It was time to take a break from the preparations for the winter season and get out on the hill before I become completely mad!
I decided to drive up above Le Villard and on to the forest tracks leading towards the Darbelay communal refuge.? I parked up, turning the car round until it was pointing in the right direction to go home.? I always prefer to make sure in winter that it’s going to be easy to get out again!
Leaving the forest track I followed the tracks in the snow of a fox that had recently taken the same path, the pads clearly defined.? The woods were silent apart from the cheeping of blue tits in the trees.? The snow crystals squeaked under my boots.? It wasn’t yet deep enough to put on the snowshoes.? I’d left my skis in the car as I felt it wasn’t going to be deep enough and with no real base to the snow I don’t want to wreck the soles.
After crossing a small stream it was out into a clearing with the snow hanging on the birch trees and a view across the valley to the Grand Mont in the Beaufortain.? As I gained height the snow deepened and soon snowshoes were fixed to my boots.? The faint trace of the summer path zig-zagged up a clearing in the trees and I was starting to regret not having brought the skis!
The ground flattened out amongst the epiceas, drapped with snow.? A couple of black grouse exploded from their hideaways in the snow.? Deer tracks and and even some from wild boar were evident in the now, knee deep snow.
I picked up the ridge heading for the Grande Lanche and soon I got views out over the Combe de Savoie and the ramparts of the Bauges.? The Grand Arc stood out against a blue sky whilst on my left cloud obscured the valley.? The snow was now thigh deep and when I reached the final steepening to the summit I decided to make a u-turn.? The wind had formed thick soft slabs of snow and with it the potential for a slab avalanche.
The descent went quickly and once again I regretted not having brought the skis however as the depth of snow decreased I was sure I would have caught a number of rocks; not good for the skis!