Glacier Mort & Col du Belvédère

Glacier Mort & Col du Belvédère

When your aiming to do two Aiguille Rouge tours in one day you need everything to fall into place. Getting to Brevent at 8:45 without my ski pass was not a good start. Running to Cham sud for a lift home and back to Brevent I caught up with the boys at the top of Floria drag just before 10am.

We were quick up the first col and then the Mort bootpack was also dealt with in 25 mins. The snow on the descent was variable. Chalky snow at the top with some nice powder pockets, some wind slab and nice spring snow. Flying down through the trees we caught the 12:18 bus back to Argentiere and after getting some food we were back at Flegere about 13:30.

Heading back up the Floria drag lift and traversing to where you start the skin to the Col things were starting to get very hot.

We started the 1 hour skin to Belvedere in roasting hot sun. We were feeling pretty good at the start but the sun took its toll on James and I and we started to slow down falling behind Tim who was cruising off in the distance. When we reached the top we saw the side slipped entrance and wished we had brought a rope and a harness. Using the fixed 60m rope we slowly made our way down the icy gully and just about managed to ski from where that ended. Nice chalky snow again down the north face and similar snow as the Mort descent. We made it back to Buet for the 16:18 bus. Very sweaty, very smelly and very tired. A massive day touring in the Rouge. Thanks to the boys for more fun in the sun.

Midi conditions update.

On wednesday Me and Sleigh skied over 11,000m descent and about 70km off the midi. He had to ski 4 midi laps for a bet and I had nothing better to do. Valley Blanche, Petit Envers, Grand Envers and Gros Rognon. The conditions were all the same. Hard snow and wind blown. Deep mogles by the requin and a slushy James Bond track. All good fun and a real test of the legs.

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This morning I also went up and climbed the Cosmiques Arete. Perfect conditions. Firm consolidated snow and very well filled in. Think climbing season might be upon us if we don’t get any new snow!

Monday…

Monday was a mixed bag of skiing. Waking up early for first bin at the Midi at 8am then having to wait until 10am to get on a bin, Already behind schedule… After getting to the top and reversing the upper section of the Cosmiques Arete to go and ski the South Couloir we found ourselves waiting again. A guide was taking two clients up the couloir and they were unbelievably slow. The guide wanted us to wait, but after 20 minutes of hanging around watching the sun slowly melt the snow and start to sluff off we told the guide to move his clients to the side and we skied it one by one. He gave each one of us a mouthful as we skied past! Nice skiing but the snow was not 100%.

Next delay! After skiing the south couloir we then arrived at the right hand rappel of the Cosmiques west Couloir. Waiting another 20/30 minutes here as some guys tried to pull their rope down and got it stuck we were becoming very impatient and we were watching some big movements across the Gouter face and the snow was starting to change and become heavy. Watching Pete and Grant finally rap in, James and I decided we would just go and do a Gros Rognon as we couldn’t be bothered with the exit after al this time we had taken. Such a good choice!

Thigh deep, cold powder awaited us all the way down Gros Rognon and with the James Bond track in perfect condition. We were back to town pretty soon. Grabbing some beers and Luke we were on last bin at 4pm going back up the Midi. Chilling with a beer on the arete soaking up the views we were the only 3 people skiing Gros Rognon at 5pm! The snow was still perfect and after stopping for another beer at les Mottes hut we skied the James Bond at dusk to return to Elevation for 6:30pm. All in all a great day despite the waiting around! Thanks to James, Luke, Pete and Grant for another great day up the Midi!

Click HERE to watch a video from Monday!

Winter is here

Winter feels like it has finally come to Chamonix. After 3 great days skiing I can now have a morning off and relax and let my body heal.

It started Tuesday morning with heavy snow still falling and early bins at Grand Montets. There was about 30-40cm of fresh snow and it was nice and light at the start, Lapping the forrest we had great fun, then it started to get windy and there was more snow! I rode with about 20 different people as I was not in the mood for any waiting, this was a good move because I rode most of the lower section of GM where the best visibility could be found.

Roll on Wednesday… Meeting at LocalCHX at 8am I got my hands on a pair of DPS Wailer 112. I know of a few people who use this ski and judging by the masses of tip rocker I knew they would be good in the powder. There were about 8 of us that were riding together in the first Midi bin and we were quick down the arete, Just behind the likes of Andreas Fransson and Seth Morrison. Cruising over to the Petit Envers we were digging trenches through waist deep snow, taking our turns to blast down the track and get a little further. The lower pitches to skiers left of Petit Rognon were superb. Open powder field with no tracks and bottomless powder, What more can you ask for. Meeting back up with the crowds breaking trail down on the flat we knew we had montenvers stairs to battle with but then we were on the train and back at the Midi ready for lap number 2.

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Angus, Deep in it.

The weather had closed in around the arete and everyones goggles froze which made keeping your speed up to get to Gros Rognon very hard. At the top of the Gros Rognon we all lined up and rode it together, not ideal on a glacier but we were having too much fun, and could see a fari few tracks, so we could avoid the holes.

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Dave Searle Charging the Gros Rognon.

Taking the same exit down the steep couloirs just after the Requin we were back at the train again, this time too destroyed to do another lap but with the biggest smiles on all of our faces!

Check out the Video Here.

Then Thursday came and I still wanted to go skiing. Heading up Brevent then straight across to Flegere I met up with Mike and Started skinning up the Col above Floria, With the intention of skiing it back down. Half way up I noticed this steep narrow couloir lookers left of the col about half way up. The snow was still soft and we had to break trail up but we had our skis on after 20mins of effort. Mike chose to ski down the open face putting in some nice big turns in the untracked snow.

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As I stared down the steep narrow couloir contemplating the best way in, I could see that the snow was heavily wind packed and would be hard work to ski. With the big opening below and Mike there waiting I gave it a go.

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Looking down the steep entrance.

Side slipping in the first steep 10 meters I set off the avalanche that I knew would come. It cleared most of the hard wind affected snow down the couloir and left a soft heavy cover for me to ski.

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Half way down the 100m couloir it got very narrow.

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Making a half dozen slow turns I was out the bottom and was satisfied with my skiing, This was a small training couloir for the Rectiligne Couloir at Grand Montets that I really want to ski this winter.

So, 3 fantastic days skiing with great people. More snow forecast for the weekend. Fingers crossed for 3 more of the same next week!