Sunday, July 06, 2014

Mid Summers Day Skiing Tradition

With a bit of imagination, luck and planning it is possible to get some amazing skiing on the longest day of the year.
For the last few years Reuben Berg and I have done just that . This mid summers day might have been the best so far. We drove round to Gressoney , rode the lift to Punta Indren put the skis on and skinned up to the Mantova Hut. some times when we have taken skis out in the summer we have had some strange looks, but not this time. The majority of parties were on skis and it was impossible to distinguish the scene from mid ski touring season. Conditions were perfect.
The next day we climbed Vincent Pyramid.
The weather was far from perfect and we had some cold strong winds to contend with. But from the summit in less than 20 minutes we were in the Gnefftti Hut drinking Cappuccinos.
The forecast for the next day was poor. We went to bed thinking that it would not be possible to do much the next day. Our goal had been to climb up to the Margherita Hut and spend the night. This is the highest building in Western Europe at a lung busting 4554meters.

However at day break the weather was not too bad so we thought we should go and have a "look" knowing that if the weather deteriorated we could retreat very quickly on skis. We were bolstered by the site of a helicopter delivering beer to the Margherita Hut reasoning that if the heli could fly then we should be able to make it . We did make it but the weather was decidedly sketchy as we finally made it and yes the beer was there:
The other delight was to meet the fantastic Giuliana, one of the Guardians of the Hut. A couple of years ago she climbed all the 4000 meter peaks in one summer.
The Hut was not busy that evening. 6 guests. Next morning getting out of the hut was a challenge- strong wind and zero visibility. We teamed up with a Swiss Guide and his client and navigated through a classic white out. Eventually we got below the cloud at the col Lys. From there we could really enjoy our selves with a fantastic powder descent followed by spring snow all the way to the Punta Indren cable car

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