It was cold and we wanted to discover a different winter activity during our stay in les Contamines-Montjoie. Ricardo, a local mountain guide with whom we ice climb regularly, has been encouraging us for several years now to try ruisseling near Notre dame de la Gorge.
We departed early, up along the start of the Roman road alongside those who enjoy ski touring. After a very short walk of about 3 metres we came to the departure point of our itinerary. Ruisseling involves walking with crampons and ice axes up a frozen stream. Our itinerary, La Rosière, enables one to climb three sections, each about 20 metres.
However, despite the reassuring proximity to the Roman road, ruisseling is already much more than just walking in crampons. It is therefore imperative to know how to climb on the ice and how to protect oneself as well as mastering the different safety techniques and be capable of choosing a line of ascension according to the conditions. The atmosphere was both peaceful and wild! The ice was not too hard and the climbing, although not too difficult, required a little concentration.
It took us nearly two hours to climb about 200 metres. The last part was more technical and led us to the foot of the Rosière plateau, in the Combe Noire sector. After a short walk towards the plateau the panorama was simply breathtaking. The weather conditions were optimal that day: sunshine, cold and abundant snow gave the place a magical and wild aspect. Not a sound, not a movement, just a few animal tracks… scenery that reminded us that nature must be preserved!
One mustn’t forget to prepare a snack as a picnic break in this environment is simply enchanting!
After about half an hour of contemplation we headed back towards the Roman road. Although we have been discovering the surrounding paths for several years now, we had never yet discovered such a beautiful place. As Samivel once wrote “a day where the world rests in quiet perfection”.
But Sshh… keep it quiet!