Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Arolla Ski Touring

~ Sunday 27th December 2015

Tour of Mont Collon today. This is a longish day through some stunning scenery with great views. There's no tricky skiing so hopefully we'd be ok even if the snow wasn't good, and the glacier should be ok even with the current thin cover. Early season is often a worry on glaciers if you've seen the same spots in late autumn, but this year there's so little snow that it doesn't look that different!

Skinning out of Arolla to the Vignettes hut is awkward at first (no snow!) but you can get up the winter line (normal ski way) and the glacier is fine on the left going up. There are some big crevasses in the middle, so sticking left is a good idea.

Surprisingly, the little descent to the Col de Chermontane is well filled-in with almost spring snow, and passes easily.

Tour of Mont Collon. Guided ski tour

We used a rope on the way to Col de l'Éveque, and I was glad we had. There are a few huge, open holes on the slope up to the col. No track either, although a few people have been up the Pigne.

Ski Touring Arolla. British Mountain Guide

Looking back, the Pigne is (unsurprisingly) very open, and the existing track takes a fairly odd line!

Descending towards the upper Arolla glacier is quite tricky, and needs some careful skiing around bare ice with some big crevasses!

Arolla Skiing with Frost Guiding. Mont Collon.

After that there's some nice open skiing on good snow. Phew. The snow lasts all the way along the flat to the hydro plant, but from there down the lower glacier glacier is a battle, very rocky, ski on/off...and a relief to hit the track down to Arolla!

Arolla Ski Conditions

~ Saturday 26th December 2015

Burning off the Christmas turkey today with a little tour to the top of the ski area. There's lots of piste preparation going on and it looks like more runs opening soon. Gorgeous weather and no snow forecast, but plenty of people out skiing and touring and there's some nice snow if you hunt for it.

Worth remembering that today's sparkly surface could be tomorrow's buried weak layer.

It's been warm during the day but in the shade and at night it's cold enough for some big surface hoar...

mountain guide ski touring Arolla conditions

Arolla Ski conditions

~ Thursday 17th December 2015

Arolla lifts are going to open as planned this weekend! There's not much snow at all, but a huge effort making snow and building pistes mean the area will be skiable for Christmas. The forecast is beautiful too - not ideal if you're hoping for snow, but some nice weather for skiing.

la Luette from Pas de Chevre

Arolla Ice Climbing Conditions

~ Tuesday 15th December 2015

First ice climbing of the season today. Arolla tunnel left-hand route. It's still a bit thin so a bit trickier than normal, and you have to be careful where you put screws. We climbed left side pitch 1, straight up the middle pitch 2, then good ice on the left exit pitch - climbing the easier centre was a bit thin and wet!

Janine Frost on the second pitch

Arolla Ice Climbing

Graham Frost, British Mountain Guide

2 new bolt anchors have appeared since I last did the route. The first is on the left, top of pitch 1, and currently tricky to reach going up as there's not much ice. I belayed on screws on a comfortable ledge 5m lower. The second is well-placed on the big ledge next to the old tree anchor. Both work fine for abseiling off, but there's a lot of loose rock on the top ledge which is hard to avoid when trying to reach the anchor, and directly above anyone who might be following.

Ice Climbing Courses

Ski Season!

~ Monday 14th December 2015

Proper start to the ski season yesterday with the BMG CPD ski day, run by Alison Culshaw. A good wake-up call for the ski legs and plenty of great ideas to work on. You never stop learning!

Arc'Teryx FREE delivery

~ Saturday 12th December 2015

FREE 2-day delivery on Arc'Teryx orders! Santa must be working overtime!

Morocco Motorbike Tour

~ Wednesday 2nd December 2015

I've spent the last 3 weeks riding a motorbike round Morocco - an off-season holiday from mountain guiding. In fact we had 2 weeks in Morocco as to avoid the 2000km cross-Europe ride to Spain we took the ferry from Genova to Tanger - a slow 48 hours on the ferry each way, but cheaper and quicker than riding across Europe in November and it gave a real feeling of travelling - no quick-hit short-haul flights!

The aim of the trip was to ride some off-road sections through the south and back up through the Atlas. Challenging riding with sand, rocks and even a bog, and some tricky navigating too. Maps aren't that good in Morocco. We had 3 plus a GPS but they rarely agreed.

Motorbiking Tizerkine gorge nr Tafraoute Guide

Carrying gear, water, and food for overnight camps on a motorbike makes for a heavy bike. Fuel is an issue too - it would be bad news running out!

British Mountain Guide motor biking

Visiting the painted boulders in Tafraoute. These are well known, but a bit faded and shabby now. To be honest it's a bit of an eyesore in a stunning, wild landscape.

As well as visiting the well-known climbing areas of Tafaoute and Todra, we saw some fine rock climbing objectives in the middle of nowhere! No idea what this is called and you'd need a good 4x4 to get near it, but it looks amazing.

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