Wednesday 12 March 2014

Breche du Carabinier

With half a day free today, I headed up with Jack and Ian to ski the Breche du Carabinier, beneath the Grand Capucin. I'd always had it filed away as a good short mission and after seeing it on Dave Searle's blog I decided that today was the day.

The Midi was busy in the morning so we only got the bin at 9.50 but were quickly zooming down to the foot of the Pic Adolphe Rey where we put skins on, stood underneath a massive serac.

There's nothing like looking up at this to make you get a move on!

The skin up is pretty brief and then there is about a 30 minute bootpack up to the Breche. The scenery is mind blowing and the whole atmosphere is amazing, with the Grand Capucin towering above you and the Tour Ronde over your shoulder. 

Jack skinning up.

Couple of punters at the bergschrund.

Looking up at the couloir.


Once at the Breche we quickly swapped crampons for skis and dropped in. The snow was weird and crusty at the top so we stuck in the side slipping tracks that a previous party had left for the first 20 metres or so and then started making turns where it opened up. Once out of the top section the snow was brilliant corn and really fun to ski.

Looking up towards the Col du Diable from the Breche. Tom Grant and Ross Hewitt's tracks are still clearly visible from when they skied this line last week.

Ian at the Breche.

Another Cham adventure!

We found something taller than Jack! The Grand Capucin really is awesome.

A quick huck over the bergschrund and we were back on the Vallee Blanche, which is currently in really nice condition, with loads of cold chalk and some fun slush lower down. We ended up skiing to town and the James Bond track is actually pretty good until right near the bottom so it should just about last until next week, even with the high temperatures.

The forecast is still for sun, sun and more sun so finding good snow could be tricky but should be possible. Climbing wise, things were looking good up the Midi, with the Gabarrou-Albinoni, Modica-Noury, Supercouloir, Valeria gully and Chippendale gully all looking really fat. The granite is drying out too so ski in/ski out rock climbing could be a good shout. Whatever you do, there are plenty of options for the weekend so get out there!