Post subject: TR: Y Couloir, Aiguille d'Argentiere, Chamonix
Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:47 am
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:24 pm Posts: 67 Location: Seattle, Wa/Chamonix, France
The Freeride World Tour has taken over Chamonix/Courmayeur and I've been working for Epic TV, here in Cham, interviewing athletes and such and not getting to take advantage of the sick, stable pow and nice sunny but cold weather. http://daily.epictv.com/blog/2013/01/23/freeride-world-tour-liz-daley-takes-over-courmayeur/ BUT yesterday was the day. No one I had talked to had been in the Argentiere Basin yet this winter and didn't know what conditions were like so Dave Searle (local Chamonix bad-ass: http://www.davesearle.me, CHECK HIM OUT!) and I decided to go check out some rad lines I hadn't snowboarded yet. We decided to climb the Milieu Glacier on the Aiguille d'Argentiere and look in the Y couloir. If it looked good, we'd shred it, if not we'd shred back down the Milieu. We had no idea it was about to be one of the most epic descents either of us had ever had!
This is our route up the Milieu. It's a bigger climb than I remembered, from the Argentiere Glacier to the top of the Aiguille d'Argentiere at 3877m.
I took this picture from Luca Pandolfi's website from when he shredded it two years ago. This ain't no LCC Y...
The view from down here never gets old.
Dave Searle getting to the top of the headwall. "It feels like we're climbing a 8000 m peak!" -Dave. Indeed, it did.
Climbing down from the summit to get a look into the Y.
After some hesitant, thoughtful banter about conditions and whatnot we threw a couple boulders into the Y and seeing nothing but powder explosions we decided to drop in. It looked really steep, I was kind of scared.
I carefully made my way down the steepest part at the top, making turns here and there then Searle sends again.
The pitch mellowed out a bit and got really enjoyable.
We thought the snow in the sun might be sun crusted as we approached it... but no. It was rip-able blower.
RIP-ABLE! But we keep in mind there is a 30m rappel at the bottom.
After the rappel we shredded down the Amethyst Glacier and the mountains lit up in the sunset. The day didn't come to an end until I skated across a slightly uphill, rolling glacier for an hour and a half. Dave Searle waited patiently giving nice words of encouragement. We finally got through the broken glacier to the Grandes Montets piste and shredded down 2,500 ft of soft piste in a total white-out fog, in the dark... Could've done without the fog fo sho.