Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skiing but not as we know it.

Hard to describe what happenend but Jeff Brown and Faerthen Felix and I turned up in Courmayeur for a rendezvous with a helicopter. The plan was to use it to catapult us upwards so we could ski the north face of Mt Blanc. First problem was the pilot never turned up. Just as we were about to leave someone turned up who said he could fly a helicopter. So an hour and half later we took off and landed in a crazy place just below the Pitons Italian. We were faced with a narrow ridge and some thought provoking rock climbing. This was interspaced with some thigh deep trail breaking. Eventually we arrived below the Vallot hut where the writing was on the wall. Too much wind and not enough time meant we needed a plan B. Something different was what we came up with and that was to ski the Gouter Couloir. This is the standard way climbers attempt MT blanc in the summer, where hundreds of climbers pass each day. Today there was no one. The entry into the couloir was very steep and rocky, further down it mellowed out and we got sensational skiing into the ski resort of Les Houches where we picked up the piste and skied to the valley floor.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Too Much Snow Halts Haute Route.

Tom Leeming,Henry Grant, Alex Law, Charlie Langton and I had to abandon the Haute Route at the Montfort hut above Verbier. This was not before battling with cold windy conditions over to the Trient Hut. The Col Du Chardonnet was particularly blowy.
However the consolation prize was as good if not better than the Haute Route. We skied exceptional powder in Tzoumas, then Combloux [twice].All the boys agreed it was the best skiing they had ever had. We were also joined by Aspirant Guide Rob Jarvis who enjoyed himself very much too. Then Les Grands Montets. On our final day Walter joined us for a ski tour on the Mt Arpille above Martigny.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Three Countries in Three days on skis

Bill Mills and Greg Knott were very keen to attempt a tough challeging hut to hut ski tour which did not involve being with lots of other skiers.
So we did just that. At first we had to climb the col du Chardonnet . At the Col we came across a traffic jam at the top of the rappell. So we avoided that by climbing higher and descending the upper col. We then left everyone else and headed for the un manned hut the Saliena. We arrived and had to dig out the door.
Next day we traveresed the "Three Swiss Cols" to the village of La Fouly. This is one of the best days ski touring imaginable and again we saw no one. We were planning to stay at the hotel run by Andre. A unique transvsetite Mountain Guide. However Andre had retired and unsurprisingly moved to Tialand.
Any way the next day we climbed over the col du Ferret and dropped down into Italy. Skiing all the way to La Palud where we took the lift up and skied the Valley Blanche all the way back to Chamonix

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another 30 cm of fluffy white stuff.

Stacy Williams timed it right by arriving for some off piste skiing just after 30 cm of fresh snow. We left the Chamonix Valley and headed for Combloux where we had exceptional skiing. The lifts were slow to open because of the avalanche risk. When they did open several leemings killed them selves [8 in one day] by just charging down loads of steep gullies filled with deadly snow.
A couple of days later I had my first ever Russian clients Duma and Tanya. They were very good skiers who skied like there was no tomorrow and were quite a hand ful.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mixed Weather comes good and Walter hits the powder.

Reuben and Fiona Berg were joined by their daughter Rachel for 6 days skiing. At first the weather was warm and the snow suffered. Thankfully half way through the week it snowed and everything came good again. On our final day we were joined by Walter for a ski tour high above Martigny on the Arpille.