February 5th 2012

Les Courtes- Swiss Route, and SW couloir descent

This recent good weather in chamonix has been a real relief. It started off well with a quick ascent from first lift of the Swiss routes on the Courtes with Ben and Tom. It’s in amazing nick right now with perfect nevee all the way. I dont understand where reports that it’s thin and sketchy come from as nevee like that doesnt form over night, get on it! I dont think I’ve ever seen so much chewy ice in my life.

Loving the 150cm skis on this terrain! © Ben O Connor

Ben heading into the crux ice pitch

Summit ridge of the Courtes

Myself heading into the South West Couloir, © Ben O Connor

A short while later and we were on the summit enjoying the views over to the Jorasses and Mont Blanc. Now came the interesting bit, well for me anyway! We’d decided to ski down the SW couloir which has some 50 degree sections and is overall pretty steady and steep. That’s all great, but I’d decided to see what it would be like skiing it in my Spantiks and short approach skis. As I put my skis on and looked down it hit me that this was a major upgrade from anything I had ever skied before in this set up so it was with heart in mouth that I executed my first jump turn- thankfully it all worked out fine and I landed it without tumbling down the rest of the couloir. An awesome day out in the hills and deep steep powder to go with it.

Surviving the first few jump turns, not easy in Spantiks © Ben O Connor

Ben showing a lot more elegance on the descent

The Alpine Exposures coffee table photo book