With a good forecast and Vicks keen for her first "proper" ski tour we went to do the Crochues Berard traverse in the Aiguilles Rouges. With easy access, not much uphill, plenty of downhill and a train waiting for you at the bottom, it seemed perfect.
All was going well until I noticed a bit of play in one of Vicks' bindings on the way up to the first col. Having tightened the screw in question we carried on and had a fun ski round to where you put skins back on for the climb to the Col Berard.
Vicks and I at the Col Crcohues. Believe it or not, she's actually only 28.
It was at this point that things started to go really wrong, as the binding had got even looser without either of us noticing. Vicks did heroically to skin up to the Col with only one ski in touring mode and the other locked in ski mode to try and hold the binding together. Having made it we patted ourselves on the back, had an awesome picnic and then headed down. The snow was heavy and slushy but fun and easy to ski, so not too bad at all for this time of year.
Descent from the Col Berard
In the end, however, the inevitable happened and Vicks' ski broke completely when her binding came clean off the ski. With about 3 or 4 miles still to go we tried everything you can imagine - walking (too deep), piggy backing (just no), skiing with me on 2 skis and her holding on to me on 1 (fine until you need to turn) and finally we decided to swap skis and boots and give her 2 skis.
Although damaging to my male ego, her boots fit pretty well and I quite enjoyed the challenge of skiing on one ski despite constantly falling over.
Our intrepid explorer on one ski
The combat skiing at the end of the Berard valley is particularly tough right now, but just about doable for the very keen skiers out there. That said, there won't be much good snow up there so probably not worth it until next year now.
So there we go, quite the first ski tour! An amazing effort from Vicks to keep skiing and smiling, which was more than I managed. A pizza in town cheered me up though and all in all it was an awesome day and a good end to the Aiguilles Rouges touring season.
And she had TWO skis