Bec Des Rosses
The Bec des Rosses is located in Verbier and although not easily accessed, provides a unique opportunity for some panoramic photographs. It is situated only an hour or so away from Chamonix and presents breathtaking views. From the height of 3223m it is possible to look south to Mont Blanc or East to Mont Fort and beyond to Zermatt and the majestic Matterhorn.
Verbier is best know for its “off Piste” ski area and holds the final of the World Freeride tour called the ‘Verbier Xtreme’. This is where the world’s best freeriders come to compete in the final round on the legendary ‘Bec des Rosses’.
The Bec is one of the scariest looking mountains I have seen. With over 50+ degree steepness at the top, narrow couloir, and huge drops it’s not for the faint-hearted. As a ski and snowboard instructor in Verbier for a number of years, each year there is always a lot of chat about skiing the Bec, but it ends up being ‘a lot of talk and no action’.
With the end of the winter season looming, I and two friends were free from teaching for a day. The sky was blue and it hadn’t snowed for a while so the avalanche risk wasn’t very high. Conditions seemed perfect for tackling the Bec.
There aren’t any lifts to the Bec des Rosses, so the ascent involves 4 long lifts up to Mont Fort. Skiing down the col to reach the starting point was scarier than skiing down the Bec. We had to ski across avalanche debris which had huge chunks of ice sitting under the surface of the snow. I had one of the most terrifying moments when I slipped and started sliding down the slope heading for a 50 foot drop off the rocks. If it hadn’t been for my friend being below me I’m not sure I would have stopped in time and would possibly have ended up over the edge. (A great start today) haha
Finally having reached the col we had to strap our skis to our backpack to hike. The hike up to the summit took us around 2 hours in knee deep snow, climbing up rocks, and along some narrow ridges. This is a mission in itself and as I found, was just as hard as the ski down the Bec.
On arriving at the top, the views were truly breathtaking, and this gave me the opportunity to take a 270 degree panoramic photograph.
We had chosen our route which is called the “dog-leg” . This was very steep at the top, and standing on the slope with a bent arm to the side, you could touch the slope which is over 50+ degrees in gradient.
Of all my skiing experiences this was by far the most challenging and scary but it is an experience that will remain with me forever.
To get a true feeling of the Bec des Rosses here is a clip of the Verbier Xtreme best of. (They make it look so easy!!!) When the clip gets to 48 seconds the helicopter flies over the Bec, we skied down the small gully to the right.
Ben and Ben in the first picture and me in the blue jacket in the second picture.
The Red line is the route we chose to ski down the Bec.
This last black and white photograph ended up being enlarged to 30in x 20in for my friends 30th birthday who I skied the Bec Des Rosses with.