Winter Round Up

Its been a while since I posted a blog and thats mainly because after a few dry years it started snowing in Europe early December and kept snowing until the end of May. That meant it was a pretty full on 6 months with very little time to put ‘pen to paper’ so to speak.

I started the winter with a herniated L5-S1 disc which caused muscle wastage, power and recruitment speed in my leg. For example if I tried to stand on my tip toes my left leg would sink until my heal was on the floor.  Thanks to the Osteo/Pro-runner Carlton Rowlands I mannaged a fast comeback.  The recovery went from the lows of skiing down the Midi arete in December and taking my skis off midway, unable to handle the vibration without nerve pinching and having uncontrolled leg movement, to basically doing my stuff and not holding back.

Mid winter also included 2 months of ski guiding and the IFMGA ski guides test which I am happy to report went smoothly for me. 3 exams down and all thats left is the final alpine test this August which I’m now fully focused on.

With a lot of my ski partners injured or retired, I did a lot of solo missions and decided to leave my camera at home and take the gopro out for a change to capture a few of my powder turns. I’m a very impatient person so taking time to make good edits while getting ready to go out the following day is not my strong point but it gives a flavour of how good the skiing in Europe was this year. These are all edits from the high mountain and arguable the most fun skiing was in the trees early December with an incredible base over the spines and ridges before the Christmas and January rain.

Here’s a few of the memorable days:

Col de la Verte with Drew Tabke

 

Mallory with Tof Henry, Arthur Ghilini, Nate Wallace and Chris

 

Mallory with Tof Henry, Jacob Wester and Babs Charlet

 

Pain de Sucre with Dave Searle and Guillaume Mars

 

Midi North Face – Col du Plan with Jacob Wester, Bird Early and Andre Dalkarl

 

Midi North Face – Col du Plan with Miilet de Papy

 

West Couloir, Aiguille du Midi with Miilet de Papy

 

Oreilles de Lapin with Michelle Blaydon

 

Cosmiques Couloir with Jesper Petersson

 

Rocco with Tof Henry, Benjamin Carvallo, Raimundo de Andraca, Galo Viguera

 

Rond with Tof Henry, Benjamin Carvallo, Raimundo de Andraca, Galo Viguera

 

Para Face with Cedric Bernardini, Luca Martini, Jamie

 

Cosmiques Couloir with Jacob Wester, Andre Dalkarl and Michelle Blaydon

 

Droites SW Face, solo from first lift on Aiguille du Midi, -30C morning!

 

Cosmiques Couloir with Michelle Blaydon

 

Oreilles de Lapin with Erik Wallner

 

Aiguille de Mesure NE Face, Aiguilles Rouges, solo

 

Solo skiing from the bend of Couturier in flat light as the cloud rolled in, then an afternoon sun run on Z de Papy the same day

 

Early February powder run on Col de la Verte from where it got rocky mid height

 

Solo run finding the complex line on Z de Papy

 

Skyway, Rond and Para Face with Jesper Petersson and Guillaume Mars

 

Solo training on the an icy Rond early season with a loaded arete

 

South Face of Tour Ronde into Brenva Glacier before Christmas with Michelle Blaydon and Morgan Sahlen

 

Col des Courtes with Tof Henry and Andre Darlkarl

 

Shoulder of Aiguille du Tacul with Michelle Blaydon, probably the best top to bottom snow quality I’ve ever come across

 

Pre-Christmas Couloir Cache into the Brenva Glacier with Tom Coney

 

A solo mission hitching through to Skyway, under the cables, Marbree and then back to Chamonix via the Valley Blanche. Marbree was so sick until I hit a rock and broke my 2 day old ski under the foot. It happened to be my left leg that took the shock which was recovering from the disc herniation onto the sciatic nerve route for that leg. After more than a little worry I’d suffer a setback, I woke up fine the next day. Lucky, very lucky.

Chamonix Ski Album 2014

I’m just back from an amazing 5 week adventure skiing couloirs in the remote fiords on Baffin Island. Before I left I didn’t get a chance to post this collection of photos from the Chamonix season (which has only just ended – btw). The season went by quickly for me and my focus was more on skiing than photography but there are still some images worth sharing.

More on Baffin later but here you go, lots of diamond studded memories from the Chamonix season thanks to: Michelle Blaydon, Dave Searle, Liz Daley, Davide de Masi, Cedric Bernardini, Mikko Heimonen, Kirsti Lehtimaki, Minna Rihiimaki, Tom Grant, Luca Pandolfi, John Minogue, Dave Rosenbarger, Greg Roche, Bjarne Salen, Jeremy Bogen, Seth Morrison and many others.

