Skiing in the Mont Blanc Massif – Spring 2017
A selection of good memories in a chronological order
Col des Cristaux
AD, 5.1, E2 – 42-50°/500m – good turns on this powder filled NE-face
2nd day of a longer period in Chamonix. Snow was even better than when I skied it last year. Special thanks to Joni for breaking trail all the way!ii
Joni put some more pictures online here.
Couloir des Aiguilettes, lower section: PD, 4.1, E1
That day Julius joined us, keen to hit some steeper slopes as he said. The east couloir right next to the famous rock climbs on the Grand Capucin and its satellite peaks looked promising and not too demanding. Unfortunately it was bad snow, still we made it down okay. The east sides weren’t yet transformed completely, but snow softened by the sun skied quite well. Too bad that the shadow in the main slope let the snow refreeze immediately, leaving a terrible breakable crust..
Col d’Entrèves / Aig. d’Entrèves PD, 4.2, E2 – 40-45°/500m
“The tour is a great combination of ski touring and ski mountaineering with a challenging steep skiing descent. After skiing the 500m face of 40 to 45 degrees, the run continuous on the lower angle and playful slopes of Glacier de Toule.
Col d’Entreve is reached by 30 min of skinning after skiing down from either Aiguille du Midi or Punta Helbronner towards the Cirque Maudit. Once at Col d’Entrve a short scramble up the west ridge of Aiguille d’Entreve takes you to the start of the south shoulder.”
Text and overview photo: (c) Mountain Spirit Guides
South Face of Col des Droites
PD, 4.2, E2 – Fantastic spring skiing and pure joy on this long and sustained 40° slope 🙂
Joni and I had planed a two-day tour aiming to ski the south side of the Col des Droites in hope to find good spring skiing. The night before we set off, we got a phone call from Hannes telling us he will show up in Chamonix the next morning 😀
So we did a last-minute reservation for him on the Couvercle hut. Luckily Chamonix hasn’t seen many visitors this spring, so the huts were far from being booked out. It was also his first time on the Midi so we had to show him around on the terraces of the summit station also including a brief visit to the Helbronner side before eventually starting our climb up to the hut.
More pictures here: Link ->
Aiguille de Blaitière
We definitely have to return someday for the Spencer Couloir! 4.3/5.1, E3 to where we turned around.
After two full weeks of high pressure, that day was an act of desperation. We went halfway up the Aig. de Blaitiere. We knew the Spencer Couloir wasn’t in condition but thought about going up as far as possible in order to find dry, skiable snow…
We had to turn around at the rock band in the lower half.
=> More pictures on Joni’s Blog here.
Back in the Val d’Arpette
Pointe d’Orny: Couloir Trifide, Branche Orientale – PD+, 4.3, E2
A long day of walking and a very long climb, together something like 1800 vertical meters, of which 800m are for the couloir itself! We found 10cm of dust on crust. At this time at the end of April it was for sure not the worst conditions to be found.
Again, more pictures from Point d’Orny can be found here.
Traverse Glacier du Milieu – Aig. d’Argentière – Couloir Barbey
AD, 5.1, E3 – 45°/600m, section 50°
Similar situation like a year ago: Fresh snow on the north faces of the Argentière basin, good weather and actually the last day before the lifts at GM closed for the season. Like many other skiers we wanted to take advantage of the last day of easy lift access. Still remembering last year’s clusterfuck on Les Courtes, we chose a line on which people might not climb and ski on top of one another. We weren’t exactly alone on the Aig. d’Argentière (Milieu-Barbey traverse) but people exercised prudence and waited for each group to reach the bergschrund safely.
Don’t miss this neat article from the group that skied after us: http://penteraide.com/aiguille-argentiere-couloir-barbey-ski/
If there is one classic run in Chamonix, it’s Glacier Rond!
4.3, E3 – 45° for many exposed meters.
* The Glacier Rond – as it is incorrectly known – is a legendary Cham classic. The actual Glacier Rond is a small glacier beneath a towering serac and is not part of the ‘Rond’ ski descent. However, this stunning hanging glacial face has been collectively referred to as the Rond for many years. (src: fatmap.com)