January… February…

I haven’t been writing any short stories about the things I’ve been doing in the mountains. I don’t really know why, because I’ve had the spare time. I might have just run out of different ways to say “and then we skied some more nipple-deep powder”. It’s actually fairly hard to write anything interesting about having fun, it’s much easier to write about the experiences when you are cold, hungry, exhausted, terrified…

Anyway. After a depressingly-dry start to the season here in Chamonix, winter finally began somewhere in the middle of January, and since then we’ve had regular and generous top-ups of fresh snow. I’ve mostly just been touring in the woods with my dog and enjoying a bit of storm touring, but I’ve managed to throw some bigger objectives into the mix as well, including a few new descents.

Now, with each new snowfall, the couloirs up high have started filling in and the holes in the glaciers are covering over. I hate to jinx it by saying it out loud, but peak touring season looks to be shaping up rather nicely, so let’s all cross our fingers and toes for favourable conditions.

Here are some pictures from the season so far.

DCIM511GOPRO
Faceshots on a forest tour with Baldric and Mikael Abrahamsson

DCIM512GOPROLong, lonely tours up the Italian Val Ferret

12615365_449250228597220_1569767070043152494_oA crevasse-strewn descent of the Millieu Glacier, Aiguille d’Argentiere

DCIM511GOPROLet’s ski some powder!

IMG_20160121_091036Vallee Blanche laps with Jack Doyle on a Midi powder day

IMG_20160129_082919A dawn raid up Mont Buet with Georgie Fitzgerald

IMG_20160129_092537Baldric tests the stability of the snowpack on Mont Buet

IMG_20160129_110727Georgie and Baldric above a sea of cloud on Mont Buet

IMG_20160204_120052Lunch break snowshoe touring with the Pontoons up in the forest

IMG_20160205_150623King of the forest

Joel CdB1Joel Evans helping to open up a fantastically-atmospheric descent of the north face of the Col du Belvedere, with churning cloud, zero-vis, and howling spindrift

DCIM511GOPROAs I was stepping into my snowshoes at the bottom of the path into the woods, waterskis strapped to my backpack, a group of American girls came over to talk. “Do you know our friend?” one of them asked, pressing a Shane McConkey sticker into my hand.

12778707_10156616362465501_1407024350822310803_oZero-vis powder day on the Grands Montets, but you don’t need to see where you are going with snow this deep.

IMG_20160304_145004_BURST009Baldric in the white room

1907618_10153310380031035_3749452950341067060_nSkinning up to the Col du Passon with Stuart Macdonald

IMG_20160307_113644A perfect Col du Passon with Stuart Macdonald, Tania Noakes, and Georgie Fitzgerald

12828345_10156630327615501_7353259493482577156_oHigh on the west face of the Aiguille d’Argentiere

Dan Belv1Dan Fitzgerald breaking trail to the Col du Belvedere

12496503_10156626182620501_952022995897455473_o
All alone in the Berard Valley after opening the north face of the Col du Belvedere

IMG_20160309_131150_BURST0022Dan Fitzgerald destroying a blank canvas on the Glacier du Chardonnet

IMG_20160309_132741_BURST009Dan Fitzgerald in the central couloir, Glacier du Chardonnet Col de Crist skinOn the way to the Col des Cristeaux with Mark Sears, Alex Collins, and Mattias Mattisson

IMG_20160313_125441Alex Collins dropping into the Col des Cristeaux

12694911_455736721281904_3933077908512781638_oOpening the Chapeau Couloir with Nick Draper

12728772_455738257948417_4906219285021677235_nStorm touring in the moyenne-montagne with Nick Draper

12716200_455739834614926_8170665309503783985_oNick Draper on an unnecessarily-deep storm tour descent

10365535_1312509408777702_7484684864059986850_oPowder touring laps on the Plan de l’Aiguille

dan geantDan Fitzgerald opening up the Gros Rognon on a perfect Midi powder day

12829477_10156630327625501_3245219411510924620_oGlacier du Chardonnet

1401390_10156630328130501_6285926959425550324_oInto the central couloir, Glacier du Chardonnet

dogtour01Fresh snow, one dog deep

IMG_20160311_104003Climbing the ladders to the Col de la Buche, behind the Aiguille de l’M

IMG_20160311_120125_BURST007Dan Fitzgerald at the top of the east couloir, Col de la Buche

12828395_10156638441020501_57692030037035693_oEast couloir, Col de la Buche

12823312_10156638441270501_9019012219144602043_oOn the way down to the Mer de Glace after Col de la Buche

A thousand thanks to everyone in these pictures, either in front of or behind the camera, and thank you for sharing your ski days with me. Here’s hoping for some more great skiing in the second half of the season.

About Pete Houghton

Chef in the Chamonix Valley
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One Response to January… February…

  1. Pingback: Col du Plan north face, 20/04/16 | Pete Houghton

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