Monday 3 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I got back to Cham 5 days ago and have been having a good look around so here goes for a first update.

The lift served skiing is currently pretty average but coverage is ok on all areas. I managed a quick bash around Grand Montets and Le Tour on my first day back but nothing else just yet. The next day I was working in Courchevel and they don’t have a huge amount of snow either, so that made me feel better about our lack of the white stuff. I also had a ski at Samoens with Tim and Nick on New Year’s Day and the Grand Massif is also short of snow, but the previous night’s excesses meant that I was more than happy not to have to go anywhere scarier than a red run that day!!!
New Year's Day at Samoens - a good hangover cure.

Basically it seems that the whole of the Alps needs a good snowfall as we now have a good base for it to sit on. Last year the snow didn’t arrive until even later and it ended up being a great ski winter so don’t lose heart!

I haven’t been climbing up high just yet but Damien and Marty reported good conditions on the Petit Viking last week, and also said the Gabarrou Albinoni looked very fat when they skied across to Helbronner the next day. There are also good reports about the Frendo Ravanel on the Grand Montets ridge, and the North face of the Droites looks good although I haven’t heard of anyone climbing it. All in all plenty to go at but the Vallee Blanche is apparently still quite heavily crevassed so it might be worth waiting until another snowfall before counting on getting down easily after doing a route up there.

Valley ice isn’t really my strong point but Cogne apparently has plenty to go at and it sounds like some of the other routes in the Aosta Valley are getting done, as are the more reliable Argentiere icefalls like the EMHM.

 Col des Montets is also OK, and Emma and I went up and did La Colonne, the classic of the crag and pretty bang on its grade of 4+ right now. La Micro Goulotte currently looks very, very thin, but Les Torrents has been climbed a few times, albeit in quite lean condition.
Emma finising La Colonne - not a bad effort for someone whos never ice climbed!!

Abbing off La Colonne