Monday 31 March 2014

Pointe d'Orny NE Couloir

Towards the end of last week it seemed that there was still plenty of powder to be found on the north faces of the Massif but strong winds on Saturday appeared to have wreaked havoc. Lines skied in deep, cold snow on Thursday were wrecked by Saturday so Phil and I were hopeful but not overly confident of finding good snow.

We decided on the Pointe d'Orny NE Couloir, figuring that regardless of the snow, we'd get a great day moving through some of the best scenery in the Alps. 

Looking back down on the ascent route from the Col du Chardonnet.

Mean looking serac on the Aiguille d'Argentiere N face.

Phil at the bottom of the Col du Chardonnet couloir.

After skinning around to the Fenetre de Saleina, we shot across the Trient plateau and put skins on once again to reach the summit of the Pointe d'Orny. 

Phil on the Trient plateau with his fish filleting gloves on. The summit of the Pointe d'Orny is on the right and we skinned up the open slope on the far right of the photo.

Having had virtually no sleep the previous night (I'd been at the Piolets d'Or ceremony until late and then, crushingly, the clocks went forward), this final ascent felt pretty tough. Luckily for me, Phil seemed to be feeling it too so we took it easy. 

Amazing views from the top of the Orny.

Having reached the summit we gave ourselves a well earned pat on the back and tucked into an overdue lunch whilst taking in the awesome panorama across the Trient plateau.

Like a kid in a sweet store! From the summit there are endless couloirs and lines but we eventually decided to go down the ridge slightly to the left and drop into a route which didn't require an abseil.

Once in the line, the snow was good but not classic. Slightly crusty but still cold and really fun to ski. Smiles all round.

It took a lot of effort to push my 109mm underfoot Corvus skis up 1200m of vertical but it suddenly felt worth it, right They ripped.

Me about to drop in. Photo Phil Ebert.

On the top section. Photo Phil Ebert.

Phil on his third or fourth turn in the couloir, being hurried along by the massive snow mushroom above him.

Phil in the middle section.

Me getting about as close to a jump turn as I ever like to be. Photo Phil Ebert.

Phil wasn't really straight lining this bit, I just timed the photo well and put it in to boost his ego.

Phil near the bottom, looking pretty small compared to his surroundings.

Once out of the couloir we fired down the Val d'Arpette at high speed and were in Champex for 4pm, where Nora (Phil's significantly better half) came and picked us up on her way back from Lausanne.

All that was left was to gorge ourselves on a "heart attack on a plate" meal at MBC, made up of burgers, chips, onion rings, nachos and beer. 

Overall, a brilliant day, made all the better by the fact that both of us felt knackered before we set off and nearly bailed before we'd even started. Just goes to show that if you don't go, you'll never know.