With the good weather bubble persisting over the alps I felt it was time to go out again. Last week Marcello, Kivik and I found ourselves before the Grand Montets cablecar.
After the usual delay of sorting out gear out of a messy van we catched the ben at 9.30 leaving at 10 at the top. We skied down, I broke a ski pole and we started skinning up for the Face Nord des Courtes. Last few weeks we did some big cardio trips, they’ve made me stronger and now I can almost keep up with those 2 skitour rockets, but they still have more men in the engine room shoveling coal !
At around 11 we cross the bergschrund and off we go for 1000m snow, ice and mixte on “ the voie des Autrichiens” We decided not to rope up but after 200m the wall gets steeper and the climbing a little more tricky. The rope comes out of the bags and we continue simul climbing but with the thin ice and the little 2 cam’s we brought protection is rather sparse.
Conditions are dryer than expected. Sometimes there’s a good section of bomber neve but then it gets followed by some hard ice covered with a thin layer of snow and that makes climbing slow by times. On the last 100m ice section before the summit we feel a bit tired. The usual smile had gone form Marcel’s face but with little climbing left we were quickly on the summit were the sun was greeting us. Marcel’s infectious smile came back and we all enjoyed the beautiful panorama in evening light ! We could have been there for ages just looking around and dreaming of futur projects but as the sun started setting it was time to go down the NE slope.
The downclimbing is rathter straithforward and conditions were excellent. Back on the glacier we put the ski’s on and started sliding down the glacier and shredded down the freshly groomed ski slopes of the grand montets ski area. In the car park just one thing was waiting for us : Beer !
All pictures By Kivik Francois. Un tout grand merci !!!