When Minna first sent me a note asking if I wanted to deploy to the Dolomites for the weekend, I have to say I was less than enthusiastic. I’d just finished a heavy week training on skins, bikes and pushing weights, I had work to do and DIY to finish. The perpetual climate change hurricane was destroying the snow in Cham and I felt like I could use my time more efficiently at home than getting up at 4 am and driving half the way to Kalymnos and back in the hope of some snow. Its been a long time since we spent every winter weekend driving through the night chasing Scottish winter climbing conditions and I have to say I don’t miss the driving. Then she mentioned 80 cm. And no wind. Well maybe!
Arriving at Passo Rolle we set of for the Burreloni Couloir and at this point I found the plan was to climb the line rather than ski to the top. I’d left the spanking paddles at home and with so much snow about I didnt have much hope of success which was fine as my body was tired and sore and it was nice just to be in the sunshine discovering a new place. As we entered the cirque, the slide path of a Cat 5 avalanche triggered in the hot afternoon sun the day before confirmed how much snow was about. We skinned up towards the couloir and started the monumental task of swimming up the couloir.
The ski down held super sluffy powder on the left bank and it was a real pleasure skiing with the snow running all around – we havent had much of that this season. Those Dolomiti lines really are ancient hallways gouged through the big walls, very Baffinesk.
Next day Domolmiti Guides Tommasco Cardelli and Cristian Dallapozza joined us to ski on the Cristallo. Conditons were perfect with no wind so we decided to climb along the ridge and ski the Vallencant. I’ve been wanting to ski this one for about 20 years so it was great to finally go. After a firmer top section we hit the pow and the fun started. In the afternoon we skied the beautiful Bus Tofane under the big walls and finished the day with a well earned beer and Pizza.
Our last day out was on the Marmolada where we skied some complex line avoiding limestone slabs down the North West Face. It was a real Cairngorm howler of a day with low vis so I didnt bother taking a camera.
A big thanks to Minna for doing all the driving, to Tommi for letting me stay and to both Tommi and Cristian for showing us some great stuff.
A short edit from Luca from a day out on the Gabarrou route on Les Courtes.
PS – EPIC TV chose the title – not us!
Here’s the latest edit from Nate:
At last the Gervasutti Couloir on Tacul. A dream for over ten years. Each time I skied the Vallee Blanche there it was, like the ultimate temptress. Its one of my top 3 ski lines alongside the Couturier and Marinelli. All unbroken ski lines on stunning mountains.
Tom and myself headed up off the first bin and on Tacul met Nate who came over to the top to evaluate conditions with his connoisseur’s eye. It didn’t take him long to decide abandon his own plans for the day and come for an unexpected run!
My plan to go do West Couloir Integral was scrapped as soon as the Midi announced they were opening late. Being Sunday there was gong to be a lot of attention on the North Face from those on their day off work so we changed to touring kit and headed off to Cirque Maudit for some tranquility and to see what looked good. Tour Ronde looked pretty good so we headed there.
The day wasn’t without a few challenges; Bird must have dreamt he could actually fly so he left his axes at home, my crampon bail snapped at the shrund and Minna had to get there on alpine day wreckers (alpine trekkers). Somehow we made it!
The last time I did this we rapped between the faces so it was a good adventure to take the skier’s left line down the face through the mixed ground. Once again I had the pleasure to ski with Minna Riihimaki and Bird Early.
Into GS mode on the lower face. My POV with sluff chasing my tails.