Ski Traverse, Benjamin Vedrines-Style: 138Km, 12,000 Vertical M, Two Days

“Another great project done,” said Benjamin Vedrines. The French speedster had just crossed the Queyras massif in the French Alps, on the Italian border, in two days.

Vedrines skied 12,330 vertical meters over 138km on January 6 and 7. To better immerse himself in the Guil Valley and around Mount Viso, the area’s most famous landmark, he avoided all roads and villages. The region he skied lies right behind the Vedrines family’s backyard.

On social media, Vedrines admitted that this was the greatest challenge he faced since he astonished the climbing community by climbing Broad Peak in 7 hours!

Vedrines with his (skinny!) skimo boards on the summit of Grand Glaiza. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines/Facebook

 

Right weather, right conditions

Vedrines waited for the right snow and weather conditions. He left the Vars mountain hut and skied nonstop for 12 hours, enjoying “the crazy landscape and my mom’s great sandwiches.”

After a short break, he set off again under the full moon toward the climb of Le Villard, above St-Crépin.

“With 6,350m of elevation, I had to stay focused to enchain the 13 ascents along the way,” Vedrines said.

route topo on a map of Queyras range.

Benjamin Vedrines’ route traversing the Queyras massif. The red dot is the Refuge Jervis, where Vedrines took a rest between stages. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines

 

In fact, he had time for all of that and even some extra peaks. These include the Grand Glaiza. At 3,293m, it was the highest point of the traverse.

He only stopped as the snow ended  — the Alps are dramatically dry and warm this season. Vedrines then continued on foot back to Villard, 14 hours after the second day started.

A rocky summmit rising on a ridge, with a thin layer of snow covering its flanks.

Mount Viso from the Col Sellière, showing how little snow there is this year in the Alps. Photo: Benjamin Vendrines

 

Check this IG post for his complete itinerary. It includes references and vertical meters, in case someone wants to compare their own ski touring time across the Queyras area.

a valley surrounded by woods and rounded mountains under the full moon.

The Queyras area under the full moon on the second day of the traverse. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.