La Tournette Winter :-<La Tournette Trip Report 11/10/07
Mountain: La Tournette
Location: Haute-Savoie, France
Summit Elevation : 7713 ft / 2351 m
Dates : November 11th, 2007
Participants: Matt Reiter
Drove from Thiers, France (CPM) to Talloires, France. Stayed at the L’Abbaye De Talloires Hotel (Chemin de Moines, 74290, Talloires). Hotel right on Annecy Lake (elevation 420 m= 1377 ft).
Saturday, November 11th
Woke up at 6:30 and had breakfast with Don at 7 AM. I wore my Valendre hiking boots and had my recently bought Osprey Atmos 50 pack. I brought my parka, snowshoes, La Sportiva mountaineering boots, iceaxe, crampons, and the usual assortment of accessories. We left the hotel and drove to the drop off spot (Chemin de la Sauffaz ) that was 20 minutes away (~800 m elevation). The weather was cool (36 F) and cloudy. You could not see the top of Tournette as it was enveloped in the clouds. The drop off was suppose to be at the Col d’Aulps parking lot (which I thought was close to the drop off). Unfortunately, the drop off was in a town called Verel. I had to walk up the road until I got to a trail entry spot. It took me about 2 hours to make it to the Col d’Aulps parking lot but it was a nice, relatively steep hike in about 2-3” of snow. There was about 4-5 inches of snow at the parking lot. The road was probably closed and gravel. I saw no footprints on the way up.
From Col d’Aulps, there is a path going up (called the Aulp Collar: normal route). A sign said that is was 1 hour to the refuge and 3 hours to summit. I had a snack and left at 10:30 AM. You see the refuge from the start but you have to go a ways to the left of it due to the sheer cliffs that the refuge is next to. I put on my gaiters but did not change boots (turned out to be a mistake). Going to the left of the refuge and over the top (there was a lot of rock with about 3-4” of light, soft snow). Unfortunately, the rocks were covered with a very slippery sheet of ice. I had to take caution in planting my feet on almost every step. I realized later, I could have probably moved faster/safer if I had put on my other boots/crampons. I made it to the refuge at about 12:15 PM. A little slow. The real refuge was actually not the building I had seen below. The refuge was locked but had some stone walls for tents in front of it. The other building I went over to and had a snack. I was still very cloudy. In order to proceed, you had to go down into a little gully and go around the sheer cliffs. Unfortunately, the trail went from the refuge. I had to go down a steep hill from the other building to get to the trail. I started up the trail and it started to snow. I was cold (30 F) but the trail was very slippery with sheer cliffs next to me. It would be a very bad fall if I slipped. It was about 1 PM and I was almost to the corner point to turn behind the shear cliffs. I decided there would be no visibility, it had started snowing, and it was getting late so I turned back. I figured I’d go up the next day. As I started down past the refuge, I saw some movement. I saw that it was a mountain goat. I zoomed in and took a picture. Nice long horns. I then started down the path. Then I saw a few babies with some does. I took some pictures. I went down a little farter and saw a big group of large horned goats (about 12). I took a picture and then saw a goat sitting in the trail in front of me. It was a small horned male and I made some noise to get him to move, which he did but very reluctantly. I turned the corner and then saw 5 BIG horned goats. 4 were slightly above the trail (about 15 feet) and another was below about 5 ft away. I started slowly to go between them with a rock in my hand for defense. The trail was still very steep and I did not want to get knocked off. Luckily I made it by with no problems.
I made it most of the way down but got a little lost on the trail. I made it to the drop off spot at 5 PM and Don picked me up. I probably wasted 45 minutes getting lost. It turned out I second guessed myself and actually was on the right path. Not too happy.
I only drank one liter of water, had one cliff bar, two goo shots, and two coconut bars. I probably should have drank/ate more because I was getting that “I don’t care” feeling on the way down.
The next day, the weather was horrible. Rainy and even more cloudy on the mountain then the previous day. We went into Annecy to walk around.
On Monday, we had to go up to Paris. The weather was clear and sunny. I was very disappointed. I took a few pictures of mountains across the lake. I should look them up and come back some time later.
Later, I found I lost my head lamp. It was in my boots and must have fallen out as I went up. Stupid.