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Spring skiing in Chamonix

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After the Vallée Blanche variant the other day, it was clear that skiing was in the air! I soon managed to hook up with UIAGM guide Francis Kelsey, after talking of accompanying him in the mountains for months. When he realized I had never been on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, he decided this needed immediate action, and we got two amazing ski descents in these much wilder parts of the massif – first, the classic glacier de Toule, a moderate but very fun glacier descent, then the main dish: Couloir Marbré, below Dent du Géant and Aiguille de Rochefort, deservedly considered one of the best in the entire range!

It was also an opportunity for me to practice my off-piste skiing photography skills, especially since Francis has a close relationship with Black Diamond. As always, hard work to get the right angle, light and composition but I am really happy with the final results, especially since I find they translate the awesome experience of those two days very well.

Then, on Saturday, I teamed up with David Garnier for an attempt on the Migot Spur of Aiguille du Chardonnet. To access the Albert 1er hut, we opted for the longer but way more fun 3 cols ski tour, which took us over Col du Chardonnet, Fenêtre de Saleina and Col Supérieur du Tour. The skiing wasn’t quite as fun with our massive packs and the warm weather made the 1000+m skins up true sweat fests, but we were compensated with crossing no less than six glaciers and discovering some gorgeous parts of the massif.

Unfortunately, and despite (or perhaps because) a 4am start, we messed up the approach to the Migot Spur and went up the wrong snow slope. By the time we realized our mistake, it was getting too late to start the climb, especially since there was so much snow on the spur it would have been spelunking as much as climbing. Disappointed, we could only ski down Glacier du Tour, on terribly refrozen tracked out spring snow. Oh well. What the mountain giveth, the mountain taketh away…

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