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
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.