Tuesday 19 August 2014

August skiing on the Le Tour Glacier

Nobody could quite believe their eyes this weekend when the forecast said that there would be 2 perfect days coming up but, for once, the weatherman was right. There was plenty of wind but after the summer we've had, it's been great just to see the sun.

I wasn't really sure what to go for seeing as there was low lying snow and a cold wind at altitude but then I had the excellent idea (if I may say so myself) of going for a ski on the Le Tour Glacier. Caroline was over from London and as keen as ever so we caught the first lift up to Col de Balme and got stuck in.

With a cold wind keeping us cool, the walk to the newly refurbished Albert Premier hut was actually quite nice, even carrying skis and boots. Photo Caroline Mulligan. 

Once above the hut we skinned up the glacier and then swung round to a small col facing the Table Couloir on the Aiguille du Tour. 

Caroline with the Aiguille du Chardonnet behind.

The final section of the skin. Photo Caroline Mulligan. 

From the Col, I couldn't resist shooting up a final little bootpack to ski this really aesthetic hanging snowfield. The snow was bullet hard and there was a big crevasse below so it was a pretty interesting reintroduction to skiing! Photo Caroline Mulligan.

From our little Col we skied down and found some of the best spring snow I've had this year.

Caroline skiing.

Signatures in the snow next to some poor unfortunates who'd chosen to walk!

Once off the snow we ran into British Guides Rob Jarvis and Jonny Baird and provided them and their group with some amusement when we couldn't find our carefully stashed trainers. Having eventually found them (the rock we'd put them under didn't look quite as obvious as we initially thought) we made quick work of the walk down and were soon toasting our day over a cup of tea and a piece of cake (thanks for the brew Peter!).

It might not have provided us with the best walking:skiing ratio but today was one of the best I've had for ages. The funny weather is now firmly back and there is already a heavy layer of fresh snow above about 2800m so after spring snow at the weekend, you'll probably be able to find powder right now!