Friday, April 19, 2013

Bad weather stops High Level Route but its not all bad

Anik Mercure and her husband Francois Brissette traveled all the way from Canada to join me for an attempt on the Haute Route. The dates had been in the diary for a long time and every detail talked through. All the huts had been booked back in December.
We had a brilliant warm up day skiing the Crochue -Berard traverse in the Aiguille Rouge and Francois made a quick video of the day

All was good except the new weather forecast. Yet all we could do was pack our bags and turn up at Les Grands Montets at 8.30 am the next morning and hope the weather forecast wasn't as bad as predicted. It was snowing . We weren't going anywhere. Well anywhere near the Haute Route. Instead I quickly came up with a plan B.

All it did was snow and snow and snow. The next day we decided to head for Combloux to take advanatge of the last of the tree skiing of the year. This plan went awry when we discovered that a Piste Basher had crashed into a pylon on the key Christomet lift and closing half the resort. We did manage to rescue the situation by using our skins to access the off piste runs. There was a lot of snow:

The next day it was snowing so hard that we did nothing. However the forcast was now very good and so we decided to head Arolla and then the Dix Hut. It was from this point that we got a pretty fantastic mini ski tour in. From the Dix Hut we traversed the Pigne d'Arolla and down to the Vignettes Hut. We then headed to Zermatt and managed to ski all the way into the village.

The next day things got even better because we flew back from Zermatt to the top of the Pigne and were lucky enough to get knee deep fresh tracks down the Tsijore Nouve Glacier all the way back to the Land Rover certainly the descent of the season. Here is a quick you tube summary

We should have left it at that but on their arrival in Chamonix Francois and Anik had booked onto a Vallee Blanche descent where they had seen nothing. I suggested we ski it again . This time they did get to ski it , but had to endure the winning combination of chopped up frozen snow interspersed with boiler plate ice. In addition by way of a sub plot we narrowly missed seeing a plane force land on the Mer de Glace when the pilot seemingly realised he hadn't enough power to clear the Geant Ice fall

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