The ski season is drawing to a close, but the Ski Mountaineering season has only just started out here in Chamonix. It’s time for high summits and early starts. Yesterday (Saturday 21st) we were up on Mont Blanc, enjoying the incredibly warm and still weather before skiing down into the heat of the valley in the afternoon.
The heat in the valley (22 degrees on Saturday) is causing the lower snow to be pretty terrible to ski by mid morning, or even avalanche, but above 2000m the conditions are better and the glaciers are so well filled this year there are lots of possibilities for Ski Mountaineering.
Groups have been traversing the Haute Route, climbing the Paradiso and skiing steeper lines in the Argentiere basin. On Mont Blanc there are some very wind scoured slopes resulting in some very hard snow to ski, but once off the summit shoulder, the north face was much better and we enjoyed a good ski all the way to the junction below the Grand Mulet refuge.
Team were climbing the Arete Royale (north ridge of the Domes du Gouter) as well as traversing the trois monts route from the Aiguille du Midi to the summit of Mont Blanc. Lots of hard ice on the Arete Royale this year, and ropes are being fixed at the moment.
We made use of the helicopter services from Courmayeur, getting dropped to below the Dome du Gouter on the Italian side, a little over 4000m. From there it’s around 850m climb to the summit, along the Gouter route, joining teams coming from the Grand Mulet refuge, although most were ahead of us already.
Over the next few weeks we are busy with various planned ski mountaineering trips with new and returning customers alike. Another few Mont Blanc’s, the Zermatt 4000m peaks and some ski mountaineering within the Chamonix valley as well. We’ll try and post some condition updates when we can.