Wednesday, March 28, 2007


So the plan was to finish the Haute Route having been forced down to Arolla two years ago. Peter Whelan,Nigel Costain and John Howarth all met in the village and then headed up to the Bertol Hut. But as we trudged up hill the weather deterioated and we arrived six hours later somewhat shattered. It snowed all night and in the morning we couldn't see a thing. Eventually we decided that going to Zermatt was a bad idea due to reports from various Zermatt Guides that the avalanche risk was too high. So as the weather improved a bit we decided to escape back to Arolla. Our consolation prize was 1500 meters of light waist deep powder all the way to the village.
Back in the village things got really good we checked into the Hotel Mt Collon and the next day we went Heli skiing from the Pigne d'Arolla. We finished our time in Arolla by using the lift system to catapult us up towards some exceptional snow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Haute Route for science

We have just come back from the Haute Route which we did with out a road break going via La Fouly then onto the Grand St Bernard Monastery through to the Velan Hut and then up and over the Plateau du Coulouir. Conditions were perfect and we didn't see a cloud for seven days. However when we awoke on the eighth day at the Vignettes Hut the bad weather had arrived. We decided to sit it out for a day in the hope that we might make it through to Zermatt, but the weather never improved and the following day we bailed to Arolla in thick snow an very cold winds,
Part of he aim of the trip was to collect snow samples which would be examined for Isotopic variations which might shed light on where and when snow is formed the atmosphere. The research was led by Professor Jim Kirchner from Berkeley University in California and two hugely experienced Avalanche Forecasters Faerthen Felix and Jeff Brown. The final member of our trip was Paul Laudenschalger from Truckee.

Friday, March 09, 2007

As Good As It Gets

On Wednesay we skied at Les Grand Montets. Despite the best efforts of the lift station management coupled with an incorrect weather forecast we enjoyed untracked snow off the top of lift. It was as good as it gets. Or so we thought- because we finished the week by skiing the Glacier du Grande from a Heli drop on the Trient plateau. This consisted of perfect turn follwed by perfect turn .

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Very good off piste at Le Tour

Stephen Yeates, John Donner and Mike Woolford skied at Grands Montets in zero viz yesterday and today we were rewarded with good weather and trackless snow at Le Tour.