It’s always an adventure when Fergus is in town. We started our weekend with a ski tour up and over from Grand Montets into the Argentiere basin in preparation for a big adventure the following day. It’s been scorching weather for the past 2 weeks with no sign of fresh snow. Instead, the conditions have suited ski touring with long sunny days and softening spring snow in the afternoon. Perfect stability for a big adventure.
We skied a lovely little couloir to warm up for the big day.
Myself Fergus and Martin had planned to ski the Y couloir on Aiguille d’Argentiere’s south east face. Possible in a day from Grand Montets, we decided to take the leisurely approach and stay in the Argentiere refuge to give us an early start and Fergus some time to acclimatise from his office life. Fergus is probably the raddest office bod in the world. One minute he is working deep in the technicalities of insurance, the next he’s high in the Mont Blanc massif scoping big lines. I love it and it’s good to see his desire for adventure is still burning strong.
After a beautiful sunset, a tasty dinner, a few games of ‘shithead’ and beer, we clocked off for the night in to our dorm room. Unfortunately we shared with a remarkably consistent farter and snorer. Unconfirmed if it was in fact the same person (Martin..?), but wherever the noise and vibrations came from they were certainly not appreciated. We all got minimum sleep.
No bother, off goes the 05:00 alarm and a few minutes later we are devouring breakfast.
We set off around 06:00 just as the sun was striking the Aiguille Verte (4122m).
On approaching the bergshrund of the Y couloir we crossed it and soon saw that quite a lot of snow/ice/shit was running down the couloir probably due to a combination of the 2 quick alpinists ahead of us and the sun hitting the couloir higher up.
We waited for a bit but after a few bigger chunks of ice and a small rocks flew down we weren’t too keen on climbing 500m in those conditions so we bailed and headed to ski something else. Perhaps it would have been better to approach a different way and ski the line from the top. But it’s all learning. That’s the great thing about this place. There is always something else to ski, and if your feeling isn’t quite right about a certain line it’s usually best to bail and try again another time.
So no worries, we skied down and after lunch in Chamonix we took the aiguille du midi cable car at 3pm and skied the classic cosmiques couloir in the late afternoon sunshine.
Thanks Fergus and Martin for a full on weekend! Now time to rest and wait for the storm to bring us some fresh snow…
March was a great month for ski adventures. Short video below!