Bourg-St. Pierre to Valsorey Hut
Woke up at 7:00 AM. I had had an acceptable but certainly not a stellar night’s sleep. Bill got me out of my little one man bed and then I rousted Brian and Scott who were both dead to the world. Downstairs I found a breakfast of champions: fried eggs, granola, bread, jam, ham cheese, OJ and coffee. We each had three pulls off of the shiny espresso machine. The left-over ham and cheese was wrapped in napkins and stuffed into Scott’s pack.
We began the climb across the road from the hotel, and we were skinning by the reasonable time of 9:00. Freezing rain had coated the highway with a slick layer of ice and we nearly had to don crampons just to make it across without breaking a hip. A one hour gradual ascent up a road leading to a river drainage brought us to the Valsorey Hut/Velan Hut fork. The modern curves of the steel clad Velan Hut came into view; we were still searching for our destination. We continued up a narrow chute that opened up to a plateau. Finally Bill spotted the Valsorey Hut; the little stone and timber structure was maybe fifteen hundred vertical feet away. Stopped for lunch at about 9000 feet, the sky had cleared, and it was time for some sunscreen. The final 1000 feet were a bit of a struggle, two slough release avalanches clenched me up pretty tight. Above us new snow hung to rapidly warming dark rocks. Luckily the sloughs were slow moving and you could hustle to get out of the way.
We arrived at the hut at a little past one in the afternoon. A slow moving Welsh pair was in front (Bill and I had caught them at the avalanches) and a French quad came up behind. A group of four showed up at 4:45, we had passed them earlier in the day; I wonder what had taken them so long.