Alps 2005

This Alpine trip was fantastic and covered a few areas, starting out in Les Ecrins in January we ice climbed and ski toured before moving North to Chamonix. There we spent one cold day at the end of January climbing the Swiss route on Les Courtes on squeeky neve. Then we headed East into La Valais to ski tour on the Breithorn and Monte Rosa areas, finally finishing off in the Chamonix area skiing some classics like Col de Cristeaux and the Armencettes. Alps 2005-6 Alps 2005-7

La Grave Icefalls, Andy Benson on the LeadAlps 2005-8 Alps 2005-9 Alps 2005-10

Hey Fella!Alps 2005-11
The Davin Couloir and Les Agneaux Alps 2005-14 Alps 2005-15 Alps 2005-16 Alps 2005-17 Alps 2005-18 Alps 2005-19 Alps 2005-20

Quiet Day at the Hut in the EcrinsAlps 2005-21 Alps 2005-22 Alps 2005-23

Crux Pitch, Vallon DiableAlps 2005-24

Me After a Stunning Ice RouteAlps 2005-25

The Benson Twins and Nick Wallis in the EcrinsAlps 2005-26 Alps 2005-27

Nick Wallis above Col de LauteretAlps 2005-28

Alps 2005-29 Alps 2005-30 Alps 2005-32 Alps 2005-33

La Verte and Les DrusAlps 2005-34

Heading off up the Swiss Routes on Les Courtes
Alps 2005-35 Alps 2005-40 Alps 2005-41

Aiguille du Midi from Le MontAlps 2005-42 Alps 2005-45

Teams competing in the MezzalamaAlps 2005-46 Alps 2005-48

Summit Ridge of the BreithornAlps 2005-50

The Mezzalama Heading over Castor and PolluxAlps 2005-51

The Schwarze Glacier next to the Breithorn

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The Matterhorn at Dawn from Monte RosaAlps 2005-55

At the Monte Rosa HutAlps 2005-56

Monte RosaAlps 2005-57

MatterhornAlps 2005-58 Alps 2005-59

CouturierAlps 2005-60

Window Shopping in the Argentiere Basin. i.e. waiting on weatherAlps 2005-61 Alps 2005-63

Y CouloirAlps 2005-64 Alps 2005-65

Col des CourtesAlps 2005-66

Col de CristeauxAlps 2005-67

The NE on Les CourtesAlps 2005-68 Alps 2005-69

Heading into the ConscritsAlps 2005-70 Alps 2005-71

Me and the West Face of Mont Blanc Alps 2005-72

Ryler on Domes de MiageAlps 2005-74

Skiing down the ArmencettesAlps 2005-75 Alps 2005-76 Ryler at the Argentiere HutAlps 2005-77

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Ryler, Wolfgang, Thomas, Jessica and Friends on Col de CristeauxAlps 2005-79

Dawn on Mont DolentAlps 2005-82

Mark Ryle on Col des Cristeaux and some Glacier ArtAlps 2005-83 Alps 2005-84

Old Skool, Argentiere Basin Steeps on Altitrails!Alps 2005-85 Mark Ryle on Col des Cristeaux

Gabarrou

A short edit from Luca from a day out on the Gabarrou route on Les Courtes.

PS – EPIC TV chose the title – not us!

My tracks, Cordier-Gabarrou, Courtes
My tracks, Cordier-Gabarrou, Courtes

Attempt on the Gabarrou Les Courtes

Les Courtes Gabarrou-2

Mikko, Tom and Ben chilling in the sun.Les Courtes Gabarrou-12 Les Courtes Gabarrou-14 Les Courtes Gabarrou-15

Mikko.Les Courtes Gabarrou-17

Luca arriving at the hanging glacier.Les Courtes Gabarrou-18

I’m not going well today and about to ski down. The guys blast on and ski from the summit.
Les Courtes Gabarrou-20

Luca coming up.  Les Courtes Gabarrou-30

I get great snow on the way down before it got hot. About 2 turns in a section 100 m wide ripped above the serac. Would have made a good photo from below.Les Courtes Gabarrou-33

Les Courtes, North East Spur

Today was about just getting out for me. Its been an emotional period, I hadn’t skied for a couple of weeks, my back was untested after injury,  I wasn’t sure if the psyche was there for skiing big mountains…knowing the NE spur of the Courtes was in made it the obvious choice, nothing too hard or scary to try and regain the feel for it.

I was joined by Max, Tom and Dave although Dave had to turn back with binding issues.  We made steady progress climbing the face in the sunshine but as we arrived at the lower angled summit slopes, the sun moved off and the snow started to refreeze.  We called it a day and skied from there.

This is the fifth route I’ve skied on this mountain and I think the 11th time I’ve skied off Les Courtes. Truely a skiers playground.

Afterwards we watched Sami Haapasalmi and his Finnish friends ski the right hand finish of Col Aiguille Verte. Hats off for ticking one of the steepest sustained ice slopes in the Alps.

NE Spur Les CourtesNE Spur Les Courtes-6 NE Spur Les Courtes-26 NE Spur Les Courtes-48 NE Spur Les Courtes-64

Tom enjoying the refrozen crusty snow through this section.NE Spur Les Courtes-92

Tom having fun.NE Spur Les Courtes-105

Max enjoying good pow. NE Spur Les Courtes-117

Tom ripping it up.NE Spur Les Courtes-119

Max blasting to the bottom. NE Spur Les Courtes-132

The skiers are at half height. The bootpack is obvious. Steep.NE Spur Les Courtes-137 Can you spot the 4 skiers?NE Spur Les Courtes-141

Still looks steep from this angle!

Traverse of Courtes and South West Couloir

Yesterday I had a memorable adventure going solo to the Courtes to ski the South West couloir. Les Courtes at 3856 m is an amazing steep skiing mountain with routes of equal quality in both the North and South Faces. Here are some photos from the trip.Courtes SW CouloirCourtes SW Couloir-2Courtes SW Couloir-6Courtes SW Couloir-8Courtes SW Couloir-10Courtes SW Couloir-4Courtes SW Couloir-13

The start of the ski line just below the summit.Courtes SW Couloir-24Courtes SW Couloir-26Courtes SW Couloir-33Courtes SW Couloir-29Courtes SW Couloir-34

The abseil line down the V gully in the centre of the photo.Courtes SW Couloir-37

The line taking the leftwards diagonal from the summit to the cliff at the base.Courtes SW Couloir-36A 1.5 m high crown half way down the line which forced me to ski onto the spur on lookers right.