150m long couloir which gave us access to the big bowl of Salanfe with the lake in the middle and the south face of the Dents du Midì just in front of us.
This place is pretty wild, we rode down in nice powder to the lake level and skinned up in complete isolation 950m, arriving at the pleasant ‘Refuge du Dents du Midi’ with the darkness closing in

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At the exit of the first couloir

Sunset on Mont Blanc

I slept like a baby after a great dinner watered down by good French red wine.
The plan was to climb the 300m couloir on the South face to reach the Brèche des Doits then ride the North couloir, climb back up the 600m of the Couloir de la Dent Jeune, traverse on the South face, climb the 100m couloir between La Cathedrale and La Forteresse and finally ride the beautiful 1000m line on the North face

Sunrise on the south face of La Cathédrale and La Forteresse

Refuge Dents du Midi 2884m

Alas global warming made us change our plans pretty quickly the next early morning when we arrived at the base of the Southeast couloir we had intended to climb.
It is the end of March but it feels like the end of May and at 8.30am a lot of stuff was already coming down from the face.
We decided to ride first the couloir of La Dent Jaune and climb up the 850m of the Brèche des Doites.
On the left side of the couloir the snow was still pretty good, if a little changeable in places

Me in the couloir de la Dent Jaune


Arriving at the junction with the other couloir, we put our crampons on and began to get exited about the great quality of the snow.
It took us 3 hours to climb up and ride down the 850m at 45-50 degrees in this beautiful couloir.
The snow was fantastic and the sluff was perfect, not too fast and not too slow.
I really had a great time over there, especially after a tricky adrenaline-fuelled 50m in the second quarter of the corridor (skier left branch) where a small central gully forced us to ski the steep sides of it that definitely exceeded 50 degrees.
Rewardingly we still had 800m of descent in perfect spring snow.
The day ended with us managing to get lost for an hour and a half between the hundreds of paths that lead down to the road

Climbing the Brèche des Doites

Just before the narrow and steep part of the left branch


Special thanks to our friend Tom Greenall who came all the way around from Chamonix to pick us up in his super-ecological van that runs on vegetable oil.
On the way home we checked the conditions of the Forteresse couloir which was part of our original plan, and we were glad about how our day ended up, noticing It was still really rocky and not in great condition.
I will come back for it for sure

This entry was posted in News.

2 comments on “Dents du Midì North Face – Couloir de la Dent Jaune – Breche des Doits 23.03.2011

  1. Nicola ha detto:

    Sempre belle foto e grande passione nei tuoi report.

    "Mi piace"

  2. Jem ha detto:

    Fantastic photos.

    We snowboarded the couloir de la dent jaune from les marecottes the day before you! Great snow all the way (appart from skinning up the south side!), but I understand what you mean about getting lost trying to find the road!

    "Mi piace"

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