Aiguillettes du Tacul, East Couloir

Tim Oliver Alpinist

Just when I was about ready to put away my skis for the year, Joel arrived back in Chamonix and convinced me to put in a few more turns. I’m glad he did as we found some great skiing on the East Couloir of the Aiguillettes du Tacul yesterday. Though one of the ‘easier’ lines on Mont Blanc du Tacul’s east face, the couloir still offers some involved and challenging skiing. In good spring snow though, it stayed fun all the way. With a few other lines that I’m keen to ski reportedly in good condition, I might have to hold off applying the storage wax…

Aiguillettes du Tacul, E Couloir (1 of 6)

Joel about to start the climb up towards Mont Blanc du Tacul’s east ridge.

Aiguillettes du Tacul, E Couloir (2 of 6)

Nearly there. The large rock spire below Joel is Pointe Adolphe Rey. In the summer there’s some great rock climbing to be found on this peak.

Aiguillettes du Tacul, E Couloir (3 of 6)

Joel checks out the snow before putting in some turns in the couloir’s upper…

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Goulotte Profit / Perroux III 4, M5 & Contamine Grisolle (variante Champion du Monde)

Returning to Chamonix after a big storm that saw snow falling on the valley floor I knew that some of the mixed routes on the Cosmiques ridge would be in condition. Spring and autumn are the best times to get on these climbs and after bad weather they are usually at their best. Getting to an empty first bin we knew it would be quiet on the route. I have seen the bridge in autumn and it’s usually a fistfight to get to the abseil point first so you have no one climbing above you. This was not the case on this beautiful calm sunny day.

Our aim was the Profit Perroux and before we set off down the multiple abseils we had a quick look at the whole route from the midi viewing platform, it looked really good.

On our way down the couloir we saw a couple of groups skiing the Glacier Ronde in powder. The climbing was steep and sustained but with bomber ice we saw no real difficulties. We had one group of two who were climbing behind us and only catching us on the belays, as the second was about to climb. They were happy to also have the route crowd free given the amazing conditions.

The triangle du Tacul is in good condition for mixed climbing. Tim Oliver and myself went up yesterday for a variation of the Contamine-Grisolle. There was no wind and the sun was scorching which would explain my sun burnt neck today. We moved together for the whole route and encountered some tricky sections of thin ice and tricky, yet fun, mixed steps. Climbing with skis on your back is a little more engaging and sometimes you can knock yourself off balance when they collide with a rock, but it does however mean that the Tacul north face descent can be done in very little time and making powder turn in late May is always a privilege.