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Skiing Mont Blanc

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Mont Blanc the mountain of eternal snow – it’s the last few days of May and most skiing has been closed for a month or more.
 
teamready.jpg
 
Team ready!
Starting out for our climb involves a walk down the ridge from the summit station on the Aiguille du Midi and short ski round to the refuge Cosmiques.
 
firststeps.jpg
 
1 am alarm comes very quickly;  you don’t feel like breakfast but it’s necessary.
 
Darkness1.jpg
 
Out the door and skis on, a short slide brings us to the base of Mont Blanc du Tacul, skins on the base of our skis and up we go.
 
Predawn.jpg
 
Pre Dawn
A few hundred meters up and it gets steep and firm, change to Crampons and skis on our backs.
 
Ropedup.jpg
 
Two hours grind further on and we are on the shoulder, changing back to skis to slide over to Mont Maudit – it’s still very dark.
 
Dawn2.jpg
 
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It’s time to rope up as dawn approaches, it’s chilly but not cold, there is a perfect stillness in the air as the light changes.
The Shoulder of Maudit is a steep but short, fixed rope, axe as well as the crampons. We are rewarded by an amazing vista, deep into France, Italy and Switzerland.
 
MauditShoulder.jpg
 
MauditPano.jpg
 
Maudit Panoramic
A short decent brings us to Col Brenva, things have changed and got harder. There is a stiff breeze trying to freeze us, we are feeling the effects of Altitude and one of my crampons has collapsed.
 
Colbrenva.jpg
 
Kimberly and Col Brenva
We eat some food, tie and strap my crampon together, and start up the final slog.
 
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Broken Crampon!
It’s not very far in terms of distance or height from Col Brenva to the summit of Mont Blanc, but it’s the toughest part of the climb – how hard a gentle slope can feel when the Altitude, and cold are biting away at you.
 
Altitudewalk.jpg
 
Laststeps.jpg
 
Last Steps...
At  11 am, having been on our feet for just over 9 hours, we’ve made it. It’s a beautiful sunny day and we can see (almost) forever in every direction. Anything higher is a long way round the curvature of the earth.
 
SummitTeam.jpg
 
Summit Team - Glen and Kimberly Plake and me!
 
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Me on the summit!
Smiles, Photos, Snack and it’s time to ski.
At 4807m there is a lot of wind, hence our first few turns are on hard snow. A little lower and we have powder to play in. Amazing to ski with everything below and nothing above.
 
GlenUpper.jpg
 
Glen Plake
Seracs tower above us, beautiful but menacing, our snow changes from powder  to smooth, refrozen silver and finally to spring snow as we approach the Grand Mulets Refuge.
 
KimberlyPow.jpg
 
Kimberly in the Powder!
 
Tomsummitpow.jpg
 
Me in the powder!
 
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Below the Mulets we rope up, keeping our skis on to enter the Junction of glaciers and cross onto the Bossons.
 
BelowMuletts.jpg
 
Below the Mulets
 
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Traversing the Bosson glacier
Skins on, a bit of scrambling and we are on the slushy traverse below the Aiguille du Midi – not far now – two short descents, some rough loose scree scrambling and a short walk brings us stumbling up the Mid station of the Aiguille du Midi 23 hours after we passed though it on our way up.
 
Traverseaway.jpg
 
 
FinalSlope.jpg
 
Final Slope...
 
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The stumble back!
Many thanks to Glen and Kimberly Plake my intrepid ski and climbing partners on this rather special outing.
 
Routeline.jpg
 

Edited by idris - 6/1/12 at 1:30pm

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post #2 of 20

Noice!  Thanks much for sharing this, this time of year the snow is getting scarce, and it takes a lot of motivation to hike to where the turns are to be had, so it does a heart good to see others geting after it. cool.gificon14.gif

post #3 of 20

Whaooo Great report! smile.gif. I live in Italy but i've never gone thereeek.gif

post #4 of 20

Nice! 

One more reason to dream of Italy. 

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Nice! 

One more reason to dream of Italy. 

 

....or France

post #6 of 20

 

Epic moments with the Incredibles! What a beautiful climb, views and skirun.
 
Is the red line in the last picture the climb and blue the skirun?
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulE View Post

 

Epic moments with the Incredibles! What a beautiful climb, views and skirun.
 
Is the red line in the last picture the climb and blue the skirun?

 

Yes ;)

post #8 of 20

Oh mang.. Such a pity you stopped posting in at the tgr gongshow..theese kind of tr´s are more than sorely needed there.

 

Beautiful stuff, carry on carrying on!

 

Btw, skiing this summer or already in the thongs+suncream mode?

 

Heading down south at the end of june for some turns..

post #9 of 20

That's absolutely gorgeous!  Thank you for sharing a wonderful story and pictures!

post #10 of 20

Bravo!

post #11 of 20

Beautiful.. just speechless at the thought of a day like that. 

post #12 of 20

FKNA!  Very nice.  

 

Cool crew too.  

post #13 of 20

Excellent! It's nice that the weather was so clear for you.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulE View Post

 

Epic moments with the Incredibles! What a beautiful climb, views and skirun.
 
Is the red line in the last picture the climb and blue the skirun?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by idris View Post

 

Yes ;)

Nice catch.  My old eyes almost missed that. 

 

Seriously, this is a fun thread, idris......Thanks for sharing!


Edited by Trekchick - 6/3/12 at 9:00am
post #15 of 20

Just...    

 

Wow.

 

Fantastique.

post #16 of 20

Whoa! This was awesome! Thanks for sharing!

post #17 of 20

Sigh.

post #18 of 20

Awesome TR!  That looks like a great trip with a great team.  Congratulations and yeah, TR's of this nature are sorely missing at TGR....which is okay, too.  Their loss.

post #19 of 20

WOW and THANKS

post #20 of 20

Nice one Tom, good on ya!

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