Tuesday 29 April 2014

A frantic few weeks.

Apologies for the lack of blog activity recently, I've had a whirlwind few weeks and have had pretty minimal mountain days in amongst work, weddings and some quality leisure time!

I'm now in the Lyngen Alps of northern Norway, with 8 days of (hopefully) superb touring ahead of me so I'll try to put some photos up on here when time allows.

In the meantime, here's a few shots from a random but extremely enjoyable couple of weeks!

Bridgnorth, Shropshire. A lovely place but quite a contrast to...

...Monaco! There's something so satisfying about eating cheap pizzas on the harbour front, next to 100 million Euro boats.

A quick run in one of the less salubrious parts of Valencia, Spain. 

Lyngen. We've only done a quick half day tour so far but the hype seems well worth it. Photo Phil Ebert.

I'll be back to Cham by the second week of May so stay tuned for updates on how things are shaping up for summer.

Monday 21 April 2014

Grand Montets Powder

Having been away from Cham for a week or so, I got back to some pretty poor weather over the first part of the weekend. However, the sun was supposed to be out on Sunday morning so Tom, Sophie, Sharon and I headed up to Grand Montets and were rewarded with some superb powder.

The snow had fallen on a really icy layer so you couldn't really rip it but after a long spell of warm weather it felt great to ski some cold stuff.

Sharon skiing off the top bin.

Sophie under the crevasses on the front face.

Cold smoke!

A final run down the Lavancher bowl.

As ever at GM, things got tracked out pretty quickly so we were home by 1. The weather is now back to grim but it will hopefully be tanking down with snow at altitude! 

Thursday 10 April 2014


The snow forecast to arrive at high altitude earlier this week never really materialised, despite heavy rain down in the Valley, so after considering various adventurous options, Matt, Phil, Nora, Robin and I opted just to go to Verbier and ski the amazing lift system over there.

The terrain in Verbier is absolutely incredible and although the snow wasn't up to much, we had a brilliant day skiing everything from steep couloirs to mushy blue runs in everything from powder to crust and deep slush. I only seem to go to Verbier early and late in the season but having found yet more terrain over there, I think a powder weekend next January could be in order - it really is a great place to ski in just about any conditions.

Amazing scenery looking towards the Matterhorn from the top of Mont Fort.

Nora loving the low angled powder!

Nora styling it.

Matt jibbing on the way back to the Siviez lift.

Weird snow crevasses above the Dam.

Industrial skiing!

Phil was sure he knew where he was going.

Matt too.

An athlete's lunch.

The team under Mont Gele.

Phil and Robin with the Bec de Rosses behind.

Style personified from Phil on the airbag.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Aiguille Pourrie E Face

With the chance to get out for a morning, I was looking for something steep-ish, with quick access and (hopefully) decent snow. The E Face of the Aiguille Pourrie, accessed from the Cornu chairlift at Brevent, fit the bill so I teamed up with British guide Robin Beadle for a quick hit. 

The access from the Brevent lift system couldn't be easier but conditions for skinning aren't great so we bootpacked (instead of skinning) to the Col de la Gliere and onto the summit of the Pourrie. We had originally planned to go to the Col and just see what looked good but once we saw an American guide and his client skiing the Pourrie in good spring snow, our minds were made up.

American guide and client (high on the slope on the right) kindly checking whether the snow was any good. Photo Robin Beadle.

The skiing was excellent and the snow forgiving enough to make it all feel pretty steady but really fun. Having got down with time to spare, we skinned back up for another lap and the snow was even better for having had a further hour of sun on it.

Me heading out onto the better snow. Photo Robin Beadle.

First turn - the snow was awesome! Photo Robin Beadle.

Me heading in for a second lap. Photo Robin Beadle.

Robin at the bottom of the face.

Once done we skied out on what was left of the Lachenal piste and headed home via some extremely slushy blue runs and the Brevent lifts. An awesome half day hit!

Monday 7 April 2014

Deja Vu on the Vallee Blanche and Toula

On Wednesday I teamed up with Dane, Brian, Dave, Matt and TK (the last 2 being the only ones not cool (sad?) enough to have a blog) for a sociable day up the Midi. We started by shooting across to the Pte Adolphe Rey and then skinned up to the Helbronner and skied the Toula Glacier in excellent spring snow.

Half the team on the Toula.

Back up at the Torino Hut, making the most of the fussball table.

After a couple of coffees at the Torino we shot off down the Vallee Noire in some of the best chalk I've skied all year. The views weren't bad either so the grins were huge!

Big Country.

Me on the chalk of the Vallee Noire. Photo Dane Burns.

With no firm plan for Sunday I figured that the same again wouldn't be a bad option. Not particularly imaginative perhaps, but why change a winning formula? This time I was skiing with Tom, Sophie and Sharon and whilst we expected the snow to be slightly slushier, we still thought we'd be in for a decent day and so it proved.

I've seen some funny sights up the Midi but this was a first. We somehow lost him in the chaos at the bottom of the Arete but I was fascinated to see how he was going to ski whilst carrying that bag.

Me on some amazing spring snow on the Vallee Blanche.

The day turned out to be excellent (as anticipated) and the snow still good but slightly slushier (as anticipated). The banter was superb too and lunch in Italy looking into Courmayeur is hard to beat so all in all a great mini adventure.

It's forecast to rain tomorrow so hopefully that will mean snow up high....