Christmas Eve on Chardonnet South Face

On Christmas Eve I had the pleasure of skiing with Jesper Petersson and returning to the Argentiere basin. We skinned from Bochard over the Col des Rachasses towards the Col de Chardonnet to have a go at the South Face. Rotten snow meant getting off the Argentiere glacier was really tough and we had been going for 5 hours by the time we got to the face. The weather was changing rapidly and by the time we climbed the initial couloir the wind was howling, tugging incessantly at the skis on our bags trying to lift us off the mountain. The decision to ski down was pretty simple!


Col Blanc

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Dent du Geant South Face

I’ve been waiting for the right conditions to get this done for a few years now. This years exceptional snowfalls on the Italian frontiere ridge of the Mont Blanc massif has ensured the rocks at the top are covered, and on the back of a Foehn storm we were guaranteed cold snow. After queuing with the holiday makers until 10 am for the lift it was going to be a race to the top quick to ski before it got too hot. There was no time to wait for the lift guys to put our skis on the cable trolley and we comically wrestled our skis out of their hands explaining we had lost too much time to wait. Running up the stairs with our skis on our backs to the top station (its nearly 3500m) was a rude lactic inducing warm up.

The climb up to the Dent du Geant follows the normal summer line; characterised by loose rubble and slabs under a dusting of faceted snow which all feels a bit precarious. The reward today was 2500 m of lush rip-able snow and 25 minutes later we were down at the road.

Looking back up, the first hot afternoon of spring produced some pretty impressive slides as the face purged its winter coat, trashing it until next year.

Dent de Geant South Face routeDent de Geant South Face-4Dent de Geant South Face-8Dent de Geant South Face-12Dent de Geant South Face-14Dent de Geant South Face-16Dent de Geant South Face-18

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.