Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:24 pm Posts: 73 Location: Seattle, Wa/Chamonix, France
I finally, FINALLY got to the top of the Mont White! I've never attempted because the route's never been in condition the past couple years when I've been in Cham, either too dangerous or not skiable due to low snow and tons of crevasses. It's been an incredible year and the normal ski route was completely filled in and ready to go. Intense warming and high winds the week before our climb was downright scary with all the snow we'd had this season. Massive avalanches, serac falls and wet-slides seemed inescapable so I didn't go into the mountains for almost a week. With temps almost hitting 80 in Chamonix, watching the action from town, bronzing, was fine with me.
A chunk of the Taconnaz glacier fell from thousands of feet above the village. Thanks to the paravalanche, it didn't destroy anything or anyone.
That week half the seasons snow had fallen off and melted it seemed. We got the impression the snow had settled a lot and with a decreasing freezing level forecasted, Dave, Danny and I decided to go for the summit on my last two days in Cham.
After a heinous and heady traverse under the north face of the midi and through the Bosson Glacier we arrived at the Grand Mulet hut. This traverse isn't fun, especially when you're left for dead by some skiers.
We found some buddies from Jackson who were attempting the climb the next day as well. We hung out, drank beer and watched some giant serac fall action. There were about 20 people staying at the hut and going for the summit in the morning. [/URL]
Sunrise from the Dome du Gouter N ridge. The skin up to the ridge was about 20 switchbacks on steep, slippery, hard snow in the dark. A fall here would be certain death and would follow the same trajectory as the piece of the Taconnaz that fell off. I lost my marbles and had to put my splitboard crampons on for the first time. There was about 100 feet of the ridge that was hard glacier ice so we placed some screws and pitched it out. Dave wasn't stoked on his aluminum pons as they ricocheted off the ice. [URL=http://s1124.photobucket.com/user/lizdee/media/IMG_0672_zps56188f11.jpg.html] [/URL]
Sunrise with the Midi on the left.
Ridge to the summit.
Petite Mont Blanc and the Bonatti couloir that I rode a week prior. The massive 3,000 ft couloir seemed so small from up there.
SOMMET DU MONT BLANC 4810 M
We rode through the N corridor as fast as possible. This zone likes to shit down often and kill people.
Dave and Danny shredding with the Grand Mulet hut and Chamonix in the distance. The pow soon turned to knee deep mank as we made it down to town. We had a 15 minute walk down to Pizza Paradis. Then I packed my bags and bounced the next am. It was a fantastic conclusion to an EPIC season in Chamonix! I left feeling pretty satisfied.