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Aiguille du Midi opening day 5th Dec '09

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The Midi opened rather quietly, 2 tourists 6 climbers and 2 skiers. I didn't expect many others but didn't expect to be the only ones.

The lift staff told us this wasn't a safe thing to do, but these guys didn't ski much and were not impressed when I told them i'd been the first to ski from the lift 3 out of the last 6 seasons.

The arette was windblown powder on one side and wind scoured boilerplate on the other, due to the shape of it, we had 2 turns on the Chamonix side on the boiler plate, a good test of the nerves with 9000 feet of exposure (yes more than 2 vertical miles).

We were skiing the Grand Envers route being the shortest and steepest variant of the Valley Blanche, and the simplest to navigate in early snow conditions - you can see more of the crevasses and get round them more easily on this route - normally ;)



The first proper pitch was a bit wind loaded and slid, but only 30-45cm 

 

But was good fun non the less.



Lower down it got a bit more iteresting



And deep in places














post #2 of 12
idris,

Great pictures. Something that every skier should get to do at least once in their life. My one trip up the Midi was like being jammed into a Japanese subway. 10 passengers must be a rare occurrence. Do you mean you had to ski from the top? The ropes were not up to get down to the usual starting point? Were you able to ski all the way to Chamonix or did you catch the train from the ice caves?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

idris,

Great pictures. Something that every skier should get to do at least once in their life. My one trip up the Midi was like being jammed into a Japanese subway. 10 passengers must be a rare occurrence. Do you mean you had to ski from the top? The ropes were not up to get down to the usual starting point? Were you able to ski all the way to Chamonix or did you catch the train from the ice caves?

Ropes? Only ones are those we carry in case of crevasse rescue - they don't put them up on the ridge till the new year if its good, I've known them wait till march! We skied out the door, we could have put crampons on and walked, but where's the fun in that. It is a bit narrow and steep - I should take a pic after the next snowfall, it was a knife edge ridge with 35 to 70 degree sides - the short side is only 500 ft to the glacier - or a bloody long slide if you mess up

The ice caves and gondola are closed for another 2 weeks - skiing below that pint is where we hit a rock garden, the climb out to the track to Chamonix was a boulder filed of 4 to 10ft diameter boulders with some snow on. The track itself to town however was quite good!
post #4 of 12
very nice pictures, looks like you had a great day, very jealous, here in eastern Canada, no snow at all yet this year
post #5 of 12
That's fucking awesome! I just think about how many times I've viewed sweet mountain peaks from a car or up on a slope and think I'll probably never see them up close. You guys get to do that. Wisconsin sucks!
post #6 of 12
Nice shots!  Thanks for sharing.
post #7 of 12
Great pics.  It looks like your opening day is 10x better than my best day of the season here in the U.S.  I wish I were there.
post #8 of 12
Holy Chamonix - great pics!!  We were there last summer but just stayed up by the tram station.

That has to be the coolest place on the planet!
post #9 of 12
Nice TR. Nice to see there's snow, hopefully this year's visit will be better than my last one a few years ago.
post #10 of 12
 Sensational photos! Nice work opening up the Envers du Plan. How dicey were the crevasses? 
post #11 of 12
incredible pictures, what a day - Chamonix at its magical best

thanks for sharing Idris - talented skiing & photography
post #12 of 12
Thanks again Idris!
JF
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