Traverse of Noir John Minogue

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Its been a few years since I skied this line and its definitely one that has been significantly affected by glacial thinning making it much harder that the guide book rating of 4.3 Assez Diffcile 45 degrees for 50 m. I went back a month ago to try in in good powder conditions but the East wind was loading over the ridge where the sun meets the shadow in the photo.  As I moved towards the ridge things started to crack around me, propagating up the slope above me and releasing some slab material down onto my companions who were about 50 m behind me. No one fancied manning up to go over the blind convexity so it was time to go home.

With no new snow in Chamonix for weeks, I went back with John Minogue. This route is so blind as you start to ski over the convexity and the only thing you see is the glacier 500 m below. The glacial recession has continued and there is much more exposed rock at the choke where instead of rapping across ice on skis, we rapped over rock on crampons. Its pretty steep too, the glacial death ice is always at the back of your mind, there’s a strip of ice at the base of the route which I had to downclimb, and the crevasses look hungry. Apart from all that the views are amazing and the snow was good.

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