Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Skier and Splitboarder Late Season Touring

~ Sunday 5th May 2019

Just 2 of us last week - 1 skier and 1 splitboarder. 2 quite different ways of travelling around the mountains, but both work! Add some amazing snow and perfect weather...

Battling up to the Vignettes hut on Sunday afternoon we at least had the snow, but zero visibility. Andy achieved London-Vignettes in about 20 hours and I'd just recovered from a calf strain injury so we weren't in top form for the Monday morning. After a nervous wait for the stormclouds to clear, we found ourselves alone on the Pigne in knee-deep snow. A tiring slog, but worth it.

pigne d'arolla ski touring

Refreshed by a night in the valley we tackled the long climb to Bertol in the spring heat. Next day everyone turned right for Zermatt leaving us alone to plough up and over the shoulder to reach the Dent de Tsalion. Good mountaineering ground - axes, crampons and a rope came out of the bag. Cabane de Bertol

Plan A was the Tsalion Couloir, a classic Arolla descent but clearly wrecked by the heat and full of avalanche debris. Happily the other side of ridge had stayed cold in the shade...the rarely-skied NE face.

 Dent de Tsalion

1 more day before the weather broke...time to coax tired legs back up to Vignettes for the Couloir des Vignettes, or "Toilet Couloir".

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