Autumn Rock Climbs

After a cool and wet summer, we have been experiencing a wonderfully warm and dry autumn. Temperatures have been very mild, making for fabulous rock climbing on warm rock. One still needs to carefully choose the aspect since climbing in the shade means cool fingers and dramatically lower temperatures. Add to that, a wee bit of air movement, and one wants that light puffy jacket.

You’d think that all these wonderful colours and low light would inspire me to take a half decent camera. But I have settled for the iPhone and a touch of Lightroom filters to bring out what I saw on these climbs. Whether sharing new experiences with clients, friends, or family, in the mountains or on the water, fine autumn weather is magic. Don’t you think?

Intro to Alpinisme in September

Come join us for an Introduction to Alpinisme and take advantage of the perfect conditions this September. Summer has been cold and wet and the forecast for September is perfect. We will climb a fun peak, using crampons, roped together, on snow and rock. The first course, this weekend, September 6-7, is Sfr.490.00/person.

I have just finished an intro to alpinism in Zermatt and Saas, climbing some of the 4000 meter peaks in the valleys. Conditions are excellent now after many days of fine weather. Working with Jonathon of Alpine Ascents International proved to be very entertaining. Lots of enthusiasm was found all around as we romped from valley floor to mountain peak, moving from comfy hut to comfy hut, and even finding time for a Via Ferrata. Using the lifts scattered around these valleys helped our return to the valley floor, saving our knees for more fun days ahead.

Aiguille de Chardonnet

After a full month’s hiatus in Hawaii with my two kids, Anya and Kevin, Ton and I climbed the Aiguille de Chardonet in what seemed to be one of the finest days this summer. The weather has been mostly cold and wet, breaking many records for precipitation.

We left the Trient Hut at 3:00 AM under a half moon and crystal clear skies. There was not a breath of wind, making the sub-zero temperature feel mild. Walking across the Trient Plateu towards the Col Superior de Tour on a soft bed of 10cm of consolidated snow was magical. The lights twinkled in the valley below while the stars tried their best to illuminate our path with the moon. Passing through the shadow of the west facing col, we used headlamps again. I’ve never seen conditions so good for mid-summer. The 20cm of fresh snow was forgiving, offering good traction on the 30 degree slope. We still haven’t put on crampons!. Headlamps off again in the moonlight, we see 4 other parties ahead of us, having left from the Albert Première Hut. An hour later, we gain the “Boss” as the sun comes over the horizon. I feel the energy in me surge as this magical moment quickly passes. Gaining the ridge proper, the real technical climbing begins. Our pace slows with the harder moves on snow covered rock. With 4 parties ahead, we are forced to wait at each tough section. We gain the summit at high noon exactly, so happy to be outside and on top on this splendid day.

The descent involves short roping down sustained slopes, then 3 rappels of 30 meters to arrive onto the glacier. Zigzagging between crevasses and overhangs, the route finally “let’s up” on the flat Tour Glacier at 3100 meters. flat  Conditions were excellent for all the snowy parts but challenging on the rock sections.

Chardonnet -A short video clip of us going up onto the Boss. It may take a minute or two to load depending on your connection.

3 Weeks of Greenlandic Polar Powder

We have just finished our second week of heliskiing in Kangaamiut, Greenland. Conditions are so fine. Over 3 meters of snow is covering these glaciers, giving rise to new and outstanding first descents. The weather has been just right, with cold fresh snow and 5 out of 7 days blue bird last week and 5 out of 6 this week. Our clients who have made their way to our little operation on Kangaamiut, have found life in Kangaamiut super rewarding, spending precious time with locals to really feel like they’ve been in Greenland. The skiing in the Fjords surrounding Kangaamiut is certainly some of the best in the world, from long cruisers to steep faces and couloirs splitting the granite spires surrounding us. Here are a few quick shots of the past few days, through a super slow and sporadic internet connection.