Whilst many of the Chamonix Resorts have been pretty quiet over the last week or so, the Aiguille du Midi has remained busy with all the good weather and good conditions for skiing the Vallee Blanche. Yesterday even the Midi was pretty quiet and our reservation for the telecabine was obsolete as there was no queue! There was also literally nobody on the terrasse at the Requin Hut, which seemed pretty unusual but was soon explained by waiting there for 10 seconds to experience the chilly wind. This along with the slightly veiled sky also meant that the snow at middle altitudes did not transform and soften well but stayed pretty rattly!
The skiing on the upper classic route was very easy and pleasant with a well tracked line of skied grippy side country like snow snaking down to the Col de Gros Rognon and beyond. There were teams rock climbing on the South Face of the Midi and South Face of the Eperon des Cosmiques as well as the Cosmiques Arete with it’s new section around the main abseil due to the rock fall last year. The Triangle du Tacul looked well dry and with lots of bare old ice showing through on the approach apron and very little ice in evidence for example on the Chere Couloir. No tracks going over that way or up the Tacul.
There are plenty of big bumps to ski of course going through on the Northern side of the Geant Icefall whilst the Southern side has steeper, smoother firm pack skiing with some crevasses in evidence down the fall line if you muff it. There are lots of tracks on the Periades and a team skinning up towards the Col du Tacul yesterday. Also on the Italian side we had a team doing the Aiguilles Marbrees traverse and the traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves. We have teams doing a Denali expedition training course and some intro mountaineering for another team over the next few days which looks quite tricky considering the poor weather & plenty of fresh snow inbound. Although poor weather often means good training time!
The lower Vallee Blanche and on to the Mer de Glace has softened and was pleasant and easy to ski right down to an area where skis are removed and a short walk leads to the Montenvers staircase, which gets a bit longer every year!
We have places still available on our Chamonix off piste & mountain skills courses in mid April – the 5 day classic course 15-19th April and 4 day progression course 15-18th April. Both courses combine off piste coaching with a ski instructor and ski touring, avalanche awareness & glacier skiing training with a mountain guide.