Alaska 2008 – Ruth Gorge

This was an amazing trip into the Ruth Gorge with the Benson twins and Nick Wallis. We were blessed with stable deep sluffy powder and enjoyed skiing in the Japanese couloir the West Face of Barille and some easier tours.  We built a large snowhouse which was large enough for the 4 of us and made for a civilised dining. At nights the Northern lights shown brightly with orange, reds and greens, although with -30C temps we didnt hang around outside the tent for long. also snuck a couple heli runs in, be rude not to in AK!Alaska 007

En route towards the Moose’s ToothAlaska 014 Alaska 018 Alaska 022 Alaska 027

Trenching up Japanese CouloirAlaska 035 Alaska 036

Rooster’s Comb Alaska 042

Getting steeper in Japanese CouloirAlaska 048 Alaska 057 Japanese CouloirIMG_0022

Orca Lodge, PNH CordovaIMG_0045 IMG_0091 IMG_0364

Kelly Gray looking after us
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Our snowhouse in the Ruth GorgeIMG_2270 IMG_2544ed Pete1

Me skiing a run called 'happiness'. Photo: Pete Benson

Me skiing a run called ‘happiness’. Photo: Pete Benson

West Face Barille

Alps 2005

This Alpine trip was fantastic and covered a few areas, starting out in Les Ecrins in January we ice climbed and ski toured before moving North to Chamonix. There we spent one cold day at the end of January climbing the Swiss route on Les Courtes on squeeky neve. Then we headed East into La Valais to ski tour on the Breithorn and Monte Rosa areas, finally finishing off in the Chamonix area skiing some classics like Col de Cristeaux and the Armencettes. Alps 2005-6 Alps 2005-7

La Grave Icefalls, Andy Benson on the LeadAlps 2005-8 Alps 2005-9 Alps 2005-10

Hey Fella!Alps 2005-11
The Davin Couloir and Les Agneaux Alps 2005-14 Alps 2005-15 Alps 2005-16 Alps 2005-17 Alps 2005-18 Alps 2005-19 Alps 2005-20

Quiet Day at the Hut in the EcrinsAlps 2005-21 Alps 2005-22 Alps 2005-23

Crux Pitch, Vallon DiableAlps 2005-24

Me After a Stunning Ice RouteAlps 2005-25

The Benson Twins and Nick Wallis in the EcrinsAlps 2005-26 Alps 2005-27

Nick Wallis above Col de LauteretAlps 2005-28

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La Verte and Les DrusAlps 2005-34

Heading off up the Swiss Routes on Les Courtes
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Aiguille du Midi from Le MontAlps 2005-42 Alps 2005-45

Teams competing in the MezzalamaAlps 2005-46 Alps 2005-48

Summit Ridge of the BreithornAlps 2005-50

The Mezzalama Heading over Castor and PolluxAlps 2005-51

The Schwarze Glacier next to the Breithorn

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The Matterhorn at Dawn from Monte RosaAlps 2005-55

At the Monte Rosa HutAlps 2005-56

Monte RosaAlps 2005-57

MatterhornAlps 2005-58 Alps 2005-59

CouturierAlps 2005-60

Window Shopping in the Argentiere Basin. i.e. waiting on weatherAlps 2005-61 Alps 2005-63

Y CouloirAlps 2005-64 Alps 2005-65

Col des CourtesAlps 2005-66

Col de CristeauxAlps 2005-67

The NE on Les CourtesAlps 2005-68 Alps 2005-69

Heading into the ConscritsAlps 2005-70 Alps 2005-71

Me and the West Face of Mont Blanc Alps 2005-72

Ryler on Domes de MiageAlps 2005-74

Skiing down the ArmencettesAlps 2005-75 Alps 2005-76 Ryler at the Argentiere HutAlps 2005-77

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Ryler, Wolfgang, Thomas, Jessica and Friends on Col de CristeauxAlps 2005-79

Dawn on Mont DolentAlps 2005-82

Mark Ryle on Col des Cristeaux and some Glacier ArtAlps 2005-83 Alps 2005-84

Old Skool, Argentiere Basin Steeps on Altitrails!Alps 2005-85 Mark Ryle on Col des Cristeaux

Tour Ronde Brenva

This week I have had the fortune and pleasure of two runs down in the Brenva cirque in great powder throughout the 2000 m + descent. The first run entered the Brenva Glacier down Couloir Cache, the second time we took the South West Couloir from the summit of Tour Ronde. This time I enjoyed the company of Michelle and Andy Benson.Tour Ronde Brenva-2Tour Ronde Brenva-3Tour Ronde Brenva-5Tour Ronde Brenva-10Tour Ronde Brenva-13Tour Ronde Brenva-16Tour Ronde Brenva-18Tour Ronde Brenva-19Tour Ronde Brenva-27Tour Ronde Brenva-28

The Brenva Face of Mont Blanc in the background.Tour Ronde Brenva-34

The amazing backdrop of the icy North Face of the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey, first skied by Anselme Baud and Patrick Vallencent, and its impressive rocky East Face which has only been skied by Italian Maestro Stephano de Benedetti in the early 80’s. De Benedetti poetically describes his motivation and rewards for taking on the immense psychological challenges of Big Mountain Skiing in the clip below from the movie ‘Steep’. Check it out:

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Omega

In 2007 Omega was a route on everyones wish list. Rarely in condition and with a reputation formed from Nick Bullock’s unfortunate ankle snapping fall that seemed to justify its R rating, it was with a bit of intrepidation that I headed in with Andy Benson to the Leschaux hut. As it happened we werent the only ones psyched and a French team came sprinting up the glacier and caught us as we approached the hut. This was less than ideal as the line is a defined gully line that would channel falling ice down it. Come the morning the Frenchies charged off up the glacier in the dark leaving us far behind. I’d had a fever during the week and it started to make itself felt again on the approach so there was no chance of catching the French lads.Going onto a long route was the last thing I wanted as to do in a cold sweat but Andy had limited time so on we went. Luck was in when we got to the foot of the route as the French guys started climbing a wall and we knew the route followed a corner so moving round to the right had us in pole position and Andy launched onwards.  The climbing is sustained and continuously interesting throughout and of a slabby nature so more technical than pumpy.