Touring Time in the Aiguille Rouge
It was pretty exciting waking up yesterday to a fresh coating of 40 cm of powder when snow has been so scarce this season. But that feeling was quickly replaced by anxiety knowing the lifts would open late and by that time everyone will be out of bed and queuing. We took the magic tunnel through to Italy, drank coffee and skied a quick 4 laps of the Entreve lowers which included a sensational spine feature where the sluff ran fast in the gullies bounding either side. Then it was back to Chamonix for opening time and freeride on amongst the pillows, rocks, roots and tree stumps of Plan de l’Aiguille. Too fast and too hectic to take photos. I was bushed by the end of the day and retired to my nest by 9 o’clock.
Today the plan was to go back for more but the lift company surprised everyone with late opening even though it hadn’t snowed. They must have worked too hard yesterday and had a compensatory sleep in today. Anyway I felt a bit jaded today after a lot of freeride yesterday so we made a plan to go touring and give the back and quads a rest.
Today it was Dave’s turn to have a few trials and tribulations. First the basket on his pole broke, which means you soon find out how much your balance relies on poles when touring. Then after a lot of effort smashing in a waist deep bootpack to the start of the ski, his binding lock lever ripped off. Dave quickly made do with a ski strap wrapped round the low tech pins and I handed him the camera. He sensibly side slipped the first no fall section above cliffs, with a lot of worry whether his ski would stay on, but salvaged the bottom 2/3 of the ski down once we rapped the cliff. Shortly after we were savouring a pint in Buet.
Aiguille de Loriaz – SW Couloir
I had spied this line I wanted to ski and with the good weather the west facing lines were turning into lush velvet corn so the day I had no one to ski a with I went on a training run from Le Buet to Col Cornes de Loriaz in 2.75 hrs on heavy AT kit (the cornices getting sun on the east face above motivate you!). I hung out on the col for 45 mins to allow the snow to soften then was able to join the couloirs on flat lush spring snow without taking my skis off.