Archive for the ‘tour’ Category

Angelique couloir- © Luca Pandolfi

Angelique couloir- © Luca Pandolfi

This winter has probably been the best snow year in Chamonix I have experienced, but with so much bad weather there hasn’t been much opportunity to get up into the high mountains and most of the past six weeks have been spent lift served powder skiing. Its been incredibly good fun but left me unfit and unacclimatized, so as a warm up for bigger plans and to check the snow on the Southerly aspects, I headed up Les Courtes NE slope with Luca Pandolfi and Tom Grant with the plan to ski the Angelique couloir. (more…)


On the last day of the year i decided to head up into the Argentiere basin to check out how the North faces were looking… Nothing great until i turned the corner and saw the Col du Cristaux. It was completely full of powder and i couldn’t resist a solo mission on it. The snow was deep and the climbing was hard going with no one to share the boot pack and the recent excesses of christmas. Worth the effort as it was some of the best skiing i had all year, nothing beats making huge turns down a steep face.


Col du Cristaux (photo- Luca Pandolfi)

Chenavier couloir (photo- Luca Pandolfi)

Chenavier couloir (photo- Luca Pandolfi)


Tour Ronde- East face

Posted: May 21, 2012 in Ski, tour
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Last week a group including myself, Cedric Bernardini, Brendan O’sullivan, Tom Grant and Sylvain Reynaud headed up the Tour Ronde for some corn skiing and for the view into the Brenva basin from the summit. (more…)

Les Courtes- South face direct

Posted: January 28, 2012 in extreme, Ski, tour
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Les Courtes S Face. © Luca Pandolfi

On Wednesday afternoon myself and Luca Pandolfi caught the last bin up Grandes Montes with the aim of climbing up the N side of Les Courtes and skiing the south face. We headed for the swiss route early in the morning but soon after crossing the Burgshrund we realised there was a lot of hard ice on the route and Lucas snowboard boots would be too soft to climb the route safely. We quickly came up with a new plan to rappel off and walk round to the NE face so all was not lost. (more…)

Gran Paradiso N Face

Posted: July 3, 2011 in Alpine, Climb, Ski, tour
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Two weeks ago myself and Luca went to try to ski the north face of the Gran Paradiso, there had been unstable weather there and we were hoping there would be fresh snow on the face. We went over on Saturday afternoon and walked up in the evening after it had stopped raining. The walk is a nice one but it was a bit hard work with tent sleeping bag ect as we were to tight to use the hut!

The next day we were in no rush to set off as we had seen there was no fresh snow on the face and we would have to wait for the afternoon sun to soften the snow. By the time we set off the first group of climbers were nearly at the top of the face. We made good time and reached the top around mid day. The snow conditions were just about OK to ski but the wind was around 50km per hour! Two Italian friends were also at the top and had been waiting since the morning to the wind to drop so they could ski. We waited with them for another 3 hours but it didn’t drop. Eventually as it was getting late we skied down the normal route as it was just not safe to ski the tricky snow conditions in such high winds.

The skiing turned out to be great fun with hard snow at the top, some wind-blown powder in the middle and spring snow lower down. There were many skiers heading up as we were walking down and with lower winds the next day the face probably saw a lot a descents.

The N Face seen from our bivi spot

Luca walking towards the climb after our lazy morning

Ben climbing the N face

Yesterday Brendan and I got a first bin up the Midi to ski the Jager couloir. The couloir is well filled with snow and the burgshrund was easy to cross. There were excellent conditions in the couloir, even the snow cover on the icy step was good and there was no need for any side slipping. There was a large snow slide that came down the couloir just as we started to climb which was a little worrying but it turned out the stability was good and we easily controled our slough. The pictures from the decent are below.

On Sunday Brendan and I were planning on climbing the Swiss route on Les Courtes but the hut was full so we went up to the Argentiere glacier with a tent on Saturday. We got a last bin up and made the high traverse under the aiguille Verte to get as far up the glacier as possible before pitching the tent. We noticed that the Col de L’aiguille vert had some ski tracks on it from earlier in the day and decided to change our plans to try to ski it. The Burgshrund is still quite open and difficult to pass, we tried in one spot and failed but once we found our way through we made quick progress climbing as there was only a very small layer of soft snow. The weather quickly started to come in and at about 10am we found ourselves in a white out over 2/3rds of the way up. It is not much fun trying to ski 55 degrees in these conditions on hard snow so we decided to wait for a break in the weather and ski from where we were. The snow for the top part of the decent was hard but lower down there was a soft layer sitting on top making for some fun turns. We found out today that the guys who had skied it the day before had to turn around not too far above where we did due to ice showing through. It has snowed since but i think it has probably been to cold for this to stick to the ice yet. The route can be seen below with the green dot showing where we skied from. I also managed to snap a few pics of Brendan during the break in the weather, we got very lucky as it came out of the cloud for about 15 min giving us time to ski but then it didn’t clear again all day.