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.

Greenland Heliskiing

It’s that time again. With so much fun skiing, and little time to blog, here’s a quick note from Geneva airport to say that skiing in the alps is still super fine, especially on the south side where there’s still lots of snow.

I’m off for three weeks to Greenlandic polar powder and corn. I hope to update a wee bit from there. It’s snowing there now and I’m so looking forward to being in Kangaamiut again.

Happy trails!!!

Fat Verbier

With the 30cm that fell last week, and another 20cm this week, it now truly feels like winter in these Alps. I’ve waited to post more photos and stories since my last edit because of the polemic surrounding it. Though many of us were able to find great skiing on safe slopes, others were not so fortunate. But I do believe it’s important to continue showing how much great skiing can be done in deep snow on safe slopes. To immediately criticise those who have been in an avalanche, shows not only a complete lack of respect, but utter ignorance by those people judging a situation they know absolutely nothing about. As the great Paulo Coelho wrote:

Paulo_Coelho

Though the “tragic” accidents that happen daily on our Swiss roads are not even mentioned in my circles of attention, our “professional” media sources take great steps in their eager work to sell a few more “stories”.

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Stay safe and enjoy these great outdoors.

Here are few photos from a fine day in the hills back on January 12…