Ski alpinism: Mont Ponset – Couloir Oublié

Once again it rained up to 2400 meters two days ago which has melted the snow below 1500 m and froze the snow at high altitude. With the wind and snow falling, today I was not expecting a perfect day in the Mountains. Anyway I headed up to the Madone de Fenestre for ski touring and climb the Couloir Oublié (300m, 45-50° max) in the Southwest face of Mont Ponset (2828 m).

The road to the Madone is closed at 1355 m around the signpost 348, making 9 km of ski to the base of the Couloir. Overall the snow is frozen and hard at all altitudes. The conditions in the Couloir were excellent: ice or very hard snow. The Couloir Délaissé (on the left of the face) seemed also in good conditions, as well as the central couloir/gully.
The top of Mont Ponset was in the clouds, snow and gusts of wind, the visibility was so bad that I didn’t find the normal route and climbed down the Couloir. I skied down to the Madone with the help of the GPS, it was snowing above 1800 m and raining again below.

Distance: 18 km, ascent: 1500m / descent: 1500m.

Mont Ponset. Couloir Oublié (red dots) and  Délaissé (left) (© P. Gatta)
Mont Ponset. Couloir Oublié (red dots) and Délaissé (left) (© P. Gatta)

Description: park as far as possible on the road to Madone de Fenestre. Ski to the Madone de Fenestre hut (348, 349, 350, 356). Continue toward Combe du Ponset up to the base of the Southwest face of Ponset. The couloir starts at 2450 m and top out at 2770 m. Then climb the ridge to the top.

In the Couloir Oublié of mont Ponset (© P. Gatta)
In the Couloir Oublié of mont Ponset (© P. Gatta)

Caire de la Madone and Mont Ponset in the clouds (© P. Gatta)
Caire de la Madone and Mont Ponset in the clouds (© P. Gatta)

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