Eissassa – North West Couloir

I had seen this couloir from Ceillac back at the beginning of January and have been keen to ski it ever since. I can’t find any record of it having been skied, neither in the guidebook, nor on any ski topo websites, nor asking around here, so it is probably a first descent.

I hooked up with Rogier who is a photographer living up at Argentiere, so he has a few good photos of the day on his site too.

The approach was quite long and flat for a way before climbing the apron under the couloir and then the couloir itself was only just over 200m of boot packing. The boot pack took a while as there were times when I was armpit deep in the snow, which varied from nice powder to sugary depth hoar.

It was so hot that I didn’t take my down jacket, and regretted it at the top; it was blowing a gale in the little col and was freezing.

The top section of the descent was quite steep, with a section getting past the rocks where it was just over 50°, then it dropped down to a more gentle 45° for a way before getting down to around 40° towards the bottom of the couloir. So we think the grade is a 4.3 E2.

The apron below had nicely transformed by the time we got down and was great to ski, and then we were surprised to find great powder down in the trees at the bottom.

Another nice day out skiing quiet lines in the Queyras.