Sunday 12 January 2014

Drought! Time to do something productive...

Well, after 2 epic winters it looks like we are on for a lean one. It hasn't snowed for a couple of weeks now and the temperatures are sky high. As if that wasn't enough, there's no sign of it getting much colder and the predicted snowfall is pretty minimal. The high glacier routes are skiable and it is possible to find good skiing but the endless powder days of 2012 and 2013 seem a long time ago.

Dave Searle summed it up eloquently on his blog, found here.

Despite this I've had some good days out and found some decent chalky snow up at Grand Montets the other day. Right now I'm mid way through the superb AIARE Level 1 course and I'm starting Level 2 on Friday and quite glad that I'm not missing any epic powder days! It's been great to get some formal avalanche education and things are pretty dodgy off piste right now so we should be in for some interesting snowpack analysis. Matt and I discussed ruefully today how stupid it is that it took the death of 2 friends last year to make us sign up for a course, but sometimes you just need a boot up the backside and I got one last winter. Through various training, reading books, studying snow and talking to experts (and of course, skiing through the Chamonix hills for 6 years) I feel I have a reasonable grasp of practical avalanche awareness but you can't beat proper training. We're only a couple of days in but I'd already recommend the course so get on it!

Zoning in on a "victim" (a transceiver in a rucksack) at  the Plan de L'Aiguille. 
Photo Jack Geldard.

Testing the snowpack near Brevent.

Matt LOVING it!

There's some snow due to arrive starting tomorrow but things look pretty unpredictable right now. If there is any good skiing to be had, I'll be trying my very best to find it so stay tuned.