Its really has been an incredible winter. I really couldn’t have asked for a better one. Although I’m sure that people will be skiing out here long into May/June, no doubt making fearless and brave descents of the classic steeps, its time for me to call time. If I can sum up this winter with one word it would be “pow”. Pow as in short for Powder and by far and away the best type of snow for skiing. Today was no exception and after a false start up the Col Du Diable we turned our sights on the North Face of the Noire and found some prime time stable, deep, cold pow.
We got to within about 200m of the top of the Col du Diable (a long morning in itself) before the snow got too isothermal to continue. With each step I started to sink above the height of my ski boots in the manky heavy snow. We decided to turn back, which was the right move as it was already becoming too heavy and slidey to ski. The idea of being dragged down the face in a wet slide appealed to neither of us. After we skied down (passing some guys at the Shrund at 11am?!?!?! WTF, way to warm for a lie in on that one!) we turned our sights on the North Face of the Noire. I’ve never seen tracks down this thing and its always been something I’ve looked at with eager eyes. Today was the day for it and after a short climb up the south west facing couloir in the scorching heat we arrived at the top of the snow patch and got ready to ski. Some friends had got lost and gone up the wrong couloir and had to do some mixed climbing to get down to where we were. Oops!
The snow was perfect and we made our way down the face following the 4 tracks past a 30m abseil, some rocky side stepping, and a 3m down climb at the bottom. Proper ski mountaineering and proper good skiing. The line’s not super steep but it is exposed and steep enough that a fall could be quite serious.
So that’s it for a while I’m afraid folks. It’s been a good winter with many happy memories. I’m heading back to the UK for a bit to do some work but no doubt I’ll be putting some posts up of adventures back there and fingers crossed I’ll be back at some point this summer/ autumn for another alpine fix.