Great Skiing Conditions

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:

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Always fun to ski with these guys!

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Perfect turns on the Grand Envers Moraine

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The clouds open for a moment

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Alone on the Argentiere glacier

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Henrik coming out of the straight line chute with some speed

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Sunday was deep on the Midi!

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Dark rider disappears 

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Its more fun together right…

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Henrik

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Mattias

 

This Winter in Chamonix, The Characters

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:

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Waiting for the snow kept us rock climbing well into December, here Swedish mountain guide Magnus on a cold day climbing.

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Yogi and general good-vibes spreader Annick with Jonno of Ronin Skis

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Asa enjoying the first snow of the winter

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Chef, skier and climber, Jim enjoys a break in an Italian café

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These guys from Denmark know how to have fun!

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The chilled out Jeremy, a frenchman hanging out with 120 Americans

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Erik from the east coast of the States, psyched on Chamonix skiing

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Smiles on the Argentiere glacier

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London/ Irishman

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Rugby player/ Skier taking a break

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Guide, instuctor, nice guy, tucking in

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Elvis impersonator with Superman T-shirt takes his mid-morning Bombardino

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Bergen local

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Retired school teacher, super skier, no poles needed

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Tony, waiting for the Aiguille du Midi to open

This summer’s mountains

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.

Sunset from the new Refuge du Gouter

Sunset from the new Refuge du Gouter

some are up early for the sunrise shot over the Mont Blanc range

Some are up early for the sunrise shot over the Mont Blanc range

 

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:

Climbing on the Rifflehorn, acclimatizing for the Dufourspitze in the background

Climbing on the Rifflehorn, acclimatizing for the Dufourspitze seen in the background on the left with Liskamm to the right

sunset with the Matterhorn and the flag of the Monte Rosa hut silhouetted

Sunset with the Matterhorn and the flag of the Monte Rosa hut silhouetted

arriving at the Dufour summit

The last steps before the Dufour summit

sun rising on faces of Lenzspitze and Nadelhorn

The sun’s first rays on the faces of Lenzspitze and Nadelhorn

the Mischabel hut guardians enjoying a morning stroll on Ulrichshorn

The Mischabel hut guardians enjoying a morning stroll on Ulrichshorn

smiles and photos on the summit of Mont Blanc de Cheillon

Smiles and photos on the summit of Mont Blanc de Cheillon

morning views on the traverse of the Weissmies

Morning views on the traverse of the Weissmies

a party on the summit ridge of the Weissmies

A party on the summit ridge of the Weissmies

some good rock climbing on l'Eveque SW ridge

Some good rock climbing on l’Eveque SW ridge

climbing l'Eveque with the ridge of La Singla behind and Mont Blanc far away to the right

Climbing l’Eveque with the ridge of La Singla behind and Mont Blanc far away to the right

 

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.

Fun scrambling on the Aiguille de l'Arpette

Fun scrambling on the Aiguille d’Arpette

Laurie getting stuck into some perfect granite

Laurie getting stuck into some perfect granite

 

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Great climbing on sunny aspects of the Purtscheller.

 

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Don’t forget your chimneying skills!

We then started on some mountain ice and mixed, in great condition after the snowy summer:

abseiling down to climb up to the Aiguille du midi again...

Abseiling down to climb up to the Aiguille du midi again…

climbing the profit-perroux gully, high above the Chamonix valley

The profit-perroux gully, high above the Chamonix valley

Laurie exiting the crux pitch

Laurie exiting the crux pitch

enjoying the last pitches up the Arete des Cosmiques

Enjoying the last pitches up the Arete des Cosmiques

Guillaume in a mixed route on the Tacul triange

Guillaume in a mixed route on the Tacul triange

...some traffic on the Schmid route on the Matterhorn.

Some traffic on the Schmid route on the Matterhorn.

...the suns rays interrupted by the Hornli ridge.

The morning’s rays interrupted by the Hornli ridge

...the view down the Hornli ridge with Zermatt below and the north face to the left.

The view down the Hornli ridge with Zermatt below and the north face to the left

 

Thanks to everyone I climbed with for a good, safe season, hope to see you again next year!

 

 

 

 

3 days in La Grave

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…

Views from the Cabin

Views from the Cabin

The first day we enjoyed the accessible powder from the recent snowfall.

Couloirs des Trifides were fun on day 1

Couloirs des Trifides were fun on day 1

We finished the day with a run on the glacier, Couloir de Banane and Freaux

Pow on the glacier...

Pow on the glacier…

Checking our tracks

Checking our tracks

 

Couloir de Banane

Sam getting some speed in the Couloir de Banane

Day 2 we skied the road run with everyone’s favorite abseil in the middle…

Skiing the glacier with some ambience

Skiing the glacier with some ambience

The team ready to ski again after abseiling

In the couloir, ready to ski!

