This day has been a dream of mine and Ross for some time. We had talked about it for three seasons and had yet to find the perfect day when all the stars were aligned. Sometimes its best just to throw caution to the wind and get out there and chase your dream, even though we knew conditions wouldn’t be ideal.
The plan was to stay in the Grandes Montets top station to make an early start to climb the Couturier Couloir to the summit of the Aiguille Verte. From here we would descend down the ridge to the top of the Whymper Couloir where we would start our descent on ski’s.
The climb up was less than ideal with several sections of black ice, some funky serac climbing and some deep crevasses to cross high up on the Grands Montets Ridge. It was however mostly just steep snow climbing it still took its toll on the body and mind. I took my lightweight ski touring axes with me, which weren’t perhaps the best tools for the job but I still managed to bash my way through the bullet hard ice sections. It was gusting pretty hard on the summit and we knew we had little chance of finding good spring corn in the Whymper. The wind was blowing straight onto the couloir and counteracting the suns affect of softening the snow. We meet Seth Morrison and his partner at the top of Couloir. They had climbed up and reported that it was super hard snow. After watching them ski we knew it would be manageable but not pleasant but there was no talk of abseiling.
We jumped turned and scraped our way down the couloir. Not in the best style admittedly but what little soft snow there was had already been scrapped and what was left was either very firm or slightly crusty. Not ideal ski conditions but we still managed to make it all the way down the face without getting the rope out. This was my first time skiing on the Verte and my first 5.3 in hard snow. It was also Ross and Mikko’s first time on the summit which was a great moment to share. It was also my first time skiing with Mikko Heimonen, who is probably one of the most understated extreme skiers operating in Chamonix at the moment.
Thanks for a great day guys…even though you might count it as type 2 fun it will be one of those days that is etched into my memory forever.