Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stanage Edge..

The weather has been changeable in the Peak District for the last few day with heavy showers and hail storms.

In between these spring showers there has been some good spells, particularly on the quick drying Gritstone. Yesterday Andy, Nic and I managed an outing to Stanage Edge climbing until another hail storm stopped play.

Early forecasts suggest that although it will remain changeable, we might well experience some fine weather over the weekend. Fingers crossed!

Thinking ahead we still have places on a Single Pitch Award Training (SPA) course on the 2/3 August. For more information contact us.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vallee Blanche..

Another morning of good weather in Chamonix allowed Dave, Cio and I to make a quick descent of the Vallee Blanche from the Aiguille de Midi.

I will shortly be heading back to the UK to start rock climbing courses in the Peak District and North Wales. It looks like there is still good winter climbing, and ski touring conditions in the Scottish Highlands, which makes for a bit of a treat at this time of year.

Here in the alps, Nick Wallis, Jon Morgan, Jon Bracey, Ollie Allen and Al Powell bailed over to Zermatt today to compete in the Patrol de Glacier ski mountaineering race. This 65K epic (Zermatt to Verbier) with 4000m of ascent has quite a reputation, not to mention a need for lycra! For the british team's results check out the Alpine Guides Blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Punta Calabre, Italy..

Dave, Cio and I escaped to Italy again yesterday in search of better weather. We opted to ski into the Refugio Benevolo from Pelaud in the Val di Remes. From here we made an ascent of Punta Paletta-sud 3014m before returning to the refuge.

This morning a longer ascent took us to the summit of Punta Calabre 3445m and an even bigger descent to the valley. The snow conditions were generally good despite some high winds and cold temperatures. It felt more like February that late April.

Back in the UK conditions seem to be good for ski touring in the Cairngorms and climbing ice on Ben Nevis..

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Winter continues in the Cairngorms..

It looks like winter conditions are continuing in the northern Cairngorms. Chris Plant was out on Friday and described the conditions as alpine, with ALL runs and workable lifts open.

Chris decided to head out for some ski mountaineering practice in the greatest accumulation of snow in 15 years!

Saturday was completely different, with poor visibility. Chris was out with the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS), assisting in the logging of information from a snow profile pit. This information being used to formulate the avalanche hazard forecast. The picture to the left shows snow crystals being graded according to size and viewed with a magnifying glass - technical stuff.

Becca Giasson, Italy..

Dave, Dave H, Hannah and I popped through the Mont Blanc tunnel yesterday for a brief ski tour in the Aosta area.

Following a tip off from local Guide Jon Bracey we headed up to the Refugio Mario Bezzi before skinning up to Becca Giasson (3215m) and skiing the Ghiacciaio di Giasson back into the valley this morning. The snow was fantastic high up with good powder and nice spring snow low down with a bit of a searching.

Dave Hollinger is pictured to the left making the descent look much more stylish than the rest of us..

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bad weather touring in the Aiguilles Rouges..

Dave, Mark and I did a brief day tour in the Aiguilles Rouges today, the classic Crouchues - Berard traverse. The visibility was particularly bad making route finding, skiing, and gauging the snow stability difficult. This resulted in a team just ahead of us triggering a small slab avalanche.

The weather looks to be unsettled here in the Chamonix valley for the next few days.

Monday, April 07, 2008

More Powder in Chamonix..

Another snowfall overnight, resulted in excellent off piste skiing conditions today on the Grands Montets. Dave, Ian, Mark and I had a great time putting in plenty of fresh tracks before skiing the Couloir de la Jeureumaz with the very talented Alison Culshaw. This steep narrow couloir leads into a wide U shaped gully before popping out into Les Chosalets after an 800m descent.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Powder in Chamonix..

Over in Chamonix the weather has been good for the last couple of weeks, with occassional snowfalls giving good off piste skiing conditions.

In the fast few days Izzy, Cath, and I skied the Vallee Blanche before nipping through the tunnel for some more off piste skiing in La Thuile.

Yesterday, Dave, Mark, Mike and I opted for a day tour skinning from the top of the Bouchard lift on the Grands Montets into the Argentiere basin and crossing the Col du Passon. This gave an excellent powder descent into La Tour.