Aiguille du Chardonnet- Migot spur and West couloir

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Alpine, Climb, Ski
Tags: , ,
Our route up the Migot spur in red and downthe West couloir in yellow.

Our route up the Migot spur in red and down the West couloir in yellow.

After recent good steep skiing conditions and some cool descents from other teams myself and Tom Grant were keen to ski something ourselves. However we had just had a week of bad weather and a lot of fresh snow and so we questioned the safety of skiing a big line. We decided to head up to the Albert 1ier refuge with the  Migot spur  in the back of our minds (which saw its first descent just the weekend before,) but happy just to do some mellow skiing on the glacier.

So after work on Friday evening we started at the Le Tour car park and made our way up to the hut. It was a beautiful clear night but very cold and we were grateful for the supply of wood to warm the winter room. In the morning we saw that the Migot spur was looking good to ski and that as long as the snow was stable we would go for it.

Breaking trail across to the start of the route was hard going and we had to wade through waist deep snow to get up to the burgshrund. We had spotted the best line which looked as if it would go without rappel and the route was well filled in. However as soon as we got established on the route we were on frozen icy snow which made for quick progress climbing.  We did encounter some sections that were perfectly skiable but none of the cold fresh snow had stuck to the route and in places the wind had left the snow with an icy sheen. To descend on our skis would have meant a lot of side slipping and most likely short sections of down climbing, probably only making turns on about 25% of the route. Both Tom and I thought while we could have descended and survived to tell the tale, it would not feel like a proper descent in this style and we would rather come back another day.

After this reasonably easy decision was made we headed over to the west couloir which we were going to ski if it was good or descend the normal way by rappel if not. We found it full of powder snow and our only worries from then on were not getting swept away but our sluff!

We skied down to the col Adams Riley, then down to the Le Tour glacier, traversed over to the col du Passon and skied down to Le Tour, all in perfect knee-deep snow. Although we didn’t get our big objective done it was a great day, especially for my first ski of the season!

Me skinning up Le Tour at sun set.

Me skinning up Le Tour at sun set.

Warmth!

Warmth!

Tom skinning towards the Aiguille du Chardonnet.

Tom skinning towards the Aiguille du Chardonnet.

P1020427

Aiguilles Rouges at dawn from the Le Tour glacier.

Me climbing up one of the few sections of skiable snow on the Migot spur.

Me climbing up one of the few sections of skiable snow on the Migot spur.

Me high on the spur.

Me high on the spur.

P1020440

Summit shot.

Tom on top of the Chardonnet.

Tom on top of the Chardonnet.

Me traversing to the start of the West couloir.

Me traversing to the start of the West couloir.

Me dropping into the West couloir.

Me dropping into the West couloir.

Tom skiing the West couloir.

Tom skiing the West couloir.

Me skiing great snow.

Me skiing great snow.

Jump turns in the narrowing before the traverse.

Jump turns in the narrowing before the traverse.

 

 

Tom on the exposed traverse, the only hard snow all day.

Tom on the exposed traverse, the only hard snow all day.

Tom skiing down from the Col Adams Riley.

Tom skiing down from the Col Adams Riley.

Me skiing down from the Col Adams Riley.

Me skiing down from the Col Adams Riley.

More good snow lower down on the way back to Le Tour.

More good snow lower down on the way back to Le Tour.

 

 

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Comments
  1. […] Aiguille du Chardonnet- Migot spur and West couloir « Ben Briggs. […]

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