mandag den 25. april 2011

Bivouac des périades: The coolest hut in the world.

It's not the largest hut in the world, it's definitely not the most luxurious is the world, it's not even the highest hut in the alps, even though is located at a pretty good altitude.
The coolest hut in the world might be a big statement, but nonetheless I think it the coolest - at the very least in the Chamonix area.

In the weekend before Easter I enjoyed a super short trip to Chamonix to visit my old fried Kim, who had spent the season in Cham. We had three days to get a ski tour in before Kim was heading back to Denmark.

Because of the crappy snow (or lack thereof) this season, we had to go somewhere high, we'd like to visit new huts and ski new glaciers. A quick plan was made: Ski down the good part of Vallée Blanche break left up the Leschaux glacier, climb to the winter room of the Leschaux hut and spend the first night there. Next day climb back down to the glacier and skin up to the foot of the Mont Mallet glacier, skin the height of the glacier to the couloir giving access to the final rock scramble to the Bivouac des Périades. 

Blue skies above Aiguille du Midi.
The ski down the Vallée Blache was surprisingly good given the expected conditions. We found large patches of untracked spring snow, in places it even felt like powder.
Leschaux hut perched high on the moraine wall. The retreating Leschaux glacier have transformed the hut access into 150 vertical meters of via ferrata steps and ladders.
I'm Sure Kim enjoyed the tiny metal steps in his duck-billed telemark boots.
The boardwalk normally leading to the entrance of the hut was removed to protect it from rock and ice fall during the winter.
Leschaux hut: Comfortable and reasonably clean, only a few dorks had left their trash behind. How hard can it be to carry the shit out, you carried in.
Grown ups playing with toilet paper on the glacier. Don't even ask.
High on the Mont Mallet glacier. Red circle shows location of the Périades Bivi. Arrow indicates the gully giving access to the small hut.

The last climbing to the hut is a bit steepish.
Target in sight. At the final belay.

A proper belay?

Nice view of the Mer de Glace.

Horizontal space around the hut is limited. Vertical space is endless.

The sun is setting as the last snow melts in the pot.
Bivouac des Périades.

Rapping back down to the glacier. The easy part of the trip awaits.
It was hot, even at 9 in the morning.
Knee dropping on the Mont Mallet glacier.

Perfect weather.

Crevasses were many and quite large because of the not so snowy season.

Still room to set your own tracks.

Scary view. To years ago (same time of the year) it was easy skiing all the way to the bottom of the stairs.

Hut facts:
Altitude: 3421m Latitude: 45.87495, Longitude: 6.9599
The original hut was built in 1926 and the existing hut was renovated in 1996.

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