Saturday 13 March 2010

Aiguille D'Argentiere

Fantastic day out yesterday up on the Aiguille D'Argentuiere - blue skies, good company and an amazing location. We caught the first bin up and managed to traverse very easily across to the foot of Les Droites and then ski virtually to the Argentiere refuge, which saved ages compared to skiing straight down off Grand Montets. Once skins were on it is basically a long and incredibly hot slog up to the bergschrund, about 350 metres below the summit. We took 3 hours from skins on to bergshrund, which felt like good time.

Once there we climbed a pretty tedious 35 degree slope up to a narrowing below the final summit slope. With the summit slope being in really bad skiing condition we left skis at the narrowing and carried on up. However, about 50 metres below the summit, the snow became black ice with 6 inches of sugar on, followed by a thin, hard layer of crust. We all felt a bit unnerved by it and weren't too bothered by the summit unless we were going to ski it, so beat a hasty retreat from about 10 minutes from the top. The ski down was superb, not powder but nice, soft snow, almost like a piste but without the boarders to annoy you. We finished off with a nice little steep variant down onto the glacier and then skiied out to gallons of coke and water.