Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog


~ Saturday 30th January 2016

Working as a guide makes you worry a bit about age and health. I need another 20 years service from these knees! Roger Federer was described on the radio yesterday as "maybe too old" when he lost a tennis match, aged 34...

A quick glance back through the photo album provides some inspiration and reassurance. Fair enough, you need a bit of luck with injury avoidance and genetics, but here are some of the keenest, most enthusiastic people I've been out with recently - all in their 70's...

And Rupert was just starting out on his epic summer. More here:

Off-Piste in Grimentz

~ Thursday 28th January 2016

Slightly cloudy today, for a change. We started with the hike up to the Roc d'Orxival summit, and some nice turns in the steep NE side before a big traverse left lead to the top of the "hidden" gully...This is steep at the top, a proper "aprés-ski" 45 degrees, quite narrow...and completely untouched soft snow. Brilliant!

grimentz off-piste ski guide orxival ski touring

That left us with the afternoon to fill, but the Col du Tsan delivered yet more untracked snow - although the top is completely dry at the moment and you have to walk in!

Col du Tsan grimentz zinal off piste ski touring guide mountain

british mountain guide ski Grimentz

Skinning back over the Brinta we were glad of the cloud cover, and happy also to find some more good snow on the descent to St Jean.

Grimentz Groundhog Day

~ Wednesday 27th January 2016

More of the a good way! Blue skies, fresh tracks and spookily deserted. After a few warm days and over a week without new snow it was a pleasant surprise to find so much good skiing today - really good snow and no-one else around. We started with the quick-but-steep traverse round to the Becs de Bossons hut, always a good wake-up in the morning.

Cabane des Becs de Bossons

From there, a quick descent on good snow leads to the Lac de Lona

and then it's skins back on for the climb to the Basset de Levron. Someone had been up to the Sassenaire shoulder, but there was no track to the Basset, and no tracks down the other side on surprisingly good spring snow (in January!)

Another nice pitch leads down to the Lac des Autannes...

You could make a fast traverse back to the Moiry dam from here, but you can put on skins (again) and head up for more skiing. We made it to the ridge at the 2943m spot height.

From there, excellent cold snow and fresh tracks for a pitch...

And another...

And another...

and yet another...

And to end the day, the descent from the Moiry dam is still ok to ski, with nice snow hidden in shady aspects.

Sex de Marinda Couloir

~ Tuesday 26th January 2016

Great skiing today in the Grimentz classic, the Sex de Marinda couloir. This is the obvious striking gully, clearly visible from Grimentz and reached easily from the top of the lift area on touring skis by a short climb, a pleasant ski and a second ascent. Despite being in the shade all day the snow is surprisingly firm and wind-packed. Fantastic to ski on but needing a cool head - it would be a bad place to fall...

Grimentz becs des bossons lona

grimentz lona mountain guide off piste

sex de marinda grimentz guide off piste ski

sex de marinda couloir grimentz moutain guide

sex de marinda grimentz off piste guide

Vercorin, blue skies and powder skiing

~ Thursday 21st January 2016

There's been a lot of "skiing by touch" in poor visibility recently, but today was a proper cloudless, blue sky powder day. Amazingly, there was no-one around. Fresh tracks up and down. Perfect. We'd left a car way down the lower Réchy valley so skied all the way down through the Mayens de Réchy.

Off-Piste Skiing in Grimentz

~ Saturday 16th January 2016

Excellent skiing last week in Grimentz with the Eagle Ski Club, with huge amounts of snow arriving just in time. The heavy snowfall also meant poor visibility, high avalanche risk (3 days of Cat 4) and most of the higher lifts closed, but Grimentz has plenty of trees and some great low-angle skiing for tricky conditions.

Ski guide in Grimentz Zinal

British Mountain Guide Off Piste

The dry start to the winter means we still have an "early season" snowpack, with lots of weak sugar snow at ground level on shady aspects, whilst the sunny-side is sitting on grass (or rocks) Strong westerly winds all week have scoured windward slopes and created thick windslab. The skiing is great but steep slopes will take a while to stabilise. Off Piste Ski Guide Zinal Grimentz

Ski Conditions in Arolla

~ Tuesday 5th January 2016

About 35 cm in Evolene over the last couple of days, but much more higher up - way too much for little skis! Getting back down was pretty much straight lining.

It's been a beautiful day, but windy high up with lots of snow blowing around. Great piste skiing in Arolla, no sign of action on the higher runs but the drag is open to the mid-station now.

British Mountain Guides Off Piste Skiing

Mont Collon l'Eveque Mountain Guide

Arolla Ski Guide British Mountain Guide

Tseina Reifen Ski Tour Guiding

Aiguille de la Tsa Alpine Mountaineering Guide

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