between the rain and the job; Some climbing, biking…
the spring weather patterns are making the weatherman look like a hysterical junky who took a bunch of acid before writing his forecast. However, we found a window big enough for a kaw-aw-wing crowmonkey, a growling goat, a punkviking a few frenchies some yankees ..later followed by more vikings and one south african.
BEST cosmique EVER.5 stars. My friend Kevin is here for (only) another 3 days. a trip to cham isnt a trip to cham if you dont “DO” the cosmique. right?. whatever. we went there because we like it that way. too. And maybe …It could have been really good. like one of those days. surprise. no. IT was marginal. completely un -even and disfigured dismembered of sort. I and Mark still managed to enjoy it and Kevin did really good on his first marginal cosmique run . I dont remember the last time i had to traverse all the way to mid, looks like it sucks on a snowboard. Did I mention we were the only ones there? In april? blue bird powder day? that is 5 stars. (just a bunch of fuckin pussies)
My friend Kevin who I met riding in Mammoth lakes california is visiting cham for the first time. We havent seen each other since i moved to Chamonix and he moved to Montana (is there mountains there?). So what a better way to introduce him to cham and to what Ive been doing for the past 5 years than to take him in the heart of it all: Les jardins de talefre. Loaded with wiskey, pastis and cigarettes we go on his first ride up the aiguille du midi and on to the refuge du couvercle on a 2 days trip. My 2 rad friends Brendan and Magnus joined us for the first day. We skied the croulante and the col des droites. both in good conditions. The col des droites was perfect corn top to bottom and is a great run, i have being denying that run over the more aggressive runs around for a long time and it ended up being the best skiing i’ve had in that basin. Dumb me. Despite a crampon coming off his soft snowboard boots , kevin did great and came back in one piece. We would have stayed another week there, but we ran out of booze, cigarettes and snus…
our plan was the summit. but, considering the funky snow we were walking on we opted for the more direct B-line. It was a very esthetic ski and a great enjoyable descent despite that snow which i cant really describe. just funky, hard to read kind of snow. but edgeable. all good. and then the hot chick with a burger.
and here are pictures from my friend philipe Ebert taken another day but it gives a good sens of scale on the first lower section with skiers on it
It was all going great until a blonde smoked us and a block of ice smashed my wrist. we backed off 2 third of the way. Not a good option to have a lazy late start on that one. people start from the hut and by the time you get there they are throwing missile at you from the rocky top……deadly.
We were enjoying a nice rest day drinking coffee under the sun at a chamonix terrace when at 2.30 greg called Olli saying he had just landed in town and would like to take a midi run. by 3.30 we were at the top of the cosmique ready to go for a very good sunset powder run…
Since I have skied the capucin couloir directly facing the angelique i wanted to ski it. The Angelique is very hard to get in good condition due to its aspect (south) and shape (narrow couloir). But this year , all the South faces are filled in and i thought i would give it a try with my friends Ryan Boyer , Brett Lotz visiting from California and Ross Hewitt a scottish chamonix local. WE decided to go first bin and to climb the NNE of les courtes and traverse to the Angelique on the other side. I didnt think much of that part since i have climbed and skied that face making big turns numerous times. I was wrong, it was definitely an alpine climb. The strong N wind have ripped the face of its snow and the face was almost entirely ice. Sometimes just a thin layers of not supportive snow would hide the ice which made it harder. The top 3 rd part was all dinner plate breakable which if you are not used to it is pretty scary. to be faster we all roped up on that part to Ryan who was just flying up it. Actually Ryan and Brett, the 2 californians with heavy alpine ski set up were much faster than the 2 locals. ouch! take that in your face. Oh well, i have a 3 kg cameras. that is my lame excuse. The skiing was “marginal”. the couloir is narrow with 2 banks facing west and south. each banks have different kind of snow , old hollow powder sometime , hard crust , icy bumps , rock steps and so on. and it is all pretty steep. Lower down as the angle soften, the snow was better, smooth powder or spring snow which allows us to make nice big turns. All of this made it an amazing ski-alpinism outing, very technical in an amazing setting, traversing from one basin to the other. The couloir is amazingly beautiful and is all worth it good or bad snow. Call me crazy but this is the kind of skiing I like. We were rewarded by a beautiful sunset skiing in smooth powder and corn down the talefre basin and the mer de glace and then the james bond to a fresh beer at the elevation. good day.
Need I say more?
I didnt climb since i was in Lundy canyon, that is 3 months ago. so I was worthless.ice is scary and …scary and really scary. It is a good skill to have but …it is fuckin scary. it is pretty silly to climb on a frozen water fall.
First day in cham for my cali friends visiting…brevent cold snow/spring snow and some crap. expresso.farmers market pizza and chicken and of course a cosmique which was…surprisingly good…not like knee deep good but silky smooth good. cosmique is always Fun. i think we skied about 27 000 feet…not bad.
The vallancant is one of those runs that used to be “off the guide book trail” but is now very popular and hard to get first track. Which is understandable because it is truly an amazing descent with a very short hike. Now, there are plenty of variation which are rarely skied in the same zone so if you really need to be the first that day it should be easy. I just wanted a good ski out of the cold and wind and in the sun. too fuckin cold these days. the wind was depositing massive amount of moisture snow all around and i was a little worried about that run. I proved right , a big slab released half way down the couloir and went down to the glacier bed . It happened right before us and probably just as the 2 skiers before us exited the couloir, hence their fresh tracks on the apron. the skiing was marginal between slabby hard chalk and soft snow…we met a few chamois and were out of there on time for apres ski…