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Mont Dolent 3820m

Very Early Start From La Fouly, Val Feret For The Long Ski Ascent OF Mont Dolent

Many teams will use the Fiorio Bivi Hut en route to skiing Mont Dolent. This gives 2 equal days of around 1100m of ascent. Fit teams keen for a physical challenge (and avoiding a night in a sometimes crowded bivi hut!) can make the ascent in a day. A very early start is generally required to ensure the sunny slopes on the descent are in good spring conditions and not sludge snow later on!

Mont Dolent Summit - A Brilliant Viewpoint - But Not Today!

As well as the remarkable views to Chamonix, Val d'Aosta and Rhone Valleys Mont Dolent has the added novelty of a tri-frontier border junction on it's summit. We approached from Switzerland, went in to Italy and unfortunately did not get the views in to France and the Argentiere Basin from the summit!

The Descent Of The Val Feret & Return To Switzerland!

With La Fouly at 1600m down in the valley well below.

Dawn Arrives Early With The Val Feret Open To The Eastern Skyline

With views to the more northerly hills of the Valais and anticipation of the view in to Italy from the Pt Col Feret.

The Key Passage Linking The Val Feret With Fiorio Bivi Hut Approach

At the Pt Col Feret a steep rising traverse leads round onto the south facing slopes above the upper Italian Val Feret and on to the Fiorio Bivi Hut. We used ski crampons for this section as the traverse is sustained and exposed and was on hard snow.

Fine Views Into The Italian Val Feret

An excellent arena for ski touring and lots of options to check out for future trips including the Grivola, just catching the morning sun well down the Val d'Aosta.

The New Fiorio Bivi Hut At C. 2730m

The old hut just is below this one and marked at 2729m on the Swiss Map. The spot height on the hut says 2810m although that seems a little high! The hut is 'cosy' with beds & blankets but can be crowded on weekends etc and the option of the 1 day ascent has much to recommend for fit teams.

Sustained Skinning Above The Hut Leads To The Ski Depot At C.3600m

There were 2 routes tracked today from the hut, an upper and a lower. The upper track is somewhat less exposed and still takes a steady ascending line to the steep upper south facing slopes, where we did one short section of booting carrying skis.

Steep Couloir Climb Leading To The Summit Ridge

We left our skis at 3630m on this ascent although previously have skied from the summit. The summit ski is very steep and exposed and unless conditions are as excellent as the skiers, most teams will be happy enough to climb the upper section and enjoy the fine summit ridge without the very serious pressure of skiing it!

The Exposed But Enjoyable Summit Ridge Leads Past The Madonna To The Fine Small Snowy Summit

An excellent view point normally! We enjoyed our ascent via the voie normale but there are numerous other options for tougher ascents including the Chamonix hard ski mountaineering classic of climbing the north face from the Argentiere Basin and skiing the southern slopes back to either the Swiss or Italian Val Feret and taking public transport back to Chamonix.

The Spring Ski Descent Is Generally Made Early As The Slopes Face South

Although lower down in the Swiss Val Feret the slope orientation switches to North East and even shadier aspects can be found on the skiers right bank of the valley. The lower section of the Combe des Fonds is generally avoided unless the slopes above have already cleared or the avalanche risk is very low - as it's a big terrain trap.

After A 9 Hour Round Trip - Calories Must Be Replaced

The café in the centre of La Fouly provided a fine opportunity for re-stocking up with lardy croutes & Omelettes. Just what the doctor ordered and an excellent end to a fine tough days ski mountaineering.