It hasn’t stopped dumping snow on us here in the Alps lately. Conditions are very good and everyone who likes powder skiing is smiling! Here are a few shots from the last few days:
Every year the snow settles, disappears, gets blown away or melts, then comes again. We ski, climb and have good days, great days and difficult days. I’ve always taken pictures of the views, sunsets, fresh powder, snow plastered granite, impressive walls, spires and couloirs. However, years after the good day’s skiing or climbing has passed, it is invariably the people we shared the experiences with or met along the way that leave some lingering impressions in the back of our memories. I’ve tried to take more pictures of these people this year, here are some of them:
Its been a summer with much precipitation but also many days alone on nice summits in short weather windows and good snow conditions with little rock-fall danger. Here are a few photos from the sometimes sunny and warm season.
The summer started for me with two trips up Mont Blanc, both of which were cold but with great snow conditions and summit success.
In July and August I spent some time in the Swiss Valais, these shots are from the Dufourspitze, Nadelhorn, Mont Blanc de Cheillon, l’Eveque and the Wiessmies:
Some trips to the quieter areas of the Mont Blanc range, finished off the summer guiding for me. Here climbing on some of the granite in the Orny area.
We then started on some mountain ice and mixed, in great condition after the snowy summer:
Thanks to everyone I climbed with for a good, safe season, hope to see you again next year!
With some fresh snow and end of season calmness in La Grave made for three great days of skiing. All runs in La Grave start with a long ride in the old Telecabine…
The first day we enjoyed the accessible powder from the recent snowfall.
We finished the day with a run on the glacier, Couloir de Banane and Freaux
Day 2 we skied the road run with everyone’s favorite abseil in the middle…
The team ready to ski again after abseiling
Sometimes you don’t need to go so far to find some fresh turns!
On our last morning in La Grave was spent on another road run in the Chirouze area with great snow and good adventure!
With a short walk and some river crossing tyrolean action were at the car and heading to Le Castillan’s sunny terrace for lunch and beers!
Thanks to Gerd, Jurgen and Sammy for a fun few days!
The white stuff has been falling from the skies without much abate these last two weeks in the Alps. Skiing has been the activity a la mode, so skiing is what we’ve been doing!
This is from a small ski tour near Verbier last week which delivered some good skiing!
A few days around Chamonix with some German friends yielded the goods:
Ski touring in the Aiguille Rouges this week was a quiet day out with good views and great skiing:
That was the last sunshine we saw for quite a few days and it was into the trees with Swedes:
There is something special about the moments when the sun rises and sets, the change from light to darkness or from the chilling early hours of the morning to the first glowing rays of warmth cast from the distant horizon promising clarity and comfort. As people who enjoy being outside in the mountains we often have the pleasure of witnessing these moments when the rotation of the earth combined with the light of a star passing through the earth’s atmosphere paints some of the most beautiful pictures.
Come and join me this April in the Lyngen Alps of Norway! The preliminary date is the week of the 13th to 20th.
Ski Touring above the Arctic circle with the long spring days, tracing lines down beautiful open slopes above the thawing fjords, the vistas are nothing short of spectacular, the open calmness of the place, liberating.
I have a good knowledge of the area and conditions as I spent six weeks skiing in the area in 2011 and have contact with locals who can update me on recent happenings in the conditions. You’ll get picked up from the airport, eat and sleep in the comfort of a lodge and be guided for six days of ski touring.
This trip is not extreme skiing, we will aim to do classic tours on beautiful summits where just being in the mountains with these surroundings is a pleasure and risks will kept to reasonable minimum. We will also be looking to ski the best possible snow we can find on each day.
There are literally hundreds of possibilities, we will decide our objectives day by day depending on the mountain conditions and the motivations of the group. The height gain will be between 600 and 1500m per day. We’ll do summits such as Kavringtinden 1289m, Sofiatinden 1222m, Stetinden 920m, Storgalten 1219m, Tafeltinden 1395m, as well as many other possible itineraries.
It will be a maximum group size of 6 people and a minimum of 4. If you would like more details, let me know and I will e-mail you a detailed program with a price list. Hope to see you there!
Hearing about dry mountains and thin snow cover from my sweaty bungalow in south-east Asia, I wasn’t too optimistic about the skiing this January. Arriving home to an unpredictable snowpack thanks to the constructive metamorphism of December’s meagre snowfall lurking beneath the new layers in the two to three thousand metre range on northern aspects and a general lack of covering confirmed my doubts.
However, since new year the snow has been falling in the Alps and yesterday was a good powder day in Courmayeur, Italy. The snowpack is a bit thicker over there and we had a great day in the trees. With careful route choice and some local knowledge the skiing in the Alps is quite good now.
Here’s Erik’s new little edit from a fun day last April:
With shadows lengthening and becoming more defined on the alpine landscape, fresh snow dusts the summits and the leaves change colour as the mornings come with a crisp freshness and the shy sun takes early refuge behind the horizon, leaving the natural world to dance on its last touches of warmth before the darkness lays down its cold, calm blanket.
The autumn can be one of the most pleasant times to climb in the Alps. With decent weather one can climb the classic summer routes and with the new snow and colder temperatures it is often an ideal time to climb some of the steeper ice gullies or north faces in the Mont Blanc range.
The end of the summer and early autumn have included the following ascents:
This is an aesthetic and varied traverse of moderate difficulty on one of the 4000m summits surrounding the Saas valley.
Mt. Blanc de Cheillon is one of the less famous summits of the Valais mountain range due to the fact that it doesn’t quite reach 4000m but is a very worthwhile objective with an imposing pyramid form above its plunging north face, bordered by seracs on both ridge lines. The traverse is an excellent journey up the expansive glacier below the Serpentine and along the airy east ridge to the summit, the descent by the west ridge is easier than the ascent. It’s an AD rated climb taking between 6 and 8 hours from hut to hut.
Gran Paradiso is the highest summit entirely in Italy, not sharing its summit with France or Switzerland, more importantly it’s an ideal climb for beginner mountaineers, requiring more fitness than technique even though the scramble to the summit virgin Mary is exposed. The view is exceptional and the challenge not negligible.