Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tour Ronde Climb and Ski

The North Face

Keen for a good climb/ski combo, Tom and I headed up to the Tour Ronde after catching the first midi bin. The classic north face route looked good from below so we shot over and after an amazing effort from Tom to cross a very powdery bergshrund we got onto the lower icefield and so began the epic.

The lower snow field is currently deep powder snow - tiring, time consuming and a bit scary. We eventually made it onto the crux and found it in pretty good nick, nice neve with the odd bit of brittle ice about as well. Once off the crux and onto the top snowfield we then got some more soft snow, then some nice neve and finally some hard, black ice.

We moved together on the entire route, often with no gear between us on the easier sections, but progress was still slow, and by the time we'd got off the summit darkness was apparoaching. Having done the descent in summer  I was confident I could get off, but the descent couloir had less snow in it than it did in June! We managed to sideslip and ski most of it, albeit with a brief down climb and 2 abs (one wearing skis), and then finished off with a vallee blanche in the dark. Bit tired back down in town but nothing a greasy burger and chips couldn't sort out!

Overall the route isn't in now, but you can tell that if in condition it would be excellent and quick - definitely doable in a day off the first midi lift, and later in the season the ski off will be nice too.