Björn, Martin and I drove through to Italy yesterday around midday. The idea was to go for a relaxed approach to Rifugio Elisabetta, stay overnight then aim for the much desired north east couloir (Bonatti) on Petite Mont Blanc the following morning. (Plan A)
The Bonatti is a beautiful, 1000m long couloir on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif. It lies on the north east face of the Petite Mont Blanc, opposite the hugely imposing west face of Mont Blanc. It’s an incredibly himalayan-esque setting.
The Rifugio Elisabetta is located at the end of the Val Veny valley, surrounded by unlimited ski terrain. The winter room is spacious, sleeping 20 with three long bunks and plenty of blankets. Luckily we had it to ourselves.
After some fruit tea and a delicious main course of Ravioli à la Martin, we set the alarm for 05:30 and called it a night. The night was cold, even with 3 blankets and full ski wear on.
Breakfast was served and soon after we set off back down the Val Veny valley for a short while, until we reached the moraine of the Miage Glacier and swung a left.
Whatever it was, it was bloody massive and it was circling ominously above us as we entered the Miage basin. A 7km ski tour from the rifugio got us to the base of the couloir.
We reached the base of the Bonatti couloir and our fears were confirmed. The wind and general lack of snow had made the couloir look far from skiable for ordinary folk like ourselves. It was completely wind scoured and icy and we didn’t much fancy boot-packing almost 1000m and then skiing these conditions.
We looked around the basin for an alternative (Plan B) but the wind had had its way with all the nearby north faces, and the south faces just looked embarrassed we were even considering them. Oh well, Plan A and B out of the window then.
On our way back down the Miage glacier, with Pizza heavily on our minds, Björn spotted a massive crevasse that looked bottomless. There’s got to be crystals down there. Time to put the kit we’d been lugging around to good use and have a little look.
Maybe we’ll find a crystal worth €1million (plan C) and all finally be able to get the ski gear we all want?
So even though our Plan A, B, and C were not fruitful on this occasion, we still managed to have an awesome time in the mountains. It’s not the destination… it’s the.. well, you get the idea.
Thanks Martin and Björn. Bonatti, we’ll ski you soon!