Dents Du Midi, Doigts North Couloir

The north face of the Dents Du Midi with the dent Jaune Couloir on the left and the North Couloir of the Breche Du Doigts on the right. Photo Courtesy of Luca Pandolfi.

The north face of the Dents Du Midi with the Dent Jaune Couloir on the left and the North Couloir of the Breche Du Doigts on the right. Photo Courtesy of Luca Pandolfi.

After 20 days of solid work over the Christmas/New Year period I felt ready for an adventure.  Not the kind of adventure where your surrounded by other people or doing something close to something you’ve done before.  Oh no, we had a different idea and an ultimately more rewarding plan.  The Dents Du Midi is a steep skiing haven away from towns, roads and people and far enough away from Chamonix that the cool kids don’t come and mess up your day.  The north face sports 4 impressive Couloirs, each one as aesthetic as the last and all providing different levels of difficulty.  They weave their way down through Eiger style rock formations and steep sided chutes and spit you out on the high alpine meadows above Val d’Illiez which was the finishing point for our two day tour.   We Started in Les Marecotes, a small and quaint ski resort which is easily accessible from Chamonix by train…..if the train is working…… which is wasn’t.  We actually drove to Martigny and embarked the Mont Blanc Express from there. From the top of the highest chair lift at Les Marecotes you hike up to the col immediately behind which takes about 30-40 minutes.  From this col you can see the Dents Du Midi in the distance with the obvious glacial shelf just beneath the summit ridge.  We skied down the diamond encrusted pow to the lake and poled our way across to the other side where we re-skinned and began the sweaty slog up to the hut @2882m, just short of the small glacial shelf.

We spent a relaxed night in this, the Dents Du Midi Hut and watched the sun set over the Mont Blanc Massif smug that we were all alone in the awesome place and with a good plan for the next day.  We had planned to ski the North Couloir of the Breche Du Doigts and then hike up the Dent Jaune Couloir.  We were going to skate across the glacial plateau to then ski either of other two Couloirs on the lookers left of the face.  Unfortunately we ended up just skiing the North Couloir of the Breche Du Doigts as the snow was firm and windblown with deep runnels – less than ideal for steep skiing.  It was still an awesome adventure in a totally new region that I will be visiting again in the near future.  Here’s some shots…..

At the top of the first hike with a awesome cloud inversion below.

At the top of the first hike with an awesome cloud inversion below.

The hut was like the Tardis....

The hut was like the Tardis….

But well kitted out on the inside with wood burner stove and 20 beds. Oh yer and a great view.

But well kitted out on the inside with wood burner stove and 20 beds. Oh yer and a great view.

The team, left to right, Me, Ginger Ben (O'Connor Croft) and Ross Hewitt.

The team, left to right, Me, Ginger Ben (O’Connor Croft) and Ross Hewitt.

On the hike up to the Couloir the next day.

On the hike up to the Couloir the next day.

Ross with his hip abscess.

Ross with his hip abscess.

Getting ready to Ski the firm chalky snow.

Getting ready to Ski the firm chalky snow.

Steep and firm. Not good for the first line of the year!

Steep and firm. Not good for the first line of the year!

Ben "havin it".

Ben “havin it”.

 

4 thoughts on “Dents Du Midi, Doigts North Couloir

  1. Great shots and description. Couple quick questions if you’ve got a minute as I want to do the Couloir de la Dent Jaune this winter. Did you climb in ski boots? on the less technical terrain did you slap on skins or was the snow hard enough? and How long would you say it took you to go from the lake to the hut near the glacier? Thanks.

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