May 31st 2009- Tour Rond 3792m North Face (TD 50°-55°)

Posted: January 26, 2010 in extreme, Ski

I had wanted to ski the North face of the Tour Rond for some time but a month earlier when conditions were perfect had had no one to do it with. Brendan was away and I didn’t fancy going on my own. We decided to see if it was still skiable later in the season, hoping the face wouldn’t be bare ice as it is for a lot of the year. The Picture below was taken April when it was very snowy indeed.

A snowy North face of the Tour Rond.

Once at the top of the Midi we opted to take the Helbronner lift across, as from there it is only 10 minutes to the bottom of the face and we were feeling lazy. However this did not open until 10am so we were running short on time. When we got to the bottom there were two parties climbing the face having stayed on the mountain the night before. The snow cove looked adaquate so we set off soloing up until the ice gully. Once there I led a 50m pitch up the 60°  ice although I only needed to place two screws as it was easy climbing. Once again Brendans snowboard boots proved a problem  and one of his crampons flexed off. He was on top rope so it didn’t matter and he refixed it and carried on.

Once out of the gully we soloed on until a few meters from the top when the snow ran out and became ice. We set off from here, the snow was very hard for the first 50 meters and we were just scraping above the surface. A little lower on the top it became a little softer and we were able to relax slightly and enjoy the sking. We repelled through the ice section of the gully then skied some soft snow in the bottom of the gully that was protected from the wind. After this the snow was wind affected but had thawed slightly and the sking to the Burgshrund was reasonably easy. We jumped the Burgshrund into some soft snow and started heading back up to the Aguille du Midi lift. However due to our late start and me stupidly not eating anything all day we missed the last bin down and spent the night at the Cosmiques hut.

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