In the couloir, ready to ski!

and skiing...

and skiing…

Sometimes you don’t need to go so far to find some fresh turns!

Almost under the Cables...

Almost under the Cables…

On our last morning in La Grave was spent on another road run in the Chirouze area with great snow and good adventure!

Untracked glacier at 3500m

Untracked glacier at 3500m

Jurgen tracing his line

Jurgen tracing his line

Gerd enjoying!

Gerd enjoying!

cruising

cruising

More good turns lower down

More good turns lower down

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!

River crossing to get to the beers!

River crossing to get to the beers!

Thanks to Gerd, Jurgen and Sammy for a fun few days!

 

 

 

More powder turns in a week than any man deserves…

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!

Clean canvas on which to paint your line...

Clean canvas on which to paint your line…

This is from a small ski tour near Verbier last week which delivered some good skiing!

Max enjoying the cold snow!

Max enjoying the cold snow!

A few days around Chamonix with some German friends yielded the goods:

Skiing below Les Aiguilles de Chamonix

Skiing below Les Aiguilles de Chamonix

Jurgen in cruise mode

Jurgen in cruise mode

Ski touring in the Aiguille Rouges this week was a quiet day out with good views and great skiing:

backlit coldsmoke

backlit coldsmoke

aesthetic forms

aesthetic forms

:-)

🙂

the guys on the summit with Mt Blanc in the background

the guys on the summit with Mt Blanc in the background

Gerd in action

Gerd in action

Fresh lines off the Aiguille du Midi was no rarity this week..

Fresh lines off the Aiguille du Midi was no rarity this week..

The sun dimmed by incoming weather on the Italian Vallee Blanche

The sun dimmed by incoming weather on the Italian Vallee Blanche

That was the last sunshine we saw for quite a few days and it was into the trees with Swedes:

the trees

the trees

Almost getting a faceshot, not easy when you're 2m tall..!

Almost getting a faceshot, not easy when you’re 2m tall..!

the dark rider not playing games!

the dark rider not playing games!

the dark rider again...

the dark rider again…

Henrik catching some speed in the clearing

Henrik catching some speed in the clearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

autumn sunrise

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.

morning light on the Chamonix granite from the Noire de Peuterey to the Mont Blanc du Tacul

morning light on the Chamonix granite from the Noire de Peuterey to the Mont Blanc du Tacul

 

The sun wakes up Italy from the Dent du Geant

The sun wakes up Italy from the Dent du Geant

Sunset over from the cliffs of Kalymnos

Sunset over from the cliffs of Kalymnos

 

The sun goes down in a blaze in Chamonix

The sun goes down in a blaze in Chamonix

The same sunset a few minutes later

The same sunset a few minutes later

 

Come Skiing above the Arctic circle this spring!

Come and join me this April in the Lyngen Alps of Norway! The preliminary date is the week of the 13th to 20th.

The summit plateau of Fugdldalsfjellet

The summit plateau of Fugldalsfjellet

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. 

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

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. 

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

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.

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

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!

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

Contact me

Powder days are here again!

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.

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

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:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKJRJYFHvQs&w=560&h=315]

End of season summits: Weissmies traverse, Mt. Blanc de Cheillon traverse, Gran Paradiso

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:

Weissmies traverse

This is an aesthetic and varied traverse of moderate difficulty on one of the 4000m summits surrounding the Saas valley.

sunrise above the Allmageller Hut, nearing the start of the climbing

sunrise above the Allmageller Hut, nearing the start of the climbing

the Mischabel chain across the valley just after sunrise

the Mischabel chain across the valley just after sunrise

The exceptionally snowy summer makes it possible for teams to gain more height on the snow than is possible in most years.

The exceptionally snowy summer makes it possible for teams to gain more height on the snow than is possible in most years.

The team putting on crampons on the subsiduary summit.

The team putting on crampons on the subsidiary summit.

the summit ridge

the summit ridge

the Weissmies summit

the Weissmies summit

 

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.

sunrise from below the Serpentine with the Pigne d'Arolla in the foreground and the Matterhorn in the distance

sunrise from below the Serpentine with the Pigne d’Arolla in the foreground and the Matterhorn in the distance

Mont Blanc de Cheillon east ridge

Mont Blanc de Cheillon east ridge

 

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.

an autumn afternoon approach to the Rifugio Chabod

an autumn afternoon approach to the Rifugio Chabod

taking in the first views of the objective

taking in the first views of the objective

view from the well equipped winter hut

view from the well equipped winter hut

everyone on top!

everyone on top!