Impressive Performance at Kirriemuir

Today Martin, Ivor and I climbed at Kirriemuir. The condtions were excellent being dry and cold with autumn sunshine making the sandstone perfect to climb on. We climbed a number of routes including; ‘Slim Pickins’, ‘Flyboy’ and ‘By Hook or by Crook’. However, the stand out event of the day was Ivor climbing ‘A Touch too Much’ (F7A).

At the age of 70 Ivor climbed his first F7A at Rob’s Reed.. Last season as a team of four (Graham, Martin, Ivor and I), we concentrated on continental ice and mixed routes. We climbed sensational routes such as La Catterdale (WI5/WI5+) on Ivor’s 71st birthday. The autumn was spent in the USA climbing desert towers.

Ivor below La Cattedrale.

This year Martin, Ivor and I have been back in the gym lots as well as climbing on crags when the weather allows. Ivor, now 72 has climbed F7A again today at Kirriemuir. Very inspirational and all down to very hard work and determination.

Ivor showing great technique today at Kirriemuir.

 

Final Day of the Ski Season

Yesterday was the final day of my ski and winter season. Following about 50cm of fresh snow on Thursday night we had great conditions at Le Grand Montets.

We began the day by skiing many lines off the Tabe chairlift as the visibility was poor and the many trees in the area aid depth perception. In the afternoon the skies cleared and we had a great time skiing the classic runs, La Face and Glacier des Rognons.

I will add more photos from the week to the facebook page.

Off piste on Le Face. Great powder skiing yesterday.

Off piste on Le Face. Great powder skiing yesterday.

Powder Skiing at Le Grand Montets

Following fresh snow overnight down to 1000m and fresh snowfall throughout the day, there was some good skiing to be had at the Grand Montets ski area. The slopes were quiet and the lift queues short allowing a number of good off piste runs to be completed.

The Aiguille d'Argentiere during a brief clearing in the weather.

The Aiguille d’Argentiere during a brief clearing in the weather.

Crevasse Rescue and La Face

Today the weather has been challenging in the Alps with persistent snowfall and poor visibility which started yesterday afternoon. We did however have a productive day at Le Grand Montets.

We spent the first part of the day skinning out of the ski area in the direction of the Glacier d’Argentiere. Once away from any hazard presented by skiers we covered roping up for glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills.

On return to the resort we spent time skiing the fresh snow. The highlight of the day was a descent of the classic glaciated off piste run, La Face.

A low body position which greatly aids hoisting.

A low body position which greatly aids hoisting.

 

Off Piste at the Grand Montets

The team and I had a nice days off piste skiing today at the Grand Montets ski area (located at Argentiere near Chamonix). We had a good day skiing moguls, firm snow and spring snow.

The weather was good until 2pm when the weather set in with snow at the height of the half way station.

Off piste at Le Grand Montets.

Off piste at Le Grand Montets.

Col Freshfield and the Vallee Blanche

Today I have been out with a team from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines above Chamonix.

We spent the day skiing from the Aiguille du Midi down the Vallee Blanche but on the way skinned up to the Col Freshfield (3625m) on the Italian/French border.

High on the Vallee Blanche.

High on the Vallee Blanche.

The Vallee Blanche is becoming lean in the icefall section and very soon will not be passable. If the new snow arrives tomorrow onwards it will be a serious proposition as the remaining safe snow bridges will be hard to find.

Interesting snow conditions low down on the Vallee Blanche!

Interesting snow conditions low down on the Vallee Blanche!

Ski Touring in Arolla

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Last week I was ski touring in the Arolla area with Gordon, Steve and John on behalf of www.frostguiding.co.uk. We found lots of good snow for skiing with fresh tracks on spring snow on both the Tete Blanche and La Luette. Below is the details of where we went;

  • 9th April. The Arolla ski area and Pas de Chevre (2855m).
  • 10th April. Transceiver searches and crevasse rescue training near and around the Glacier de Tsijiore Neuve.
  • 11th April. The Cabane de Bertol (3268m). This is a long ascent and therefore it is worth leaving early in the morning before the day gets hot..
  • 12th April. The Tete Blanche (3724m).
  • 13th April. The Cabane des Dix (2928m).
  • 14th April. La Luette (3548m).
Skinning roped together on a glacier.

Skinning roped together on a glacier.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

Sestriere 2018, Book Now!

From the 28th January to the 4th February 2018, I will be guiding alongside Andy Nelson of www.infinitymountainguides.com  on a ski trip. The trip is going to be based in the brilliant Sestriere and Montgenevre ski areas where we will have access to vast areas of ski touring and off piste terrain in addition to a superb snow and sunshine record.

The focus of the trip will be on lift served ‘fresh tracks’ and day touring. The course is suitable for all abilities of skiers including those with no touring experience and those with touring experience who fancy touring somewhere a little bit different!

Fresh tracks and nobody else around at Sestriere!

Fresh tracks and nobody else around at Sestriere!

The cost of the 6 days ski package is, £1775.00. This includes;

  • 7 nights in a 4 star hotel on a half board basis.
  • Wine and soft drinks with the evening meal.
  • Return flights from Newcastle or Manchester.
  • Transfers to and from the ski resort.
  • Lift pass.
  • 6 days ski guiding.
  • ATOL protection.

The course is limited to 10 places so please contact Euan Whitaker (mail@climbnow.co.uk) or Andy Nelson (andyinfinity@me.com) if interested.

Ski Touring and Skye Availability

From the 9th to the 14th April Euan will be running an introductory ski touring course for www.frostguiding.co.uk. The course will be based in the beautiful Arolla valley. Please contact Janine and Graham if interested.

P1140099The climbnow  team also have availability for Alpine ski touring from the 20th April until the middle of May. Example tours are; the Vanoise traverse, the Saas Fee  and Zermatt 4000 metre peaks, the Bernese Oberland Traverse, Chamonix single and multi day tours and the 4000 metre summits of the Mote Rosa Massif. Please contact the team if interested.

Additionally, the climbnow team also have some availability for Skye scrambles and ridge traverse courses this May and June. Please get in contact if interested.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

 

 

Bergans of Norway

Thank you to Bergans of Norway for sending through some of their new ski collection to test and review this season coming. Reviews will go on both the facebook page and the blog over the next few months.

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