The Black Crows posse of Bruno Compagnet, Minna Riihimaki and myself headed up to stay in the sweet Couvercle refuge for a night. The team excited about a trip to the mountains and the beautiful Couvercle refuge. Bruno pointing out lines Still some good flat snow with no sastrugi on Gros Rognan. Beautiful late afternoon light on the Mer de Glace. The 2016 Corvus Freebird and the Navis Freebird, both amazing touring skis. They say you should always be doing something with your hands in a photo, the weirder the better! Some people still dispute climate change. Here we have June snow conditions in mid March! The last rays of the afternoon before the sun sets behind the Chamonix Aiguilles Minna on the boot pack to the Pierre a Beranger. I’m getting on well with these glue less Evotec skins – time will tell for the final verdict. So much faster putting skins on and off without the cheat sheets. Hut nights at the Couvercle, Bruno enjoying a glass of red. We were joined by French Alpinists who had been on Viva Gel and Whymper. They were obviously feeling the cold and put a lot of wood on the fire. It was so hot that I went to bed on my boxers and couldnt sleep until 3 am. A bit of digital art to show off the partial eclipse of the sun
All the North wind we have had has filled in the right hand branch of Y Couloir really well this year and I have been wanting to go there for some time. I was weighing up going solo to Croullante or going to the Y but persistent afternoon cloud on the Aiguille du Midi made it an easy decision to go for Y off the first Grands Montets bin. Late in the afternoon my friend Kirsti Lehtimaki from EPIC TV messaged me saying she wanted to ski and had a friend coming too. Next morning her friend Matthieu Vigier came along with Chloe Laget and Couttet Berbere so we had a sociable skin up the classic Millieu Glacier. The lack of snow meant very firm conditions on the way up and we used ski crampons for the 1400 m climb.
On the summit there was a cold 5 kph wind blowing and I didnt linger long wanting to find the entry to the couloir, having only skied the left branch before. In the couloir it was thankfully a bit warmer and after passing 5 m of rocks at the top we put on our skis on flat corning spring snow.
Y Couloir (TD, 45 degrees, 5.1/5.2 600 m) as seen from Col des Courtes. Its the big line branching below the summit of the Aiguille d’Argentiere (3901m). Y Couloir with the 60 m step at the base with the stunning golden granite spires.
Julbo Aerospace goggles – the ultimate variable venting bootpacking and touring goggle. The big lines of Couturier and Au Coeur du Monde or Col Aiguille Verte right hand (1st and only? descent by the Scottish extreme ski legends Paul MacLeod and Ewen Moffat with the Dane Thomas Husted in 2001).
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 http://mikumerikanto.blogspot.fr/