It seems like we’ve had a couple of weeks worth of bad weather to bring the spring ski touring season to a close. Sometimes the crux of a weeks guiding is working out where to go in the first place. When the forecast changes every day, with occasional promises of sunshine in amongst the cloud, it’s hard not to be drawn into sticking with your big plans.

Unfortunately this past few days and weeks has seen a large number of serious accidents in the alps, with folk getting caught out in the weather. A lesson for us all, guides included.

Sparky, Hamish and myself quickly ditched our plan A, and instead cobbled together a trip day by day. We got a couple of 4000m peaks done, a long traverse in the Aiguille Rouge above Chamonix and then a overnight trip to the Argentiere refuge, which was super quiet as both the lift and the hut were shut, meaning a long skin from the valley with weighty sacks.

We skied some superb powder snow coming off Pyramid Vincent above Gressoney, and some total rubbish porridge below the Emosson Dam. The Mantova refuge was quiet and cooked us some excellent food, along with beer, whilst the winter room of the Argentiere was quite the contrast, where drying out the kit was a challenge.

Hamish also whittles a fine spoon. Handy when you’ve left yours in the valley….. I’m not sure what our weekly total was, but we must have averaged over a 1000m a day, with a fair amount of trail breaking, navigation and decisions all the way.

Our planned traverse of the Zermatt skyline would have been brilliant, but sometimes (quite often) in the mountains the weather or conditions conspire against you. Next time….

All photos: Ben Bradford, Hamish Calder, Stephen Park

Chamonix Ski Guide

Ski Touring towards the 4040m Giordanispetx

Chamonix Ski Guide

Cold and windy on the summit of Giordanispetx

Chamonix Ski Guide

Great snow skiing down from 4200m Vincent Pyramid

Chamonix Ski Guide

Hamish skiing below the ice cliffs of Vincent Pyramid

Chamonix Ski Guide

Snow clearing on the solar panels at the Mantova refuge

Chamonix Ski Guide

Walking towards the snow line below the Loriaz refuge

Chamonix Ski Guide

Steep boot packing towards the col du Terrace

Chamonix Ski Guide

Boot packing below the Col

Chamonix Ski Guide

Roped up to cross the lake

Chamonix Ski Guide

Scrambling around the side of the Emosson dam

Chamonix Ski Guide

Crossing the Emosson Dam

Chamonix Ski Guide

The Emosson Dam access road

Chamonix Ski Guide

Quenching the thirst after a very long day.

Chamonix Ski Guide

Brewing up in the Argentiere winter room

Chamonix Ski Guide

The ever impressive north faces of the Argentiere glacier

Chamonix Ski Guide

Skiing down from the Aiguille d’Argentiere