It really does feel like spring here in Chamonix. A lot of the snow has gone from low altitudes, especially on the south facing slopes.

After the ski touring of last week it’s been a good contrast over the last couple of days to be out skiing steeps off the lifts.

I’ve been doing some more aspirant guiding days, this time with Neil Mcnab and Simon Abrahams. Neil has a group of pretty handy snow boarders who are in Chamonix for a week riding, on “steeps”.

Monday we headed to Italy up up the Helbronner lift to access the Marbrees Couloir, a pretty good warm up! It was baking hot on this south facing slope, and once we had gotten down the first steep section we didn’t hang around and hammered the rest of the 2100m descent back to the valley. A run off Courmayeur in the afternoon rounded off the day.

Today we went touring in the Aiguille Rouge, from the idex lift. The split boards were out and we toured up to the Col du Beledere, and then booted further up to access the north couloir.

We skied/boarded this without having to abseil or get the rope out. Quite a sustained slope with a few sections where you wouldn’t want to fall. That would definitely involve bouncing off some rocks.

The bottom of the Berard valley is pretty flat, and I felt mighty glad of having skis on my feet rather than a board. the boys were suffering. They do seem to cope with the steeps really well though, and I’m jealoud of their toes in side slipping!

We’re out again tomorrow. Should be an adventure.

Hand rail in for the initial steepness

Hand rail in for the initial steepness

The middle section of the couloir

The middle section of the couloir

Giving the legs a rest. 2100m is a long way.

Giving the legs a rest. 2100m is a long way.

Marbrees Couloir

A spot of booting before skinning

A spot of booting before skinning

Steep boot packing to access the north couloir

Steep boot packing to access the north couloir

The steep and exposed initial couloir, no fall zone.

The steep and exposed initial couloir, no fall zone.

The crucial turn.

The crucial turn.