Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Glacier des Améthystes

Face shots all the way down from GM! (photo by Jack Doyle)
Finally, on Monday, the sun came out in Chamonix. As we wanted to take full advantage of it Jack, James and I headed for a days ski touring up a south facing col! As I had to make some beds before skiing we missed the quieter queuing time at GM and got fully embroiled in holiday traffic... A two hour wait before we could start skiing was a good reminder to get up earlier now! With it being the first morning of half term, holidaymakers were obviously being cautious as the Rognon glacier was still pretty untracked. The thigh deep powder provided some amazing face shots but it would have been more fun if we hadn't had to pole our way down the less steep sections...
Trench warfare.... (Jack Doyle)
Chasing the sunrise.

As we were a bit late and started skinning at midday, we had a bit of a race to get back into the sun away from the shadow of Les Droites. The temperature difference between the shade and sun was ridiculous and we were soon trying to think of ways to wear less clothes without getting sun burnt! By the time we got to the hut, there was a decent skin track up the Col du Tour Noir as well as the Col d'Argentière. James had done most of the Col d'Argentière a few weeks ago so we opted for the first col, which I hadn't done either.

Heading up (Jack Doyle)
Slowly, slowly getting there! (James Matthews)
The skin up was pretty long and brutal in the heat - maybe not the best idea for the first ski tour of the season! We got most of the way up but ran out of steam just before the final steeper section to the col itself and decided to call it a day. As only five other people had skied down the right hand bank the ski down wasn't exactly tracked out! Although the snow wasn't quite as good as coming past the Rognon it was still pretty fun, until we hit a short section near the bottom that had refrozen.

A few face plants as well as face shots.... (James Matthews)

Even though Monday was not a technically challenging day, it felt amazing to be back in the mountains at last and back in one of my favourite basins. It was even nicer to escape the holiday crowds at GM and to see more or less no one else for the whole day! Thanks to James and Jack for good banter and for letting me steal their photos (I forgot my camera and had to use my phone instead.) In spite of crashing and landing on my head a couple of times, Monday was definitely a day to remind me how good it can be to live in Chamonix!

Back into the shade and sun burn free!
(James Matthews)

No comments:

Post a Comment