Posts Tagged ‘tom grant’

So I think pretty much everyone knows the Alps have had a pretty terrible season for snow so far….. But we have still managed to get out for some fun days and good skiing, it’s just been harder to find. Back at the very beginning of December I headed up the tour Ronde  first to ski the Gervasutti with Tom Grant and Ben Tibbits, then to ski the North face with Brendan O’Sullivan. Even though we had no snow in the valley, a rainy summer and autumn meant there was a lot of snow up high and we found some good conditions.

Unfortunately this wasn’t to last long as high winds stripped all but the most protected snow. This made things difficult for Ben Tibbits and I who had a photo shoot for Mountain Equipment’s fantastic new ski products  to shoot. We set out for two days in the Argentiere Basin and struggled on the first day but luckily managed to find a hidden stash of snow in the Aiguille du Chardonnets South East couloir on the second.

More recently  i have had a couple of good runs from the Aiguille du Midi with Jesper Petersson and Brendan O’Sullivan, however the glaciers have been more complicated than usual du to the lack of snow. There has been a lack of good lift served free riding with just a handful of good days at Grands Montets and the Helbronner but hopefully things will pick up now before the steep season begins.

On the way up the Tour Ronde Normal route. © Ben Tibbits

On the way up the Tour Ronde Normal route. © Ben Tibbits

Skiing the Gervasutti.

Skiing the Gervasutti. © Ben Tibbits

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Couloir Pelas Verney. ©skitour.fr

Couloir Pelas Verney. © skitour.fr

One morning I got a phone call from Luca asking me if I fancied a trip to the Ecrin’s. At first I wasn’t sure, I had work to do and we didn’t know what conditions were like, but as always Luca can be persuasive and after looking at the beautiful photo he sent me, I dropped everything  and agreed to leave the same evening. We were going to meet some Italian friends Roberto and Sacha over there and were joined last minute by Tom Grant. (more…)

Mont Blanc du Tacul South face.

Mont Blanc du Tacul South face. © Tom Coney

I had first thought of skiing this route after seeing it from the Fourche several years ago. However it’s not in any of the ski guide books and there is very little information online about it, so I forgot about it for a while. My memory was jogged after we skied the SW couloir from the col du diable as it’s in the same area and wanting to explore new places I thought it would be worth a look. (more…)

This winter had a lot to live up to after the consistent heavy snow falls we got last year, although it didn’t last as long we still had our fair share of powder days. Especially on the Italian side where the Helbronner lift delivered some of the best lift served free riding around.

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Ben skiing under the Helbronner cables. © John McCune

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Driving back up from Sallanches to Chamonix a few times recently I had noticed that the Dome de Miage North face was looking pretty white so I managed to persuade Brendan O’Sullivan and Tom Grant to join me for an early season ski mission. The plan was to ski the North face direct, but although it looked white from a distance strong North winds had stripped any skiable snow. The couloirs and slopes on the sides of the Mettrier ridge were a little more protected so we instead set our sights on this, however once joining the top of the spur we found only neve and rocks above us so were forced to start skiing still quite some way from the summit.

Although we didn’t succeed on our objective it was great to get on such a big line this early in the season and we had some great skiing from where we turned around, it was also great to spend some time in a beautiful basin we hadn’t visited before.

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Our Route, starting on the skiers left of the ridge then crossing it to join the couloirs on the skiers right. © Ben Briggs

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Les Courtes N-NE face

On Saturday afternoon myself and Tom Grant caught a late lift up the Grands Montets with plans to ski on Les Courtes. We were joined by Luca Pandolfi, Ross Hewitt and Mikko Heimonen who were planning on skiing the Couturier. We had a quick scope of our line and decided it needed a little longer to be in perfect condition and the Couturier also still had its ice section, so we joined forces for the N-NE face of Les Courtes. We set off the next morning after a good nights sleep but  unfortunately about half way up Ross turned back not feeling great. The boot pack was hard work in the deep snow but we reaped the rewards on the way down. When we were boot packing the summit slopes we were hitting hard ice under the 30 cm of fresh powder, so I made a couple of turns with Tom belaying to test if the snow was going to slab. When It didn’t  I untied and we enjoyed perfect pow for nearly all of the descent. I managed to ski through the rocky crux section linking the summit slopes with the hanging snow field while the others made a couple of short rappels. It was another perfect day with great friends and great snow on one of the most beautiful lines I have skied. Thanks Guys! (more…)

Frendo Spur Ski Line (rappels through the rock band)

Frendo Spur Ski Line (rappels through the rock band)

The forecast looked good for wednesday morning and being a bank holiday i decided to head up the midi for a ski. The window wouldn’t be big enough to go far, so that narrowed the options down to the north face. I have skied all of the classics a few times and fancied something a bit different so after some inspection the previous evening through my binoculars i easily convinced Tom Grant the Frendo was the line to go for. (more…)