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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Gran Paradiso Ski Touring

~ Saturday 30th March 2013

 Driven away from Switzerland by the terrible forecast we headed for the Gran Paradiso, where the sun (almost) always shines. This time, sadly, it didn't but the food was great, the wine cheap and the Chabod hut welcome was as friendly as ever. Our attempt on the Gran Paradiso itself started well but soon the clouds rolled in and the approach from Chabod is unusually crevassed - not a good combination. Retreat wasn't too bad though, with 1000m of fresh tracks in deep snow. So good that after a quick skin back up to the hut for espresso, we did it again. 

resting on the way up...

Resting on the way up. 

resting on the way down!

Resting on the way down!

 

Movement make good telemark skis!

Real men drink...

Real men drink Ponce. 

 

Zermatt Ski Touring

~ Wednesday 27th March 2013

 After a foggy early morning drive and negociation of the Zermatt parking, trains and lift system it was a relief to actually get skis on and start skinning yesterday. The clouds rolled in as we went up the Breithorn but it made for an atmospheric ascent and well earned fresh tracks on the way down. 

We stayed at the excellent Rifugio Teodul  - great food and a warm welcome!

This morning we skinned back to Breithorn pass before heading round to the Schwarztor glacier for a great ski in fresh snow. 

Arcteryx

~ Saturday 23rd March 2013

A quick report on a winter's wear of Arcteryx clothing - Fury trousers, Gamma MX jacket and Gamma MX Hoody, Atom Light Hoody for chilly days being the most used things. Arcteryx have supported the BMG for a while now but there's no bias here - this is the toughest and best made clothing I've used.

The Fury trousers have skied about 70 days now, on and off piste, lift access and touring, and there's hardly a mark on them. Good pockets, neat fit, and ankle reinforcing patches that actually work - no ski cuts at all in the fabric. Warm enough with thermals for cold days, good side vents for warm days, and they shed snow well enough to not need overtrousers.

The Gamma jackets came neatly embroidered with BMG and IFMGA badges so they're not for the shy guide, but they are proving to be indestructable. Good hood fit, easy access chest pockets and long sleeves with neat fitting cuffs and no silly velcro fasteners. Weatherproof enough to rarely need a shell jacket in winter too. 

The Atom LT is the most versatile light duvet I've tried and has had a lot of use summer and winter. It's not the warmest (get a full weight Atom) but that means it gets worn lots when a heavier jacket might be too hot, and works as a mid layer on cold days. Packs small too. 

Overall I really can't think of a bad thing to say about any of this kit. Ok, it's not cheap but it fits, works and lasts better than other makes, and I'll be buying more. I fit a large in everything, but bought the Atom LT in XL which fits well as an overjacket. 

 

 

St Foy Tarentaise Off Piste

~ Saturday 23rd March 2013

 Change of scene this week, swapping the peaceful little backwaters of Evolene for the world famous ski mecca of the Tarentaise. The fun started on the drive down which I timed perfectly to hit piste-emptying rush hour in Argentiere, Chamonix and Mégeve. There was a bit of clear road before joining the traffic jam up from Albertville as half of Paris and Belgium tried to reach Tignes. Oh well. Luckily we were staying in St Foy which despite huge recent development is still fairly peaceful. 

The next day brought bad weather but good skiing in the woods. Monday brought even more snow and more good skiing in the woods, and a chance to get a good picture of Andy in his tree-skiing camouflage before he hit the piste (literally) and left us 1 man down for the rest of the week. I hope you mend quickly!

Self catering apartment

Next day, more snow...then the sun came out, yippeee! Next day we made a quick descent from Col Granier in perfect deep powder before the clouds rolled in. More snow! 

Below Col Granier

Next day...sun! After 4 days in St Foy we went for the big resort experience in les Arcs. Some brave French men jumped into the steep slope below the Grand Col then turned right, leaving us some brilliant untracked skiing all the way down in great scenery. Awesome. Lunch on a sunny terrace before another long run down a deserted Combe des Lanchettes made for a great day's skiing. 

With more stable conditions at last we skinned quickly up the Foglietta on Friday looking to ski the North face. Great conditions, more fresh tracks...

 

Skinning up Foglietta

Grimentz and Zinal Off Piste

~ Friday 15th March 2013

 As usual the week in Grimentz and Zinal didn't disappoint. Despite a miserable forecast the weather turned out ok, although several days needed plan B...or C and even D. Anyway, great skiing with members of the Eagle Ski Club. Lots of powder, spring snow, occasional crust, bumps, ice, ruts, trees, fence posts, metal spikes, and some river crossings. All in all a good week!

Roc d'Orzival

Arriving at the Brinta

The Dam(n) Gully

The Dam(n) Gully

Powder on the Lona

Exiting the Torrent de Lona

In the Torrent de Lona!

Orzival

Vallon de Rechy

Summer!

~ Wednesday 6th March 2013

 It's been a week of change with the long spell of settled cold being replaced by warm, wet and windy weather. Even more of a surprise was the Swiss move to cap excecutive pay. Whatever next?

Meanwhile in the real world it's still mid ski season with the main touring period just starting up, but it's time to start thinking ahead. The summer season is booking up fast with a lot of bookings coming in in the last week. We still have some free weeks in June and 1 week in July available, plus a week in September.

It's worth thinking "outside the box" too - if you're keen on snowy mixed routes or late season ski touring on the higher peaks then May is a great time of year. If you like quiet mountains and colder temperatures late September and into October can be really good. 

 

 

Intro Ski Touring

~ Saturday 2nd March 2013

 This intro day was run with the excellent Sport Evasion shop in Evolene. Perfect weather, good snow with just a little bit of crust thrown in for realism...We toured up the Pic Artsinol, then skied all the way down through Arbey. 

Une journée "initiation au ski de rando" organisée en colloration avec le magasin de Sport Évasion a Évolene. Ciel bleu et neige de reve avec juste quelques virages un peu croutés pour rajouter un peut de réalisme en nous rapellant que tout n'est pas poudre... Montés au sommet du Pic Artsinol, nous sommes redescendus par la combe avant de rejoindre le hameau d'Arbey. 

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