Y Couloir, Aiguille d’Argentiere

All the North wind we have had has filled in the right hand branch of Y Couloir really well this year and I have been wanting to go there for some time. I was weighing up going solo to Croullante or going to the Y but persistent afternoon cloud on the Aiguille du Midi made it an easy decision to go for Y off the first Grands Montets bin. Late in the afternoon my friend Kirsti Lehtimaki from EPIC TV messaged me saying she wanted to ski and had a friend coming too. Next morning her friend Matthieu Vigier came along with Chloe Laget and Couttet Berbere so we had a sociable skin up the classic Millieu Glacier. The lack of snow meant very firm conditions on the way up and we used ski crampons for the 1400 m climb.

On the summit there was a cold 5 kph wind blowing and I didnt linger long wanting to find the entry to the couloir, having only skied the left branch before. In the couloir it was thankfully a bit warmer and after passing 5 m of rocks at the top we put on our skis on flat corning spring snow.  SAM_0014

Y Couloir (TD, 45 degrees, 5.1/5.2 600 m) as seen from Col des Courtes. Its the big line branching below the summit of the Aiguille d’Argentiere (3901m). P1020001Y Couloir with the 60 m step at the base with the stunning golden granite spires.20150318_11560120150318_131236

Julbo Aerospace goggles – the ultimate variable venting bootpacking and touring goggle. The big lines of Couturier and Au Coeur du Monde or Col Aiguille Verte right hand (1st and only? descent by the Scottish extreme ski legends Paul MacLeod and Ewen Moffat with the Dane Thomas Husted in 2001).20150318_131958

The North Wall of the Argentiere Glacier – a lifetime of extreme ski dreams in one place. 20150318_132000
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Me happy on the summit. 20150318_133459

I was really happy to see such good conditions and lots of direct sun.
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Matthieu skiing cautiously between softer patches. The Black Crows Navis Freebird is an astonishingly good ski.20150318_144318

Kirsti skiing ice axe in hand!11074943_10153079292175932_2036905535_o

Me in the upper section, Thanks to Kirsti Lehtimaki for the photo.11076554_10153079292225932_1955151801_o

Still on firm snow at this point and putting in the chop turns to avoid any uncontrollable build up of speed.SAM_0016

Skiing After the Wind

A fantastic day out with the Finnish House Mafia team to the Breche Tacul which offers jaw dropping views to the mythical North Face of the Grandes Jorasses. Its been 6 months since we were all climbing there in all time conditions and the face now looks a lot drier but still good enough for young Brit Tom Ballard to solo the Colton Macintyre in 3 hours on March 8th. A great effort considering how dry the upper pitches look.

Our ski descent was on sublime spring corn with buttery turns with the only negative for Friday 13th being my Sony RX100 dying after a fews years hard service. Many thanks to Mika Merikanto for the photos. Check out his awesome photography and blog at http://mikumerikanto.blogspot.fr/

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Me with the Jorasses in the back ground. 10542698_10153247059653953_2465044037215883954_o11008577_10153247062088953_2671123182703751466_o (1)

The Navis Freebird is proving to be an all time favourite touring ski of mine. 11054738_10153247101693953_1847180050_o

Mikko H and Jesper20150313_122555

Mikko above and below11064519_10153247102063953_1762995949_oMika Merikanto-1

Mika Merikantonavis freebird-1My last ever shot before my Sony RX100 died.

 

The North Face of Aiguille du Midi – Mallory

Yesterday I was back up the Midi for some more North Face action, this time on the Mallory. Tom Grant, Bird and myself teamed up with Mika Merikanto and Niko Palo for this Chamonix test piece. Thanks guys for a mind blowing run!

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Bird enjoying the pow.Mallory -8 Mallory Ross Hewitt-03

Mika, myself and Stephane Dan at the demi-line.Mallory -38

Tom Grant crushing it.Mallory -44Mallory Ross Hewitt -07

Me skiing.Mallory Ross Hewitt-08Bird and me.

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Mika & Tom with Stephan Dan and Alex Pittin below.Mallory -53Mallory Ross Hewitt-012Mallory-013Mallory-014

On the diagonal.Mallory-015 Mallory

“Hello, yeah I’m busy, call you back”.
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Bird on the mandatory rap.
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Elevation time anyone?