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Chamonix 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Higher capacity which should eliminate downloading queues. Line speed will be a lot slower and the new lift wonít be as graceful or impressive..... but that is the cost of progress.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Apparently the improvement to the parking is an entry barrier and a Ä10 fee Puzzled
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Any views on what the skiing will be like at Flegere next weekend? Looks like it's going to get quite warm by the middle of this week Puzzled
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@tripowski, it'll be pretty much exactly what you'd expect for the time of year.

Springlike. https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/forecast/week/le-br%c3%a9vent_france_3004981

If it's direct sunlight, Grands Montets a better bet. But late starts (although it's probably not freezing much overnight) and early finishes. On Saturday, Pierre a Ric had gone off by 11h00... Cool Cool
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Tomorrow Tuesday might be the best bet for a long time, with clear night skies for possible re-freeze followed by daytime temps less hot than following days.

Sorry that doesn't help yet for the weekend.

Ken
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The EoSB done and dusted, Gregory + I are thinking of wandering over Chamonix way for a day or two.

Just wondering which snowHeads are still about?
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@admin, well, deja vu or what? I would be delighted to ski with the Beard of Administration but unfortunately I am not back from the UK until Thursday. You around Friday?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Indeed @HammondR: not sure about the distant future ie. Friday - we'll see Smile
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We didn't bother with Flegere, we drove over to Verbier instead. Skiing at Grand Montets on Saturday and (until the weather deteriorated at lunchtime) Monday was good though from top to bottom.
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@HammondR, my daughter did a variation on the tour noir tour to the col de argentiere on Sat which she said was very nice. Itís 77a in the book of death and raps down onto the rouges du dolent glacier for the decent.
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@jbob, not got my book of death with me as I am in the uk at the moment accruing domestic credits before a final charge, or meek surrender (depending on th flinging flanging weather). However, I also went up the Col d'Argentiere Saturday. Small world! I bet she set off much earlier than me.

The lift was rammed and I was late. This was compounded by my companion refusing to ski across the high level traverse on the Rognons Glacier, which brings you out right below the Argentiere hut. Instead we took the "safe" route which incurs an additional 40 minutes skinning. Ho hum. Must look up the abseiling manliness. Some friends did th Rouges du Dolent Glacier!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Took advantage of the great weather yesterday to go up the Three Mont Blancs route and down the Grands Mulets glacier. Unfortunately due to current snow conditions not as much or as good skiing (uphill or downhill) as I was hoping for. Since it was more mountaineering that skiing, I posted my report on UKclimbing.com
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/skiing/ski_mountaineering_france_2018-683026

Ken
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@kenr, nice one Ken.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Alas looks like the regime of moisture is returning -- so rather than hang around waiting for some stable dry-ness, I'm thinking it's time to end my skiing for this season.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Great one to knock off, pity about snow but hard to get everything right
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The forecast for the night before included some fresh snow, so we were hopeful, but what little fell didn't seem to stick where needed.

A French skier I talked with on the summit said this was the most booting he'd ever done on 3MB.

So that gave me hope that I should try again. As did finding that my acclimatization methods could work. And finding that my light crampons fit to my ski boots could work (and work) on the slopes of that route.

. . . (of course there was this solo guy on light ski-rando racing gear who overtook us, presumably started that morning from the Midi lift).

Ken
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@kenr, good work on the 3MB route. Had a scary experience up there a few years back!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm home having skied Sunday - Wednesday, and that's my skiing done for the year. A mixed bag off the Midi and les Grands Montets, with the highlight being a descent of Couloir Barbey off the back of the Aiguille d'Argentiere. In hindsight, we should have skied the north face which was in condition for the first time in a long time and saw a handful of descents the past week.

Also had the pleasure to bump into admin and son for a few slushy laps of the Bochard! snowHead Some photos from the Barbey for those who are interested:


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@Fergus, excellent! Looks like quite an adventure
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Fergus, very good tick, not often done.
They did it on chamlines recently.
https://www.downdays.eu/video/chamlines-5-4-le-barbey-couloir/
Did you have to hike back over the chardonnet at the end.
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Yes, Aurelien & co provided us with additional inspiration, however it's been on the list for some time. Not sure why it wouldn't get skied more often - it makes for a classic ski tour circuit where you can get an early bin and be home/in the pub by 5pm. Yes, a gentle cruise up and over the Chardonnet made for a fantastic descent in it's own right - several kilometers of chargable slush back to the basin!

Tell me this, is it normal for people to descent the top of the Aiguille d'Argenriere back towards the Milieu glacier on crampons with skis on rucksack? I don't want to call out someone's skiing ability, but I was astonished by the percentage of 'skiers' who decided to walk down rather than ski. Snow conditions were far from perfect, but certainly not boilerplate or sheet ice. Seems like a waste of effort to lug your skis up then walk back down. Puzzled Puzzled
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Loads of snow on the Montets. Best Iíve seen it for years. Pierre ric is still complete and good right down to Argentierre.

Great weather today. Hot with the snow getting quite soft by 4pm. Getting a bi
t more unsettled from tomorrow.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Fergus, Iíve only been up there in the summer. I would have thought more people would do it, it looks so nice. I guess 1200m up plus extra at the end of the day puts people off.
Iíd never heard of it.
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@Fergus, Good effort. As for your question about down climbing the top, I think it all depends.

