For this trip we based ourselves in Cordova, ski touring on the Heney Range and flying with Points North on primo weather days in the Chugach. I was joined by Paul van Lamsveerde, Pete Benson and Evan Cameron.
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
The Ecrins is a magical place, big mountains with a remote feel and few people there in winter. Arguably its much better suited to ski touring than Mont Blanc range with a lot more terrain in the 30-40 degree range. In total I spent 2 months there with a road trip south to the beach at Nice through the beautiful provencal village Entrevaux.
The arrival of snow coinciding with our return from Kalymnos couldn’t have been more perfect and allowed me to get out in the Scottish mountains both days at the weekend. On Saturday I was in the Northern Corries with Duncan Patterson where conditions where good on Melting Pot, the top pitch of which was really fun and thought provoking. Today I went out with Pete Benson to Lochnagar with a view to doing something a bit more meaty. However we found the turf on Lochnagar pretty soggy biscuit so dropped the grade somewhat and did Ghost Dance which has a fairly rocky main pitch and is a good choice for a short day. The main pitch is fun with cool moves through an overlap onto the wall above.
The light and views are amazing at this time of year, the sun still with a little power and the contrast between the snowy hills and the autumnal valley colours.
The first 3 photos are Duncan’s. Check out his blog at : http://www.duncanp.blogspot.co.uk/