Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Nearly Winter...

~ Friday 25th October 2013

Beautiful weather in the alps at the moment, but after doing 3 days ski work in Saas Fee at the beginning of the week, thoughts are turning to winter. The dreaded Facebook is excellent for photos, no idea why I resisted for so long. Here's a few highlights from the last 2 winters. 


Patrouille des Glaciers

~ Wednesday 16th October 2013

 It's official, we have a confirmed Patrouille des Glaciers entry. Gulp.

Looks like a winter of plenty of this

and much less of this

Photo: Tea time!

I pinched the cake pic from Judes CupCakes which is why it doesn't fit...


Douves Blanches Arete

~ Thursday 10th October 2013

Sometimes the weather forecast really ruins your plans. On Tuesday morning it was saying good all day then terrible for the rest of the week, perfect for our blast up the Pigne with a nice rest promised afterwards. Sadly, by Tuesday evening "they" had decided that Wednesday would also be nice, the bad weather delayed til Thursday. Oh well, it seemed a shame to miss the sunny day so Tuesday's tired legs were slapped and forced up hill again. It was worth it. 

The first of several pinnacles

The Douves Blanches is the impressive ridge on your left as you walk to the Bertol hut, an Arolla classic, with fine exposed climbing and generally very good rock. Unusually for the Alps there's no obvious hut to start from - Bertol is a good 2 hours further uphill from the start - so a bivvy or walk-in from the valley make sense. Finding the start isn't easy - it goes up some unlikely-looking ground immediately left of the huge slabs below the "Quille". Once on the ridge it's all pretty obvious though...

Route description superfluous 

Fine climbing high up

Probably the crux, an awkward little traverse followed by a steep corner. There's very little fixed gear on the route but there are a few pegs around here. 

Brilliant scrambling to finish, increasing cloud adding (unnecessary) extra atmosphere. The descent is quick and obvious with some loose downclimbing to reach the glacier, then a quick trot down snow to the col. Or so we thought. In fact the glacier was very wet knee deep slog. The col de la Tsa gets steeper every visit and needed an Abalokov thread abseil. From there it's quick and easy down the glacier, find the stashed trainers, and off down the path to the car hoping it rains tomorrow. 

First Turns of the Winter

~ Tuesday 8th October 2013

 Autumn. Time for diggng the potatoes and thinking about skiing...

Happily the Frostguiding parents dug spuds while we went skiing!


It's a long way up the Pigne d'Arolla but it says "race" on my new skis and bindings, so no excuses. Starting in trainers from the car seemed a bit odd, but I was sure that the glacier would be snowy having snowshoed up it a couple of weeks back. In fact there's way less snow now, and we didn't get skis on until around 2800m. From there it was skis all the way except for a short bit through the rocks, snow softening nicely all the time and promising a good ski...

Uphill skiing

Skinning through the rocks , Vignettes in the background

Perfect spring/autumn snow!


More perfect spring through the rocks back down to the Col des Vignettes. 

Baffled-looking bloke in ski kit. Where's the snow gone? 

Winter already?

~ Monday 7th October 2013

 Snow forecast to 1000m at the end of the week. Might be time to dig the skis out from the back of the cellar? 


~ Saturday 5th October 2013

 Well, we held out for years but in the end resistance was futile. You can now find us on Facebook... 

Pouring rain today, but snow high up so maybe some early skiing this week...

Great pictures and news on the Yakshuloche site too. Look at the brilliant cloud pictures


Search Blog

Blog archive