Saturday, 3 April 2010

Only the best day ever.

Yesterday was quite simply the best day of the season. Started off with a run down the Glacier Ronde (difficile, 45 - 50 degrees) off the Midi, and found quite icy conditions near the top - not the sort of place to fall - but then perfect powder from half way down and throughout the exit couloir.

Unfortunately Dave never made it that far because about 150 metres down the Glacier his binding detached from his ski - not ideal. The ski shot off down the glacier and although Tom managed to intercept it, there was no way of re - attaching it so Dave had to wait until someone came down and then borrow their crampons (we had none, oops) in order to climb out. It took him 4 hours to reach the Midi....

Dave getting ready to climb, his ski visible way below.

Having seen Dave off we skiied the exit couloir and then traversed towards the Plan de L'Aiguille, before cutting off directly above the Mont Blanc Tunnel. The powder was untracked, deep, and the lightest I have EVER skiied in Cham. Simply unbelievable, and up there as the best set of turns I've ever done.

We made it back to the tunnel after some bush whacking and a short walk, and then having hitched back down we got 60 metre ropes and headed back up to do the Cunningham couloir (AD, 45 - 50 degrees). This is the couloir running under the midi bridge, and requires a pretty airy 60 metre ab straight off the bridge. We then did 3 further abs off bolted belays. The initial anchor off the bridge is on a stantion on the right as you onto the bridge, and then the next belay is about 55 metres down, slightly to the left as you look in. The remaining belays are on the right looking down the couloir and easy to spot.

Looking down the Cunningham. Cham skiing in a nutshell - steep, deep and uncompromising.

Looking up the Cunningham from the top of the Ronde exit couloir.

The couloir was again perfect, deep powder, and then we traversed easily across the exit couloir off the Ronde, and skiied more champagne snow back to the tunnel. With more snow on the way, the Plan de l'Aiguille and the runs down the midi face are just going to get better....but I'm now in Scotland for 10 days. You couldn't make it up!