Saturday, 13 December 2014

In search of snow!

Conditions are shit in Chamonix at the moment. The lifts aren't opening until the 20th, which is the day I leave and no snow is forecast. So we have to be creative and intuitive and seek out those hidden areas which could potentially hold enough powder for a few keen turns. This is the first time, for me, being in Chamonix that you actually get funny looks for carrying skis!

Colin had an idea that there may be something skiable from the Montenvers top station. So at 0930 this morning, We checked the train times. First train was at 10am and then one at 12! In our hungover state, we hurriedly packed our sacks, picked up our skis and walked/ran to catch the train. luckily we made it and soon we were discussing where there may be something worthy of skiing.

We boot packed up the path that leads to the Plan de L'Aiguille in search of a couloir or something that resembled a slope. We continued for over an hour, up to 2200m and then down to pass under the Aiguille L'M. Nothing. Lots of powder, knee deep in places, but full of obstacles and I can't really afford to trash my skis any more. Kev had to carry his skis over his shoulder as his pack really wasn't up for attaching skis. So when nothing skiable was in sight, he hid his skis behind a rock and we continued walking towards the Plan de L'Aiguille. Fed up, we sat down and had a break. To make the day worth while and make the best of a bad situation, we did some avalanche transceiver training, which was actually quite fun and defiantly required! You can only read so much in a book and until you actually try it for real or in a training scenario, then you don't really understand how hard it can be.

short break at 2,200m

Turn around point where we did some transceiver training

Do you want to build a snowman?

Looking up to the Midi, we could see a weather front engulfing the high peaks, so we decided to head back to Montenvers, picking up Kev's skis on our way. And being far too eager to ski something, we took a chance and put skis on. Jump turns and side slipping were all that was required to ski this slope in any fashion. Was the 5 mins of skiing really worth it? Yeah kind of. It was just nice to get a few turns in for once this trip.

The weather is changable at the moment and we're taking it day by day. But the plan for tomorrow is to skin up La Tour and see what we can find. Monday and Tuesday for me will be spent in Verbier on an Off Piste course, but the rest of the week is still yet to be decided. I'd quite like to head up to Helbronner at some point if we can get a lift through the tunnel and the winds die down.

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