Chamonix skiing 2014-2-2 Cedric Bernardini

Chamonix skiing 2014-124 Cedric BernardiniChamonix skiing 2014-123 John MinogueChamonix skiing 2014-122 John MinogueChamonix skiing 2014-121 John MinogueChamonix skiing 2014-120 Chamonix skiing 2014-118 Chamonix skiing 2014-117 Dave Searle Chamonix skiing 2014-115 Chamonix skiing 2014-114 Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-113 Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-110 Chamonix skiing 2014-107 Chamonix skiing 2014-106Dave Searle and Liz DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-105 Chamonix skiing 2014-104 Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-103 Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-101 Searle, De Masi and DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-100 Liz Daley, perma-stoked
Chamonix skiing 2014-97 Searle, De Masi, DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-96Dave Searle and Liz Daley
Chamonix skiing 2014-94 Liz DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-93 Liz DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-92 Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-91 Liz Daley Chamonix skiing 2014-88 Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-86 Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-85 Michelle Blaydon, Caroline Gleich and Colin HaleyChamonix skiing 2014-82

Greg RocheChamonix skiing 2014-81 Dave Searle and Mikko Heimonen on Aiguille VerteChamonix skiing 2014-80 Chamonix skiing 2014-79 Chamonix skiing 2014-71

Dave Searle and Mikko Heimonen en route to CouturierChamonix skiing 2014-70

Chamonix skiing 2014-69

Me in the boxChamonix skiing 2014-68 Chamonix skiing 2014-67

Michelle Blaydon after the Domenech CouloirChamonix skiing 2014-66

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-64

Mikko HeimonenChamonix skiing 2014-63

Mikko HeimonenChamonix skiing 2014-62

Mikko Heimonen, Kirsti Lehtimaki and Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-61Ross Hewitt
Chamonix skiing 2014-60

Tom GrantChamonix skiing 2014-59 Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-58

Dave RosenbargerChamonix skiing 2014-57

Spines in the DolomitesChamonix skiing 2014-56

RH in Holzer

Chamonix skiing 2014-55

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-54 Chamonix skiing 2014-53

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-52

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-51

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-50

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-49 Chamonix skiing 2014-48 Chamonix skiing 2014-47

Kirsti LehtimakiChamonix skiing 2014-46

Minna RihiimakiChamonix skiing 2014-45 Waiting at the MidiChamonix skiing 2014-44

Courmayeur to myselfChamonix skiing 2014-43 Liz Daley Storm Riding

Liz Daley

Chamonix skiing 2014-41

Davide de MasiLiz Daley Spine Riding

Liz DaleyChamonix skiing 2014-38

Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-37

The powder panda attracting looks from the localsChamonix skiing 2014-36

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-35

Jeremy Bogen

Chamonix skiing 2014-34 Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-33

Liz Daley

Chamonix skiing 2014-32

Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-31

Jeremy BogenChamonix skiing 2014-30

Davide de Masi Chamonix skiing 2014-28

Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-27

Davide de MasiChamonix skiing 2014-26 Chamonix skiing 2014-24

Michelle Blaydon before skiingChamonix skiing 2014-22 Chamonix skiing 2014-21

Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-20 Chamonix skiing 2014-19

Dave SearleChamonix skiing 2014-17

Dave Searle, Bjarne Salen and John.Chamonix skiing 2014-15

Bjarne Salen Chamonix skiing 2014-13

Ross Hewitt – CouturierChamonix skiing 2014-12

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-11

Michelle Blaydon

Chamonix skiing 2014-10

Michelle BlaydonChamonix skiing 2014-9

Seth MorrisonChamonix skiing 2014-8

Seth Morrison and Nate WallaceChamonix skiing 2014-7

RHChamonix skiing 2014-6 Chamonix skiing 2014-6-2

RH on Aiguille VerteChamonix skiing 2014-5

Minna RihiimakiChamonix skiing 2014-5-2

RH, WhymperChamonix skiing 2014-4

Luca PandolfiChamonix skiing 2014-4-2

RH in WhymperChamonix skiing 2014-3 Chamonix skiing 2014-3-2 Dave Searle and Mikko Heimonen in CouturierChamonix skiing 2014-2 Chamonix skiing 2014-2-3Dave Searle in Couturier

Marbree

Marbree

Its about to pop open.Marbree-2Then again, maybe not.

Rectiligne Couloir, Pas de Chevre

First bin up Grands Montets. The mercury reads -20C. We’ve queued for an hour and the cold has crept insidiously up through the soles of ours boots and numbed our toes. The snow in the Pas de Chevre is untouched and it will be a race to there first. Running down the stairs creates some warmth but as I ski into shady Pas de Chevre the wind chill is impressive and I feel my cheeks and nose freezing and I have to stop to rewarm my hands. As we drop into the 400 m straight chute of Rectiligne Couloir its like showering in -20C with overhead blower stripping any remaining heat from my body… but its also subliminal and it would be sacrilege to stop.

Photos from Dave Searle

Rectiligne Rond-2Rectiligne Rond-3Rectiligne Rond-5Rectiligne Rond-4Rectiligne Rond

Powder

Rectiligne – Grand Envers – Rond. Great to ski with Bjarne and John for first time. And it was blower. Rectiligne GE Rond-9Dave Searle on the Rond exit couloirScreen Shot 2014-01-28 at 18.57.10

Me opening Rectiligne Couloir in perfect -20C blower.Rectiligne GE Rond

John and Bjarne Salen is in there somewhere!Rectiligne GE Rond-2BjarneRectiligne GE Rond-3

SearlerRectiligne GE Rond-4Rectiligne GE Rond-5

Rectiligne GE Rond-6Rectiligne GE Rond-7Rectiligne GE Rond-8Rectiligne GE Rond-10