Skiing After the Wind

A fantastic day out with the Finnish House Mafia team to the Breche Tacul which offers jaw dropping views to the mythical North Face of the Grandes Jorasses. Its been 6 months since we were all climbing there in all time conditions and the face now looks a lot drier but still good enough for young Brit Tom Ballard to solo the Colton Macintyre in 3 hours on March 8th. A great effort considering how dry the upper pitches look.

Our ski descent was on sublime spring corn with buttery turns with the only negative for Friday 13th being my Sony RX100 dying after a fews years hard service. Many thanks to Mika Merikanto for the photos. Check out his awesome photography and blog at


Me with the Jorasses in the back ground. 10542698_10153247059653953_2465044037215883954_o11008577_10153247062088953_2671123182703751466_o (1)

The Navis Freebird is proving to be an all time favourite touring ski of mine. 11054738_10153247101693953_1847180050_o

Mikko H and Jesper20150313_122555

Mikko above and below11064519_10153247102063953_1762995949_oMika Merikanto-1

Mika Merikantonavis freebird-1My last ever shot before my Sony RX100 died.


Grandes Jorasses North Face – Polish Michto Variation

Last weekend I got a chance to go back to the Jorasses for the first time in 7 years. I teamed up with Ben Tibbetts and we were joined by Misha Gopaul and Jeff Banks for a social day out. I had managed a day acclimatising up the Midi skiing earlier in the week so it wasn’t a straight from the office hit which Andy Houseman and myself had done the last time on Colton Macintyre. After the warmest bivi ever in the mountains at montenevers, we walked in during the early hours, therefore avoiding a bun fight at the overcrowded Leschaux hut. It was a beautiful starry night and Ben caught a fantastic shot of the face under the stars with several teams well established on the Colton Macintyre, Croz and Polish routes. As we arrived for first light the face was relatively quiet and we quickly got to work climbing neve for several hundred metres. A few goulottes of ice and neve followed with fun climbing that was never hard up to the summit ridge where we were treated with gorgeous autumnal milky light over the Peuterey Ridge and the Aosta Valley.

Big thanks to Ben (Misha and Jeff) for a memorable day and the photos!P1040425Jorasses-NF_michto_marked

The Polish Michto Variation on Grandes Jorasses North Face (2011 photo Ben Tibbetts)DSC_8951montenvers-bivi

Our comfy bivi at Montevers
DSC_8966jorasses-night-2 Climbers on the Desmaison, Colton Macintyre and Croz/Polish RoutesDSC_9004gearing-up (1) Gearing up to go DSC_9041rimaye-jorasses Steep Sugar Through the BergshrundDSC_9077ross-ben-jorasses-selfieA Happy TeamDSC_9117jorasses-ross

The First Goulotte SectionGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-1

Ben TibbettsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-2Ben Climbing a Thinner Seam as We Catch a Spanish Team

Me Pulling Through a Steep SectionDSC_9296jorasses-ross

Typical North Face Icy Mixed Terrain Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-3

Ben Pulling Through onto the Summit SnowfieldsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-4

Gorgeous Warm Day DSC_9478jorasses-exit2

Climbing into the Sun on the Summit Ridge Snowfields
Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-5

Ben Savouring the Summit Ridge ViewsGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-6

Pointe Marguerite – Named After the Queen of SavoieGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-7

Mont Blanc and the Peuterey RidgeGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-8


Martin Elias descending after an ascent of Directe de l’Amite with Korra PesceGrandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-9Ben Approaching the Reposoir at Sundown

Grandes Jorasses, Colton Macintyre

This was a great trip. Turn up in Chamonix, meet up with Houseman and jump on the Jorasses the next day. The weather was perfect, quite mild and conditions fantastic though some ice on the upper mixed pitches would have been nice. Being unacclimatised and arriving from sea level, we bivied at the base and then again on the summit.

Houseman at the lower gully
Houseman coming up the lower gully
Houseman on 2nd Icefield
Houseman on the Crux
Nearing the Walker
The upper mixed pitches
Andy Houseman
Sundown on the Midi
Me on the summit, photo Andy Houseman