Midi West Face Mash Up

I often forget how lucky I am to have the Aiguille du midi 10 mins walk from my house, but days like yesterday really remind me of what a big midi day can offer. I headed out with Ross Hewitt and Drew Tabke (of Freeride World Tour Champion fame) for a few laps off the top.  Things are shaping up nicely for a good spring with the snow starting to bond to the steeper slopes well.  We started of with a Glacier Rond to Salopar which is fun and interesting variation to the exit couloir which spits you out almost at the bottom of the West Couloir.  Its bit of a faff at the moment with abseils and some tricky rock steps, to quote mr Tabke “I’ve never had to use a hand jam whilst skiing before”.  Ultimately it was worth it for the steep, untouched pow turns and just for a bit of adventure too.  Unfortunately Ross’s back gave out half way down that first run and me and drew thought we would have to jerry rig a ski zimmerframe out of our poles for the poor chap. He still made it down and displayed some good freeride skills hucking out the bottom but the pain was written all over his face throughout the second half of the run.  We must have looked quite the picture in the lift station when I was trying to help him stretch his back out.

After this Ross called time but me and Drew were still going strong and wanted more so headed up to do the Cosmiques Couloir which was also in good nick and very rippable. We traversed back to the mid station again and decided it was probably still worth skiing some more so headed up again to check out the Rond.  It was amazing how much it had been scrapped of after 60+ people had been down it and it was alot more sketchy that second time but got better the lower down we got.  In the exit couloir we were both getting pretty bad leg pump (glad it wasn’t just me) and it felt pretty hard going.  On the traverse back we dropped into the Para Face which, as always, provided some incredible skiing to get back to the tunnel.  We managed to keep our skis on all the way to the road and then a friend gave us a lift back to town (cheers Tim).  All in all a good day with many 1000’s of meters of descent with some really good snow, adventure and good company. Cheers boys.

Drew at the top of the Rond

Drew at the top of the Rond

sidestepping....

sidestepping….

sidestepping after handjam.

sidestepping after handjam.

coming off the first rap

coming off the first rap

we skied this bit of snow by mistake and had to hike out.

we skied this bit of snow by mistake and had to hike out.

not doing bad for an old codger

not doing bad for an old codger

the actuall traverse is above and right of ross

the actuall traverse is above and right of ross

abseiling finished

abseiling finished

me on the salopar

me on the salopar

looking good

looking good

coming to the final cliff band

coming to the final cliff band

drew lead the way on the freeride bit

drew lead the way on the freeride bit

ross about to seal the deal with a straightline to compression.

ross about to seal the deal with a straightline to compression.

Exiting the salopar

Exiting the salopar

admiring our work

admiring our work

on the traverse

on the traverse

Cosmiques Couloir

Cosmiques Couloir

Lower down in the cosmiques

Lower down in the cosmiques

Cosmiques exit.

Cosmiques exit.

Making Rond on the third lap

Making Rond on the third lap

Glorious midi.

Glorious midi.

on the para face

on the para face

Dent Du Geant South Face

The dent the Geant is the rocky peak in the center. We skied down and to the lookers left to join the lower slopes of the Marbrees.

The dent the Geant is the rocky peak in the center. We skied down and to the lookers left to join the lower slopes of the Marbrees.

Today me and Ross Hewitt skied an awesome line down the south face of the Dent Du Geant.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go and ski it now unless your prepared to stay in the Torino Refuge to get an early start.  It was touch and go with the heat but  we made it down before the snow pack got too warm.  It was an awesome place to ski starting with a vague couloir which enters a massive hanging face which then joins the classic Marbrees couloir from the Col du Rochefort. . It was relatively easy to get to despite the deep powder snow we had to wade up and the short tricky mixed steps to get to the base of the Dent Du Geant.  We put a rope on for the last section up to the col where you begin to ski as the climbing was insecure in places with loose, cold snow covering scree and rock slabs. Still a super fun day out and the spring corn in the lower sections of the Marbrees was super fast and fun!! It was good to get out with Ross again, its been a while.

to the base of the dent du geant

Showing the route taken on the climb up.

ross climb up

Ross on the climb up.

Ross skiing the south face

Ross skiing the south face

further down the couloir.

further down the couloir.