Mont Oreb North Face

Its been a while since I have skied on this face and last time I went we decided to climb it first and got a bit lost 2/3 of the way up trying to find the ‘exposed traverse’ to the summit ridge. This time Tom and myself wanted to ski top down onsite to avoid wading up chest deep pow. The cornice is similar to the one on Mt Buet and its tough to see into the face from above but eventually we committed to a traverse going in on the rope to test the snow stability.  The anchors are sparse a the top and the best I could manage was a no. 1 camelot and 2 ski anchors. Once Tom had found the snow was perfect we packed the ropes and got on with skiing this fantastic face.

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Grandes Jorasses North Face – Polish Michto Variation

Last weekend I got a chance to go back to the Jorasses for the first time in 7 years. I teamed up with Ben Tibbetts and we were joined by Misha Gopaul and Jeff Banks for a social day out. I had managed a day acclimatising up the Midi skiing earlier in the week so it wasn’t a straight from the office hit which Andy Houseman and myself had done the last time on Colton Macintyre. After the warmest bivi ever in the mountains at montenevers, we walked in during the early hours, therefore avoiding a bun fight at the overcrowded Leschaux hut. It was a beautiful starry night and Ben caught a fantastic shot of the face under the stars with several teams well established on the Colton Macintyre, Croz and Polish routes. As we arrived for first light the face was relatively quiet and we quickly got to work climbing neve for several hundred metres. A few goulottes of ice and neve followed with fun climbing that was never hard up to the summit ridge where we were treated with gorgeous autumnal milky light over the Peuterey Ridge and the Aosta Valley.

Big thanks to Ben (Misha and Jeff) for a memorable day and the photos!P1040425Jorasses-NF_michto_marked

The Polish Michto Variation on Grandes Jorasses North Face (2011 photo Ben Tibbetts)DSC_8951montenvers-bivi

Our comfy bivi at Montevers
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The First Goulotte SectionGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-1

Ben TibbettsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-2Ben Climbing a Thinner Seam as We Catch a Spanish Team
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Me Pulling Through a Steep SectionDSC_9296jorasses-ross

Typical North Face Icy Mixed Terrain Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-3

Ben Pulling Through onto the Summit SnowfieldsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-4

Gorgeous Warm Day DSC_9478jorasses-exit2

Climbing into the Sun on the Summit Ridge Snowfields
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Ben Savouring the Summit Ridge ViewsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-6

Pointe Marguerite – Named After the Queen of SavoieGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-7

Mont Blanc and the Peuterey RidgeGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-8

 

Martin Elias descending after an ascent of Directe de l’Amite with Korra PesceGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-9Ben Approaching the Reposoir at Sundown

Let the Ski Season Begin

 

I managed to sneak away from work for a few days in the hope of some mixed North Face climbing adventures but the weather over the weekend was miserable. As it cleared on Monday the mountains looked plastered and it seemed like I could combine an acclimatisation trip with a few turns.  De Masi was keen so we headed up the Midi with no real expectations. As we descended the arrete it was clear that there was more than a dusting. I put on my skis for the first time in a couple of months and looked down the south side which was looking tempting but slightly loaded. A brief conversation followed along the lines of:

“Hey Dave, think it will stick?”

‘Dunno, what do you think?’

“I haven’t formed an opinion yet. I’m going to wait for those guys to walk past the bottom so they don’t get sluffed. The shrund on the left is gaping open, what is it like straight down?”

‘Dunno.’

“Eyes on then.”

First turn into the pow made me remember why I love skiing so much. Leaning over hard into smooth silky velvet…  After that we went down Gros Rognan for a bit and cut back to the Valley Blanche and skinned into Cirque Maudit for a look around before skinning back to the Midi. That last bit felt like a slog with no acclimatisation and I was happy to get down the lift quickly!
Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-4Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-3Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-5Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-6Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-1Ross Hewitt Aiguille du Midi-2

Tournier Spur into Col du Plan

This was a fantastic run that I did a while back with Oli Willett. The photos speak for themselves and this photo diary wouldn’t be complete without it.