Wow what a long time since we posted anything! We have been busy bees this winter. Mostly working so we have tried for quality over quantity when we have had the chance to go outside!
Chamonix is such a big playground that the potential to find new things is limitless, be it climb new routes, ski new lines or run new trails. So far I have managed 5 new ski adventures; well its five if you count the ice climbing fail Jack and I went on!
Two of these new adventures were on the same day and my first proper ski of the season. Pete and myself planed to ski a couloir under the main cliff of Brevent but the lift gods were against us and the top lift was closed. We decided to ski a lower gully where our planned line would have fed into, the snow was amazing but with the sun beating down and it was quickly turning heavy, odd for January when its supposed to be cold keeping the snow light and fluffy! Not happy with just that, we took a chance that the midi would open by now so we jumped on a bus and dashed across the valley. Arriving just in time to jump on the first lift of the day we were very happy that our decision paid off. We got off at the mid station and flew down untracked powder with some tree assisted rappelling in the middle of the descent back to town, this was made even more amazing as I was watching pete tear around on his water skis that he had mounted ski bindings on! Click here for more about Pete’s water skis.
New ski adventure three was supposed to be an ice climbing adventure with Jack. After an interesting ski approach that involved using outstretched poles to work out what was up and down we saw that our intended route, well, just wasn’t there and the others around it were falling apart! We bravely turned around and skied away down the Argentiere glacier battling with crusty snow, avalanche debris and chamois who seemed to be able to ski better than us! So not intended but a fun new ski adventure nevertheless!
Then came the time for me to be brave, get my balls out of my purse and be out of my comfort zone and enjoy some steep skiing. The Rectaligne couloir is a 300 meter couloir with a short section for 45 degrees at the top, that’s starting to get pretty steep – well I think so anyway! The scratchy steep entrance led into a beautiful open couloir with lovely snow, ending in the lower gentle powdery slopes of the Pas de Chèvre above the Mer du Glacé. Pete, Aine and myself had a thoroughly enjoyable morning, especially as we were the first to ski the line that day! Thats two days so far being the first people down lines, this surely can’t be Chamonix I’m writing about!
My most recent ski adventure was an amazing journey over four glaciers in the high mountain. A ski tour over the Breche Puiseux deep in the the mountains. Starting on the Gros Rognon descent of the Vallee Blanche we skied to the Salle a Manger then skinned up the Glacier des Periades under the wonkerly magnificent Dent du Geant. Putting skis on our backs, we climbed a couloir at the top of the glacier to the breche in appalling heat, at the top the heat suddenly disappeared as a freezing wind was briskly blowing from the North East. Quickly setting up our ropes we rappelled with frozen hands down into the shade and cold. It was definitely worth lugging the 50 meter ropes up as we could whiz all the way to the bottom of the cliff and not have to worry about touching the old frayed in situ rope that was half frozen into the mountain. The hot aches kicked in with vengeance as our hands came back to life as we basked of a short while in a spit of sun cresting through the ridge we had just descended. We skied down under the famous north face of the Grands Jorasses, it felt like there was a giant standing over us carefully watching us ski down to its toes. The crevasses in the Mont Mallet glacier were ginormous so taking care we flew down in beautifully cold powder snow to the Leschaux Glacier, from here we finally met up with the normal Vallee Blanche route onto the Mer du Glacé.
Georgie hasn’t been hiding in a cave! Just working! However she stole a few moments, got lucky and skied some stunning snow! She has also finally come round to the fact skiing can be bloody amazing! She has been borrowing big skis and for the first time felt that magnificent feeling of floating in snow rather than sinking with her current little needle skis.
We skinned up to the beautifully situated Chalet du Loriaz high above the Vallorcine valley. Once at the chalet we were starving so ordered some superb home made sausage, bean and lentil soup followed by fromage blanc and red berry magic for pudding, this made Georgie a happy bunny! We also said no to work one morning and with Pete and Aine headed through the tunnel for a day of Italian coffee, hot chocolate, a long lunch and a touch of fabulous skiing on the sunny side of the big white hill!
Thanks to Pete and Jack for the pictures of Dan and fun times!