Glacier Rond

5.1, E3, TD-


Glacier Rond is a well known classic on the North-West face of Aiguille du Midi. It’s one of Chamonix best value lines, but hardly crowded. In fact, we saw three other people on the whole route and that was at the beginning. For the little work you have to put in to access the run, it’s unbelievably rewarding giving you a magical 2700m descent all the way down to Chamonix. Steep faces, long couloirs and open powder fields. It has it all.

The Rond is a magical line that starts at the top of the hanging glacial face on the North-West face of Aiguille du Midi (route 3). With a steep entrance of 50° it soon levels out to a sustained 45° for 200 or so metres until you cut skiers left into the Exit Couloir. I always find it funny that to ski these lines you don’t really get to warm up your legs much. Suddenly you’re making turns on a 50° face. But warming up isn’t really what you’re thinking about and actually it’s almost unnecessary. Most important is to be ready mentally. I enjoy the complete focus you experience when making steep, exposed turns. It’s not about going fast or showing off in resort powder. It’s not like ‘normal’ skiing. To me it’s complete skiing. A complete experience of you and your capabilities, nothing else. No distractions. It’s such a true experience I don’t know what else comes close. It’s the closest I feel I can get to nature.

Fergus on the approach to the Rond
Lewis traversing the exposed entrance
Me down climbing the first section
Time to put on my skis, as Fergus and Adam check out the descent with minimal tracks before us.
I didn’t manage to get a photo of the top section, as I was too busy enjoying blower powder turns. This is what it looks like. If you were to look down to the left, you’d see over the hanging glacier and down to Chamonix. This section is therefore considered a ‘no-fall zone’ Source: Teton Gravity Research
At the entrance to the Exit Couloir.
Once off the first pitch and feeling on top of the world, we entered the Exit Couloir skiers left. Here’s Adam getting ready to let rip in this sustained 500m couloir of dreams.
Lewis ripping down the Exit Couloir, with the Aiguille du Midi in the distance up above. Magical place to be.
Me setting off to make the last few big turns before we reached the Bossons glacier, where we continued to ski powder almost all the way down to the Mont Blanc tunnel, navigating huge crevasses.
Opening up the final joyous turns
Navigating through the crevasses of the Bossons glacier
Lewis all smiles, enjoying powder on the Bossons

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