Friday 12 February 2010

Cosmiques Couloir

View from the Midi
First turns in the Couloir
Say no more.

Tom showing me how it's done!

With an unreliable forecast for 30% susnhine we took a chance and headed up the midi, hoping to do the uber classic Cosmiques Couloir. It was soon obvious that the gamble had paid off as we found ourselves above the cloud with perfect, warm weather.

We did 3 x 30 metre abs to get into the couloir, and then found it in pretty good nick. The snow varied from powder to crust and to corn, often within a couple of metres, but there was no ice to speak of so it all felt pretty ok. The book of death gives it "Difficile, 45 degrees", and although it is steep, the couloir is pretty wide and doesn't feel too intimidating. We stuck left and then cut back right for the exit in an attempt to avoid any windslab, and it all felt pretty solid.

Having got down the couloir we had a bit of a walk/pole/sidestep across to the old midi mid station, and found quite a lot of dodgy snow. A few slabs had avalanched, and the whole slope generally felt pretty unnerving, so we were relieved to get on to the customary perfect powder once we got near the Plan de L'Aiguille.

From there it was great snow, initially in nice trees, then in pretty thick trees, then in a jungle, but it seemed like a small price to pay for such an awesome descent.

After a few cups of tea we headed up for a final lap off the Plan de L'Aiguille and (obviously!) got great snow, and some really steep stuff, most of which Tom jumped over and I side slipped. Need some big skis...and ability.