I often forget how lucky I am to have the Aiguille du midi 10 mins walk from my house, but days like yesterday really remind me of what a big midi day can offer. I headed out with Ross Hewitt and Drew Tabke (of Freeride World Tour Champion fame) for a few laps off the top. Things are shaping up nicely for a good spring with the snow starting to bond to the steeper slopes well. We started of with a Glacier Rond to Salopar which is fun and interesting variation to the exit couloir which spits you out almost at the bottom of the West Couloir. Its bit of a faff at the moment with abseils and some tricky rock steps, to quote mr Tabke “I’ve never had to use a hand jam whilst skiing before”. Ultimately it was worth it for the steep, untouched pow turns and just for a bit of adventure too. Unfortunately Ross’s back gave out half way down that first run and me and drew thought we would have to jerry rig a ski zimmerframe out of our poles for the poor chap. He still made it down and displayed some good freeride skills hucking out the bottom but the pain was written all over his face throughout the second half of the run. We must have looked quite the picture in the lift station when I was trying to help him stretch his back out.
After this Ross called time but me and Drew were still going strong and wanted more so headed up to do the Cosmiques Couloir which was also in good nick and very rippable. We traversed back to the mid station again and decided it was probably still worth skiing some more so headed up again to check out the Rond. It was amazing how much it had been scrapped of after 60+ people had been down it and it was alot more sketchy that second time but got better the lower down we got. In the exit couloir we were both getting pretty bad leg pump (glad it wasn’t just me) and it felt pretty hard going. On the traverse back we dropped into the Para Face which, as always, provided some incredible skiing to get back to the tunnel. We managed to keep our skis on all the way to the road and then a friend gave us a lift back to town (cheers Tim). All in all a good day with many 1000′s of meters of descent with some really good snow, adventure and good company. Cheers boys.
Drew at the top of the Rond
sidestepping after handjam.
coming off the first rap
we skied this bit of snow by mistake and had to hike out.
not doing bad for an old codger
the actuall traverse is above and right of ross
me on the salopar
coming to the final cliff band
drew lead the way on the freeride bit
ross about to seal the deal with a straightline to compression.
The dent the Geant is the rocky peak in the center. We skied down and to the lookers left to join the lower slopes of the Marbrees.
Today me and Ross Hewitt skied an awesome line down the south face of the Dent Du Geant. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go and ski it now unless your prepared to stay in the Torino Refuge to get an early start. It was touch and go with the heat but we made it down before the snow pack got too warm. It was an awesome place to ski starting with a vague couloir which enters a massive hanging face which then joins the classic Marbrees couloir from the Col du Rochefort. . It was relatively easy to get to despite the deep powder snow we had to wade up and the short tricky mixed steps to get to the base of the Dent Du Geant. We put a rope on for the last section up to the col where you begin to ski as the climbing was insecure in places with loose, cold snow covering scree and rock slabs. Still a super fun day out and the spring corn in the lower sections of the Marbrees was super fast and fun!! It was good to get out with Ross again, its been a while.
Ross on the last change over with the south face marked in red and Plan B in yellow.
Col hopping in the rouge can be fun but it can be boring when you have 3 year old split skins…. Myself and Ross wanted to ski a line on the Mont Oreb so we quested over there on the 25th to see what was what. We couldn’t find the way in so went to B plan. There wasn’t enough snow in the B plan so we ended up skiing the South Face normal route which was interesting with spurs and gully’s and chamois trotting about and nice snow in places.
On the ridge over to Mont Oreb summit.
Getting the good stuff at the top.
Ross with the Col Du Berard in the back on the left. this was the second col we passed that day.
Ones of those days of endless laps, good snow, and happy faces. Why don’t I spend my winters in Courmayeur? We headed through the tunnel this morning with low expectations and came back through feeling happy with what we had packed in. After a few quick tree runs we skied one lap of the Marbree Couloir from Hellbroner and finished off the day at Courmayeur launching pillows in the trees. The perfect ski day. I’d never been to the Marbree before and I can thoroughly recommend it. The light wasn’t perfect but it was still enough to see what you were doing an the snow was still light and fluffy in places even at midday.