A Fine Link

Ski Mountaineering for me is about finding great link ups involving climbing, and skiing and traversing peaks. Last Sunday, after a cruzy day exploring Les Contamines with Irene, me and Josh Fawcett headed out to make some SKIMO (ski Mountaineering) and scored a pretty good day almost by mistake.  With a vague plan to hit the Traverse of the Noire and “possibly something else” and a even vaguer forecast suggesting some wind and precipitation at some point during the day we went into the day with an open mind.

We headed out from the Aiguille du Midi down the classic Vallee Blanche and over to the Italian side.  Hiking up the glacier to the start of the climb through the cold gusty wind with flakes of snow whipping past our noses we were slightly hesitant and came close to turning back a few times.. The weather was clear on the french side and we hoped the small localised weather spilling over from Italy wouldn’t follow us into the Traverse of the Noire. Thankfully by the time we reached the boot pack leading up to Pointe Yeild things were dying down so we carried on over the ridge to the top of the face.  I’d been here a few years ago with Tom, Ross and Michelle.. We got spooked out by wind slab and decided to head back. This time however there were about twenty tracks, ten going skiers left and ten going skiers right down the convex face. We opted for right hand option and skied down a little way to the steep choke which is normally pretty icey.

We side stepped down through this which was both tiring and intimidating due to the nature of the crumbling snow, but managed to score some pow turns on the lower face before busting hard skiers right through the glacier and over to the bottom of the Breche Puiseux. From here we decided we had enough time and psyche to go and ski the NW shoulder of them Aiguille Tacul aswell. The climb up the final gully was roasting hot but it was worth suffering the heat and softening snow as we found a few good turns on the way down this line. The best snow however was on the moraine bench hard skiers right going down to the Leschaux Glacier at the end.

A great little link up of about 1200m vertical ascent with some really good snow on the descents and with a variety of different terrain and views to keep us amused. All in all a good day out on the hill!

Click on the Pictures bellow to see them in gallery format.


First Ski Tour of the Winter! Glacier Mort

Pistes are OK, for a bit, but I personally get feed up of them pretty soon.  I’ve been hammering about in the resort quite a lot recently trying to build up the muscles in my legs which had all but withered away since my accident.  Everything was feeling good this week and with a good snowfall behind us over the past week it was time to take things a step further.  Time to go touring!! Me and Michelle Blaydon headed up to Flegere to ski the  Glacier Mort on Pointe Alphonse Favre.  The first hike up to the Col Des Aiguille Crochues was a sweaty, busy and generally tedious experience which could have been avoided had we got there a slightly earlier.  At one point I got wiped out by a punter who decided to fall on top of me whilst I was changing from ski’s to boots becasue my knee couldn’t deal with the slippy kick turns.   Apparently it was my fault?  I think not buddy .  After the second sweaty hike we got to the top of PAV and found some great snow which lead us down to the Berard valley and on to a nice cold beer in Le Buet.  Watch out for the cliffs on the descent if you head up there to do it.  We had to hike back up 30m or so after we started to ski because we got cliffed-out following a track.

More Info here.


Should got there earlier.

Showing the way to get to Pointe Alphonse Favre photo taken from Col des Crochues.

Michelle displaying good color co-ordination and technique on the last hike up to the summit. MT Blanc in the Background.

The view from the summit down to the Berard Valley. If you look closer (Click to enlarge) you'll see a shuffle track back up. We should have taken notice of that.