Decisions, decisions. Where to go? And where to stay?

Even before the week’s tour began I was racking my brain and re-checking the weather forecast every few hours in the hope it had changed again. It was chucking down with snow and turning our intended Western Oberland tour into an unlikely proposition.

I was working for Frost Guiding, on another winter room trip – i.e. early season ski touring in the high mountains, staying in refuge’s that hadn’t opened yet, but staying in the ever open “winter rooms”

I also had my fittest ever group, and the pressure was on to do lots of touring, and find some good snow!

In the end, we stayed in a mixture of huts, with a night in the Cabane Brunet below Mont Rogneaux before transferring to Arolla and up to the magnificent Bouquetins refuge. We spent two nights here after aborting our attempt to get to the Bertol hut. Finally we drive down the valley and caught a lift to get to the Laummern Hutte, which was a great three days, despite challenging weather which meant we never quite got to the top of our intended peaks, even though we gave it a good go.

We skied twice a day every day, and racked up an impressive 1000m/day average. The snow was absolutely amazing, and we did laps of a few slopes it was so good.

It really is a wild place that time of year, being up on the high mountains. There’s not many people who venture out there, and the feeling of remoteness is strong. It’s not for the faint hearted though, with trail breaking, cold temperatures and the need to be self sufficient in the winter rooms. The rucksacks were heavy at times, and arriving late at a very cold Bouquetins refuge in the moon light after a long long day will stick in everyone’s minds for a while to come…..

 

Looking at the snow layers, day one.

Looking at the snow layers, day one.

Looking down at the Brunet refuge.

Looking down at the Brunet refuge.

The perfect day - blue skies and light powder.

The perfect day – blue skies and light powder.

Loic making use of the fat skis!

Loic making use of the fat skis!

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The Bouquetins refuge

The Bouquetins refuge

 

Breaking trail towards the Col Tsa

Breaking trail towards the Col Tsa

Skinning above the Bouquetins refuge

Skinning above the Bouquetins refuge

 

Team photo time

Team photo time

A very stormy transition

A very stormy transition