17 October 2020, Good Snowy Conditions Around The Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix
Great weather and enjoyable snowy conditions saw plenty of teams enjoying both skiing and climbing around the Col du Midi. We had the Arete Laurence to ourselves this morning but the same could definitely not be said for the Cosmiques Arete later on!
There were plenty of teams out on skis with some hard-core folk putting them on at the exit to the Midi station snow tunnel and doing a few turns down the top of the north face…which is a pretty committing start to the season if they are the first turns! There was some nice snow on the South side with plenty of cool velvet powder lower down off the ridge and some nice turns in the very upper Petit Envers and Gros Rognon area, including a steep line on the North Face of the latter.
The Arete Laurence was so snowy that most of the difficulties were buried and with a nice track going along either the ridge or skirting some of the difficulties on the north face, it was very rapid going and we were soon at a busy Abri Simond Hut.
Likewise many of the lower little steps on the Cosmiques Arete were buried and the good solid track made for pleasant, rapid and easy going. Unfortunately we were not the only team to realise this and there were so many teams queuing at the first down climb / abseil / lower area, that we did a ‘demi-tour’ and enjoyed some down scrambling back to the Col du Midi and over to Pt. Lachenal.
A skier had just triggered a mini slab avalanche skiing the north face of the Pt Lachenal, but seemed unscathed! The trail breaking was pleasant rather than arduous and snow shoes were not required to get over there. Teams were also doing the traverse of the Lachenal summits and numerous teams were climbing on the Triangle du Tacul, most of them queuing on the Chere Couloir!
The Midi and Skyway lifts are open for another couple of weeks – before their annual closures in November. please get in touch if you would like to do some alpine mountaineering, ski touring or training up there to make the most of the current good snowy conditions.
16 October 2020, Snowy Aiguilles Marbrees Traverse & Skyway Monte Bianco
A few teams were shuffling over the Col Petit Flambeau but it was a pretty quiet morning at the Skyway Monte Bianco and we enjoyed our steady trail breaking ascent through beautiful pristine velvet snow across the Col du Geant.
The clouds were more coming than going and we were appreciative of the fact there was no wind on the East Ridge of the Marbrees. There was plenty of snow though. Plenty! Including some impressive whipped up Rime ice features which made the going on the rocky ridge both exacting and pretty slow. We detoured around the crux cracked wall for a change and found a lovely short mixed icy chimney which was both fun and atmospheric.
The traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrees over the snowy summit and along the equally impressively snow South Ridge is a real pleasure in these conditions and Justine and I savoured the calm snowy solitude but made good progress all the way along to the abseil anchors on the Torino Hut side of the Ridge.
We did 2 steady rappels on the Torino Side of the ridge, the first being the easy angled and hard left (skiers left!) and the second being steep and direct down to the glacier, both on anchors with bolts and chains equipped for abseil.
There were a few other teams out skiing – ski touring training and possibly some folk climbing one of the mixed routes on the Grand Flambeau.
Please get in touch if we can arrange some autumn alpine guiding and training for you – based in Chamonix – alpine mountaineering – ski touring & mountaineering training – rock climbing.