Skiing Mont Blanc

So, did they work, and how were they? Show everyone proof that your ride was a success (or even a complete failure)!

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Idris
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Chamonix, France
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Skiing Mont Blanc

Post by Idris » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:13 pm

Mont Blanc the mountain of eternal snow – it’s the last few days of May and most skiing has been closed for a month or more.

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Team ready!
Starting out for our climb involves a walk down the ridge from the summit station on the Aiguille du Midi and short ski round to the refuge Cosmiques.

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1 am alarm comes very quickly; you don’t feel like breakfast but it’s necessary.

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Out the door and skis on, a short slide brings us to the base of Mont Blanc du Tacul, skins on the base of our skis and up we go.

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Pre Dawn
A few hundred meters up and it gets steep and firm, change to Crampons and skis on our backs.

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Two hours grind further on and we are on the shoulder, changing back to skis to slide over to Mont Maudit – it’s still very dark.

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It’s time to rope up as dawn approaches, it’s chilly but not cold, there is a perfect stillness in the air as the light changes.
The Shoulder of Maudit is a steep but short, fixed rope, axe as well as the crampons. We are rewarded by an amazing vista, deep into France, Italy and Switzerland.

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Maudit Panoramic
A short decent brings us to Col Brenva, things have changed and got harder. There is a stiff breeze trying to freeze us, we are feeling the effects of Altitude and one of my crampons has collapsed.

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Kimberly and Col Brenva
We eat some food, tie and strap my crampon together, and start up the final slog.

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Broken Crampon!
It’s not very far in terms of distance or height from Col Brenva to the summit of Mont Blanc, but it’s the toughest part of the climb – how hard a gentle slope can feel when the Altitude, and cold are biting away at you.

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Last Steps...
At 11 am, having been on our feet for just over 9 hours, we’ve made it. It’s a beautiful sunny day and we can see (almost) forever in every direction. Anything higher is a long way round the curvature of the earth.

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Summit Team - Glen and Kimberly Plake and me!

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Me on the summit!
Smiles, Photos, Snack and it’s time to ski.
At 4807m there is a lot of wind, hence our first few turns are on hard snow. A little lower and we have powder to play in. Amazing to ski with everything below and nothing above.

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Glen Plake
Seracs tower above us, beautiful but menacing, our snow changes from powder to smooth, refrozen silver and finally to spring snow as we approach the Grand Mulets Refuge.

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Kimberly in the Powder!

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Me in the powder!

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Below the Mulets we rope up, keeping our skis on to enter the Junction of glaciers and cross onto the Bossons.

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Below the Mulets

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Traversing the Bosson glacier
Skins on, a bit of scrambling and we are on the slushy traverse below the Aiguille du Midi – not far now – two short descents, some rough loose scree scrambling and a short walk brings us stumbling up the Mid station of the Aiguille du Midi 23 hours after we passed though it on our way up.

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Final Slope...

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The stumble back!
Many thanks to Glen and Kimberly Plake my intrepid ski and climbing partners on this rather special outing.

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deepskis
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:52 pm
Location: Sweden (Gothenburg)
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Post by deepskis » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:58 pm

Now thats's what I call a trip report... Fantastic!!
Every turn is a sign of fear

www.deepskis.com

skidesmond
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Western Mass, USA
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Post by skidesmond » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:40 pm

Idris - Are you freakin' kidding me!!! I'm admiring the awesome views thinking, WOW so beautiful and worth the effort, AND THEN realize you're skiing w/ Glen Plake! Say what?! You Da Man! So awesome.

Tell Glen I said hi. He has no idea who I am by the way :-)

twizzstyle
Posts: 2203
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:25 pm
Location: Kenmore, Wa USA

Post by twizzstyle » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:27 pm

I'm completely speechless, this is incredible. I've been up to Aiguille du Midi and it completely blew my mind, and now to see your photos looking DOWN on Aiguille du Midi... that's a special kind of amazing. And Glen and Kimberly to top it all off, you sir are an incredibly lucky man!

Huck Pitueee
Posts: 192
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:51 pm

Post by Huck Pitueee » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:56 pm

Those shots are insane!

OAC
Posts: 954
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:34 am
Location: Sweden
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Post by OAC » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:08 pm

And with home made skis!
On the hunt for the perfect turn....
Skype: perjan01

artski
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:48 am
Location: Boyne country, Mich.

Post by artski » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:58 pm

WOW!!!!

FrontierSkis
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:26 am
Location: Calgary, AB

Post by FrontierSkis » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:37 pm

Awesome! Cant believe you got to ski with Glen in Chamonix, a True skiing legend. I was able to watch "Blizzard of Aahs" with him during a movie night at the Theater in Chamonix. But I would have given anything to ski with him!
P.S wicked job on the Trip Report.

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