Winter 2013-14

Brèche Puiseux, a traverse within the Mont Blanc Massif – 7th April 2014

Booting-up the big couloir that leads to the brèche

Skinning-up the Périades glacier, up from the Vallée Blanche

An abseil down the other side leads finally to skiing again, this time on the Mallet glacier

The snow had been well warmed by the sun…but the scenery was still spectacular, skiing beneath the great north wall of the Grandes Jorasses

Le pouce… the Thumb Couloir, above Grimentz – 1st April 2014

The view of the Pouce Couloir is quite clear up the valley from Grimentz

Ski-touring round to the top of the couloir from the Becs des Bosson

Looking down the line of the couloir…

Sunshine on the top section

A snowy Haute Route – 28th March 2014

Booting up the icy section on the Pigne d’Arolla

Arriving at the final col of the tour before the descent into Zermattt

Skiing beneath the Dent d’Herens…

…and the Matterhorn, en route to Zermatt

On and around Mont Blanc de Cheilon – 19th March 2014

In the central Valais Alps, the Cabane des Dix makes for a useful central base to run day-tours from. Mont Blanc de Cheilon dominates the view, as do all the glaciers and other peaks that lend themselves to fine ski-touring and great ski descents.

Heading up the Cheilon itself… The ski-touring route heads up a glacier route around to the right of the peak. Here we attained the skier’s ‘winter summit’ – the true summit is a bit trickier and best left for summer alpinists!

An atmospheric journey skinning up beneath les Ruinettes

The view from the winter summit, looking past the Pigne d’Arolla and the Matterhorn

To get back to our starting point of Arolla, and to avoid the infamous ladders at the Pas de Chevre, we found a different route over the ridge which gave us access to a great final slope to ski, on reasonable snow, before joining the Arolla ski pistes back to the village.

Mont Fourchon, above the Grand St Bernard Pass – 2nd March 2014

Ski-touring based out of the Grand St Bernard Hospice on the Swiss/Italian border. A few days of cloud and snow but with one fine day in the middle where we were able climb a peak, Mont Fourchon, and make the most of the touring and skiing conditions.

Emerging from the cloud, and the avalanche tunnel…

High above the cloud, that still covers the pass, on the slopes of Mont Fourchon

On the summit… the Grandes Jorasses and Mont Blanc in the background

Setting off back down

Ski tour on Pointe Ronde – 31st January

After a week of snow and cloud it was great to have a clear day for this ski tour that climbs high above Martigny and the Rhone Valley in Switzerland.

On the Croix des Prélayes – 24th January

Inclement weather at our high point on the ridge

…but some great snow through the trees for the descent

To the hill fort on Punte Croche – 23rd January

A more mellow day heading up amongst the trees and frozen lake to Punte Croche in the Valle d’Aoste

Happy to be in descent mode as the weather rolls in

The Col d’Argentière and the Tour Noir Glacier – 22nd January 2014

Looking up the Argentière Glacier

Skinning up the glacier becomes hard work as the altitude kicks in…

Nice fresh tracks for the descent

… a great reward for all the hard work!

Happy to be skiing again!

The sun doesn’t last long in January as we ski further down the glacier

Nice snow and skiing on the Vallée Blanche – 30th December 2013

What might happen if you don’t pay attention…