Northern Mountain Sport / Blog / Off Piste, Ski Touring and Ice Climbing

Off Piste, Ski Touring and Ice Climbing

This winter in Chamonix I think will probably go down as one of the best? Consistently good snow mixed with periods of stable weather has meant you can get out and both climb and ski; it has to be said the skiing's the obvious choice at the moment though. I skied a few days with ex FID Mike who lives over in Samoens. We skied a poor visibility day at Saint Gervais before next skiing the ever reliable Croisse Baulet finding lovely tracks lower down. The best day in some ways though was going into the Argentiere Basin and skiing up towards a col next to Pointe des Amethystes. Not only did we have this route to ourselves but actually the entire basin which was a great experience. An atmospheric skin up amidst glacial scenery and then an ocean of fresh snow to savour in descent were the hall marks of this tour. It was cold however (even though there was no wind) and as we dropped into the flat of the Argentiere Glacier Mike's nose 'waxed' and needed a rub.

I've also skied at Les Contamines with Chris and Claire experiencing what I think was my second best snow this season off the col de Fenetre. I'm always amazed at the 'big' feel of going over that ridge from the resort in what is really only a couple of hours of skinning. At the moment the Aravis and lower resorts for me have the best (and certainly unskied) snow in the area.

I've got out a bit locally with friends also and skied the classic Pas de Chevre with Ju (who is teaching me French) and some new lines off the Prarion (Les Houches) with my miserable neighbours Wes and Lucy. We needed skins to access the summit and also get us back in to resort but found a really interesting (!) line which had skiing all the way to the valley floor (you normally cut back under the lift line which is scratched and skied out). I also had a great day out skiing the Pre de Rocher with Bet and Nora. Good snow high up but BUSY and a rocky descent.

Lastly (hoorah) I've been climbing. I spent three great days over in Cogne with Hugh and Jenna staying at the climber friendly Hotel La Barme. This place offers great value, is perfectly situated (you can walk from the door), has a steam room and you can borrow/test a bunch of axes/crampons etc. We climbed Cascade de Lillaz, Sentiero dei Troll and Patri de Droite. This last route was the highlight for Hugh. It offered a good steep and technical pitch (4+) pulling over bulges but never sustained on the arms (my sort of route). I had a lovely time on the top belay as three Ibex approached from above and started feeding 10 metres away, entertaining me with their snorts and interactions.

Comments

ice climbing in Cogne

You're welcome Jen! I see you also enjoyed the skiing!

Ice Climbing in Cogne

Tim - thanks again for a great few days of ice climbing in Cogne, we had a super time. Best, Hugh & Jen

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