Aiguilles Rouges to St Christoph via Puy

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The Start

The Start

The Aiguilles Rouges route from La Toura is one of the two classic descents from Les Deux Alpes to St. Christoph, the other being the Vallon de la Selle. Like the Selle, the run is mostly south facing, so it can be a fantastic descent in spring conditions. The normal route descends through a choice of wide gulleys then open slopes, all steep enough to be interesting. These slopes end in rock bands and it is necessary to traverse left, picking a route through the rocks to reach the Miroir des Fetoules. This shoulder on the ridge guarding the Selle valley holds a small lake (some might say puddle), hidden under the snow in winter. In summer, on a clear day, the reflection of the peak, Tete des Fetoules can be seen in the lake, hence the name. After this it is often time to take the skis off and follow the zig-zag path down to St. Christoph village.

Dropping in

Dropping in

On this particular day in March, the top section was slow to transform, and we found ourselves skiing on ice and hard crust for the top section, despite waiting a good half-hour at the top. The views and weather were beautiful, but the snow was stubbornly not. We set off anyway,  knowing

it would improve as we lost altitude, and indeed it did. As we traversed towards the Miroir, the snow changed and we finally had perfect spring snow. In order to make the most of this, we decided to continue downwards, rather than finishing the run by the normal route. We made some great turns through lightly wooded meadows, trending right until we arrived on the path to Puy. Puy is one of those mountain hamlets, reached only by footpath, that is only inhabited in summer. From there it was time to take the skis off and walk the half hour back to St Christoph, passing the statue of the Vierge du Collet, and the old mill of St Christoph which is in the process of being renovated.

Spring Snow

Spring snow near Puy

This variation adds an interesting extra dimension to the well known route to St Christoph. It does involve a bit of extra walking at the end, but when the walk is through such beautiful countryside, few people could object.

Puy

Puy

Path

The walk back

Statue

La Vierge du Collet

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