Tete de Bostan, round trip.
The main winter route up and down the Tete de Bostan from Morzine is in most of the guide books. On snowshoes you would go via the Col de la Golese and the Arete l’Avouille.
The guide book time is 6-7 hrs for the 1200m climb. A walk up the Col de Bostan is perfectly feasible too, you’d probably pass by the Refuge Bostan, the time would be similar and the altitude gain too. Linking the two together is a popular ski tour but rarely done on snowshoes. The traverse under the Tete des Verdets is steep and a slip would have unpleasant consequences. The risk can be reduced with the right knowledge and good timing, inexperienced or unguided groups would be advised to terminate their trip on the summit of the Tete de Bostan.
We set off to gain the summit of the Tete de Bostan in spring conditions. The avalanche danger on days like this remains low until after midday. We arrived at the summit after only 2.5 hrs of hiking and because we had set off early the snow was just starting to turn soft on the linking traverse. This meant it would not be icy and also that the snow had not warmed up enough to slip down the hillside.
The timing is crucial and we were lucky we the weather. The sun was coming and going behind the clouds that were being blown over Mt Blanc by the Foehn, without this cloud cover and the accompanying wind it may well have warmed up too much by midday. We set off towards the traverse knowing we could always turn back if the going was too dodgy.
As predicted all went well. The skiers had left a good track for us. We arrived at the Col de Bostan which had a very different feel about it. The cliffs above towered over us, reminiscent of the cliffs under Ben Nevis in Scotland. The descent to the Refuge de Bostan was fun, some passages had to be passed by sliding on our bottoms.
On arrival at the refuge we could not fail to stop and have a look around. This is the first year the refuge has opened for the entire winter season. A real boost for Morzine and Samoens. More information about the refuge here.
The next bit is a little brutal at the end of the day. We have to make a rising traverse back towards the Col de la Golese and no one likes having to hike uphill at the end of the day. We rushed through this section and made our way down to our last chance for a beer at the “Crapahute” just before the car. Well earned it was too. The map below has the entire route marked for you. You can download the file too.