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!
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.
The Schwarze Glacier next to the Breithorn
Skiing down the Armencettes Ryler at the Argentiere Hut
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.
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:
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.