I was put off last year by the tone of the description in Baud's book. If intending to climb down the steeper bit at the top, I think it is more usual to stash the skis at the start of the boot up. A good winter/spring peak if you ski mountaineer, and don't fancy being "evacuated from the mountain by helicopter with serious injuries" (Baud).

We skied it from the top on 8th April in just about OK snow. Only 2 others went to the top that day and quite a few didn't. The following day a few friends did it but found the snow at the top had not transformed sufficiently and had to down climb with their skis for two or three hundred metres, putting skis on just above the Couloir. They ski about the same as us.

So I suppose it's horses for courses. It is steep enough to mess yourself up if falling in less than ideal conditions, and everyone has a different appetite for risk.

Incidentally, what day did you do the Barbey, and what was the snow like? Might be a good reason not to just pack in and go home! I take it that the picture in crampons is on the way up, not descending into the Barbey? What was the entrance like. Thanks.
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Anyway, it is boiling hot here at the moment. Anyone interested in the Vallee Blanche? Went down the Petit Envers today. Spring snow from the top at 11:00. It is still safe enough, but crevasses are starting to open up, with quite a few meaningful turns.

For information, the ropes on the zig zags were removed today, and the rest are coming down after the weekend. So if you are not used to that kind of environment, think twice, go via Italy, or hire a guide.
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@HammondR, have a watch of the video in the link I posted, it shows the start. They did say they were searching for it!
Fair play to you for sticking it out to the end.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Fergus wrote:
Tell me this, is it normal for people to descent the top of the Aiguille d'Argenriere back towards the Milieu glacier on crampons with skis on rucksack? I don't want to call out someone's skiing ability, but I was astonished by the percentage of 'skiers' who decided to walk down rather than ski. Snow conditions were far from perfect, but certainly not boilerplate or sheet ice. Seems like a waste of effort to lug your skis up then walk back down. Puzzled Puzzled


Yes it is, given that the Milieu is the 'easy' way up the Aig Argentiere there will always be a fair proportion of ski mountaineers who are more on the 'mountaineer' side of the scale than the 'ski' side. Perfectly good mountain sense if you are not sure of ability to down climb the steep section...
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@HammondR, yes that was on the climb. It's possible to ski straight in off the top of the climb. Navigation wasn't a problem for us as there were plenty of tracks, and good visibility so very much point-and-shoot. Snow conditions were steep corn at the top (quite sloughy) then deep, heavy slush near the bottom. If I was you I'd look into the North face, or the Y couloir - both could be fuuuuuun!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Fergus, bloody hell Fergus; climbed the North Face 20 odd years ago and that felt coolio. The thought of skiing it; well, I don't want to think of it! That and the Y Couloir could both be a bit hairy chested for little old me.

On the other hand, slightly lower temperatures early next week, could be Barbeytastic.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Fergus wrote:
> "I was astonished by the percentage of 'skiers' who decided to walk down rather than ski."

As long as we're not wanting to call out people's skiing competence . . .
How about those who descend the crux of the upper Glacier du Milieu with skis on their feet, but sideslip thru the steep narrow section?
. . . (rather than make turns).

I've gone down it two ways: skis on my feet with making turns the whole way, and crampons on my feet (while my partner on his skis side-slipped most of the way).

Regarding the second way: We climbed up the Couloir en Y with an early start from the Refuge (in another year when the bottom section of Y might not have been skiable). Yes we could have waited at the top some number of hours for snow in the crux descent section of the Milieu to soften, but we didn't much feel like sitting around.

I don't have much experience sideslipping with skis on steep icy hardpack. My partner had lots more experience and felt it was no problem. But I didn't want to do my learning with obvious rocks below the (slanting) narrow steep part.

Yes I should get better at side-slipping steep hardpack.
. . . but really . . .
What is so ennobling about side-slipping thru the crux of Milieu?

Ken
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@jbob, you inspired me!

Went up the Rouge du Dolent Glacier this afternoon, and over the Col and descended the Glacier below the Col d'Argentiere, reversing your little girl's route. Another version of upside down touring.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@HammondR, congratulations. I do admire you tenacity. When are you finally dipping.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kenr, good point.

http://youtube.com/v/ACAdVvO1KMw

You need to watch to the end.
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Argentierre glacier yesterday. Slightly less hot Cool

Forecast is for wind at altitude today.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Had a great day at Grands Montets yesterday. Rognon Glacier and the Canadian Bowl were the highlights. Sweet spot between 12 and 2 pm for conditions over the whole length. Seriously warm later on...

Today Pierre a Ric was fun for a few fast laps in the morning, but Mordor-like Foehn skies and deteriorating snow pushed us to an afternoon stroll down the petit balcon for a couple of beers at the MBC.

Chamonix meteo seems optimistic about fresh snow tonight, fingers crossed. If the wind isn't too bad could be half decent tomorrow morning
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@jbob, the present Mrs @HammondR arrives in the next couple of days, so its home when she gets fed up.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...

KiyokoVB from Tom Greenall
https://vimeo.com/268786367
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Love it
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Ahhh the memories of Grand Montets. Can't wait to find my way there again.
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FYI if thereís anyone left. The top stage of the midi lift is closed due to a problem with the cable!
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