Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Arolla Ski Touring

~ Saturday 28th March 2009

Oh dear, no blog updates for a whole week! Here's a long one...

Last week was the "Arolla Summits" week for the Eagle ski club. The plan was to do some challenging skiing and to reach some of the big peaks around Arolla.

It started well - using the Arolla lift we reached Point 2959 of la Roussette by 10.30 on the first day, and found powder on the  north side.

Powder and blue skies



                                    We then made the long hot climb to the Aiguille Rouge hut, and on to the Pointe de Vouasson, 3489m. 

Monday - we headed up and over the Col des Ignes and a steep ski down to the Dix hut then up la Luette, 3548m, after lunch. We skied the steep SE face and got back to the hut just before the "weather" arrived. 

Skiing Col des Ignes west side


                         Tuesday was awful - high winds and heavy snow. We left the hut in a clear spell but soon were in white out conditions - retreat to the hut!

Wednesday started well with a clear weather window, so we set off to traverse the Pigne d'Arolla. Around 3500m the weather closed in, and the rest of the day was a battle against wind and snow. We reached the col du Pigne, 3770m, with a unanimous decision to forget the summit! Then began an eventful afternoon of poor visibility, tricky navigation, roped skiing and a crevasse moment! All ended well though and we reached the Vignettes hut.

Somewhere on the Pigne d'Arolla - 4 people in the picture!


Thursday - a great ski down from the hut. 1100m of fresh tracks!

The reward!

Tree skiing above Arolla


       Friday - with more weather forecast we went to Evolene. At 9.30 they started the lifts specially for us - there was no-one else there! We climbed the Pic d'Artsinol with only Chamois for company, then skied the deserted west side, with a long hot skin back to the Evolene area. A great finish to an exciting week!

Chamois on Pic d'Artsinol

Acres of untracked snow....


Arolla Ski Conditions

~ Wednesday 18th March 2009

 One for next weeks Eagle ski club group!

Today I was over at the Dix hut. Pics here of Mont Blanc de Cheilon and la Luette. Both are in good ski condition now after the recent warm weather, which has been perfect for stabilising snow. Today I found everything from powder to spring snow depending on altitude and aspect.

Cheilon north face from the Dix hut

La Luette from Dix hut

Mont Blanc de cheilon north face from the Dix hut                                                 





                                                                And here are views from Pallanche de la Crettaz (Friday). This is a good day tour above les Hauderes - an unrelenting 1200m climb rewarded by excellent spring snow skiing. 

View to the Weishorn and Zinal Rothorn

Pointe de Vouasson north face

Ski Touring, Les Diablerets

~ Wednesday 18th March 2009

 Just back from 3 days with an Aiglon College group. We stayed in the Chalet Roseyres, a superb CAS property in the Isenau lift area. Touring to the top of Pointe d'Arpilles, les Diablerets and Palette d'Isenau - good skiing and a good "safari" style trip. 

Looking back to Diableretes summit

View back to Villars from Palette d'Isenau

Dynafit Guide Skis

~ Saturday 14th March 2009

 Dynafit Guide Skis

I have new skis! This has been a long wait, hence the excitement. Way back in November I ordered a pair of the new Dynafit "Guide" skis - then, along comes a bumper ski season and Dynafit ran out of skis! After a second production run and a 4 month wait I finally receive my skis - onyl to be told by the shop there's a waiting list in the workshop for binding mounting!

Although the ski is available only to Guides, it's based on the "Seven Summits" ski and shares the same dimensions (113/80/100 in the 178cm length) It's fairly straight with a dual radius 26/22m sidecut, so is pretty stable and grips well on hard snow. It's pretty light - around 1400g for the ski or 1900g with Dynafit comfort binding. 

So far I've only skied an afternoon on them, but off touring for the next few days so more news soon. 

Grimentz off piste

~ Saturday 7th March 2009

 A great week in Grimentz with the Eagle Ski Club. I was working with ski instructor Tom Saxlund of New Generation on a week which tried to cover all aspects of off-piste from ski technique to building a DIY rescue sledge, as well as doing some good skiing. 

Amazing snow, some challenging weather and even some blue sky powder skiing made for an exciting week. 

At the Capucins, Roc d'Orxival

Slab avalanche over tracks, Orxival. "That wasn't there yesterday!"

Earning turns!



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