Saturday, 27 February 2010

Big Monty & Col d'Argentiere

27th Feb Col d'Argentiere

Its been a while as the weather has been really rough here and I have been working a lot.

Anyways, the last few days have seen a load of snow coming down and rain in Chamonix. But the Remontee Mechanique has read 100cm of snow on Thursday and 60cm of snow on Friday so Saturday was the day! And oh yes, it was ultimate!

Up to the Col d'Argentiere

NE of the Droites. Lagarde looking like it needs some attention soon

Glenn and I managed to get up to Grand Montets for the lucky freshies from the Bochard and Herse lifts down the Combe Secret etc. Standard, awesome heavy powder skiing!

Come 11am, we had a reservation on the top lift so headed up to tour the Col d'Argentiere. More great views of the valley and seeing how things were shaping up.

Lets be honest, we were fairly buggered after our morning skiing so only made it half way up before sacking it off and grabbing more fresh tracks!

This is the last main tour (passon, chardonnet, argentiere, tour noir, col d'argentiere) on this side for me to do so pretty happy.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Envers du Plan with John & Sam

22nd Feb Envers du Plan Vallee Blanche

John and Sam, mates from home came down the VB today on a stunning morning with fresh snow! Sam is a trooper as it his 7th day skiing! There's a bit of inspiration Byron!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Cascade EMHM

17th Feb : Argentiere Ice Climbing

Argentiere : Rive Gauche

Plum taking the line direct over the bulges.

Me moving off the first stance

An interesting day! and wow! I was pretty wiped out after yesterday! Good times.

So, with the Foehn wind coming over and the temperatures going through the roof (+2) in Chamonix, we decided to go ice climbing.... it turned out all well!

We headed down to the Rive Gauche to check out what was there. Anyway, we found the EMHM cascade.

I think this is graded about 4+ but Plum (who pulled it out the bag today with some top climbing) the direct line was more about WI 5.

I had the recurring frozen fingers so bailed on the top pitch but hey. good times. Need new gloves!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Combe du Pouce !Amazing!

Not updated for a while as have been busy with work. Went Ice Climbing last week but nothing particularly worth writing home about. We went to the Cremerie (easy Ice cragging). Here there are easy lines but we found you could mix things up by taking steep lines here and there.

16th February (Pancake Day) What a day!

Plum enjoying the Combe du Pouce

With inspiration from TV Mountain Glenn, Plum and I headed up to ski the Combe du Pouce and the continuation to Servoz (Flegere>Servoz)

TV Mountain Link:

I have not heard of much traffic on this route and I couldnt find any written info about it. So we had a quick look at the map (the Samoens one) and sat in the VB pub and worked out a skiing line.

A pleasant surprise. Going straight up from the Index lift, past the gendarme then a traverse left we crossed over the Col to a big view over the Pouce. I remembered the descent from summer and there is a very small downclimb followed by a fantastic shady bowl.

The skiing is varied and great with lots to keep you entertained. At the end of the descent, there is an amazing gorge with pitches of superb skiing.

Next was the second ascent which involved a 400m of ascent but was quite lengthy. Still, lovely spot very peaceful with nobody around.

The descent to Servoz involved skiing another gorge which had thin snow covering in sections. After, we had another small up and then some fun summer track skiing down to Servoz.

I would really recommend this! Great quality skiing. We all decided that it could be super sketchy after snowfall and we were pretty pleased that it has been 5 days after snowfall.

I guess there are many variations of the route we did, maybe later in the season the gorges would not ski so well and obviously getting down to Servoz could be difficult.

Glenn showing us how it is done

Midday sun and freshies

Glenn getting stuck in

Glenn getting smaller

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Plan de L'Aiguille Glaciers Bowl

6th Feb: Day off Work and its a powder day!

Need I say more. Carl and I had a great day with a fair amount of freshies to be had!

Here are some shots of Carl skiing the Glaciers Bowl.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Col du Passon

4th February : Col du Passon

Once again Plum and I (surprise there) headed out on a bit of a research trip. Firsty, I havent done the col du Passon before and secondly, we wanted to check out several routes in the Argentiere Basin and on the Chardonnet. The previous post shows some pictures of how things are shaping up there.

Argentiere Glacier

The Col du Passon starts from the top of the Grand Montets, you ski straight down onto and over the glacier. Then after a straight forward 750m ascent by ski and hike over the col next to the Aig du Chardonnet you are brought out overlooking the Tour Glacier. Great access from here to the Albert Premier Hut but also great skiing to Le Tour. So much fresh snow with a slight crust. Good skiing right now.

After a straight forward skin up, we hiked up the last 100m of 35 degree snow.

More photos of us having a shit time.

Why are there so many fresh tracks still to be had on these classic tours? Where is everyone?

Argentiere Basin Photos

Here are a few piccies that we took on our recce today to get an idea of how things were shaping up. Photos taken 4th Feb 2010.

Lagarde Couloir (Droites)

Ginat (Droites)

Couturier (Verte)

Escarra? (Chardonnet)

Droite N Face / Tournier Spur / Lagarde
Petit Viking

Monday, 1 February 2010

Cosmiques Couloir

Looking down the Cosmiques

The exit near the snout of the glacier

1st Feb :

Another day off and a chance to get out with Plum. A Chamonix classic this morning and a great way to break in February. It was freezing at the top of the midi lift - face, nose and eyelashes all frozen up, skiing with down jacket!

Starting with 2 abseils (60m and 40m) The Cosmiques Couloir is a steep ski taking a line down to one side from the Abri Simond hut off the Vallee Blanche through broken rock barriers starting at 50 degree slopes for about 100m before opening out into sections of 45 degrees and 40 degrees for some 800m+. You really wouldn't want to fall from near the top...

Combine this with the snowfall over the weekend and there we have it. 2 happy skiers getting stuck into deep snow on a good gradient! The descent is direct and brings you straight down to Chamonix. The route finishes at the Tunnel du Mont Blanc entrance, from where you hitch back.

I hope this sort of stuff isn't too addictive!

Cool report of the ski here:

Pictures to come, but here soon, the one above is just from my camera phone.