Sometimes my lack of organisation leaves me going to bed without a plan for the next day. I don’t like it when this happens but sometimes its just sweet to pack your bag and go out and see whats occurring . In my haste to pack in the morning I forgot to take the SD card from my computer and put it in my camera. Luckly I had my phone to snap a few shots…
A few different route possibilities passed through my head until I settled on “having a look” at the Col Du Diable which my friends Ross and Tom had skied about a week ago. In the back of my mind I kinda knew the snow was going to be….bad. I climbed to the Breche du Carabinier which is between the Grande and Petit Capucin. The snow in the couloir was pretty much completely transformed which made for easy bootpacking and with the Grande Cap towering above you it gives great ambiance. From the Breche I looked up at the Col du Diable and immediately decided I could get in in better condition at a later date. Plus the snow in the Carabinier couloir was softening up to perfection and i didn’t want to miss it before it turned to soft. It was good skiing by myself for a change and it was nice to hike up listening to my tunes and pass by yet another beautiful day in the mountains. Even got back in time for some bouldering this afternoon!!!
With this most recent high pressure to hit the alps I was keen to get out and bash in some fitness and try and tick of some of my objectives for the winter. On Thursday we headed over to try the Traverse of the Noire otherwise known as the North face of Pointe Yeild. I’ve wanted to try this traverse for a while and after seeing some promising photo’s showing that the snow was sticking to the Glacial ice we all thought this might be a good objective for the day. We made the journey there over cols and across the hanging glacier to find that not only is it totally blind to drop into the face but the snow was also slightly wind affected. Ross triggered a small but terrifying slab avalanche whilst he was cutting over the face.
The traverse of the Noire seen from the col du tacul we’re stood at the top and the area in the shadow just above slid. photo Ally Hurst.
Nothing bad came of it but we were all sufficiently spooked that we decided we should get the heck out of there in a backward direction.
Today the wind was up in the morning and the GM and the Midi were on hold. We rallied about cham trying to work out the best objective for the day when my eye caught the Couloir Trappier under the Aiguille du Gouter. I’ve wanted to ski this line for a while but it’s never been that high on my to do list and it can be fickle to find it in good condition. It’s long approach, 4 hours or so, proved to be tedious especially with poorly fitting skins on my new ski’s. It was however good to explore a new area that I have only ever looked at from the valley and probably the best we could have done with our day. We were worried that it might be a bit dodgy with the wind that we have had but we were relived to see 9 others heading up the same way including some guided teams so we didn’t have to drop in first!
After skining and boot-packing for hours to the top we were happy to see that the whole couloir had in fact already purged itself with a firm but grippy base and no visible wind loading at the top. There were sections of crust, pow and chalk on the way down and it was fun to change between the two and play with the aspect to try and get the best snow. towards the bottom of the run, in the trees, the snow was getting super heavy and grabby and in the last section down to the road we were skiing corn. Pretty much every type of snow you can think of in one day! Thanks to Josh Fawcett for a good day out.
Heading up via the Tramway du Mont Blanc
Short bootpack. Les Bossons far bellow.
Aiguille du Gouter
Looking into the Couloir with the Midi west face behind
Found some OK snow
Glad to be out of the fall line of the couloir
No cham day would be complete without some tree skiing!
I’d say at least half the time when skiing or climbing in the alps things don’t go to plan for me. Its not necessarily a bad thing and without “failure” success wouldn’t be as sweet. I spend a lot of time thinking about this and how I would feel if I never or always got the things I want to do done. For me the 2 most important things are; 1.Did I enjoy it? (type 2 and 3 fun is still acceptable forms of enjoyment). 2. Did I learn something from it?
If the answer is yes to both then its a thumbs up and is classified as a “good day”. Today was one of those, even if we didn’t finish what we set out to achieve….
We (me and Emily Roo) had planned on traversing from the Aiguille du Midi to the Aiguille du Plan via the famous and aptly named Midi-Plan traverse. From the top we were going to ski down the Glacier d’Envers du Plan, obviously in knee deep, perfectly stable, un-tracked and sunny pow pow. We found the pow but it wasn’t in the right part. From the Col du Plan we waded our way up through steep, sugary snow on the ridge for hours. After a brief battenbourg stop mid way along (oh she does look after me:-) we decided we had had enough and started to scope out a short but steep couloir which would lead us back down to the Grande Envers via some steep turns. I gave Emily a masterclass in how to put your skis on on a steep slope and set her of on her merry way. The snow in the couloir was pretty crusty but I was super impressed with how our lass skied it. Good work Emily! My knee has been pretty bad the last week so this was my first ski day for a while but it feel pretty good now. Super happy with my new Salewa/Wild country kit and also my new Blizzard Cochise skis which I might go as far as to say is the best ski I have ever owned if not skied on. Super Stoked to finally have a set up that I like and trust.
Awesome inversion, Many people..
At the Col du Plan
looking back at the first pitch of the Grande Envers
Awesome views as always.
Getting a lesson.
Not amzing snow but good to back on something steepish.
I’m pleased to announce that I will be working with Salewa and Wild Country as a regional athlete to help promote the two brands with an emphasis on Ski Mountaineering and Alpinism. I’m pretty excited for what the future will hold with both these brands and I’m looking forward to getting out and about in the mountains to try out the new kit! Many thanks to the team at Wild Country UK for sorting me out.