Posts in Off Piste Skiing
Final Skiing of the season

Regular guest Sean was out for his first taste of off piste skiing and ski touring, which actually marked the end of my ski season. Unfortunately we had some unpleasant weather but we still managed to make the most of it. The first couple of days were spent introducing Sean too off piste skiing and ski touring equipment. The idea of the week is to get Sean comfortable off piste so we can tackle a multi day ski tour next season. Maybe the Haute Route!

We had an overnight stay in the Argentiere hut which enveloped us in a storm so it was exciting getting too the hut and leaving it. Going up really high wasn’t an option. Fortunately on the last day we had some good powder and spent the day putting fresh tracks and working on Sean’s technique.

Haute Route Success

It felt like Scottish winter fizzled out like a match in the wind, desperately trying to hold on but really not fully delivering the goods. In what has been a tragic winter with the loss of several climbers over the season, the dawn of Spring has been a welcome sight.

I took the direct line to the Alps and after a couple of warm up ski days, I met my clients for the next 7 days. On the cards was the famous Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route and I was working for Alpine Guides.

Warm up day with Mont Blanc behind

Warm up day with Mont Blanc behind

The first comments from the clients were regarding my photo on the Alpine Guides website. They thought I was too young…perhaps I should change it to a more rugged look?

With a 7 day itinerary, to complete a five day trip meant we had a shake down day at the start. And given that we had members from the USA, Australia and the UK meant there could be all sorts of problems with kit etc. So a tour in the Aiguille Rouge meant we could have a nice ski, answer any questions and allow the clients to know that I’m not as young as I look!

On the summit of Pigne d’Arolla, for some, the high point of the trip with a breathtaking view of the Alps.

On the summit of Pigne d’Arolla, for some, the high point of the trip with a breathtaking view of the Alps.

We were very fortunate on our traverse, we had fantastic weather throughout. Unfortunately our ski day into Zermatt beckoned foul weather so we knew we had a specific time window. We were unable to delay and make use of our 7th day because that was even worse! We needed to leave early, be efficient and have quick transitions. I think it was an 8+ transition day (transition - changing between skiing down hill to skinning or climbing uphill). We did it by the skin on our teeth! We got too our final transition (downhill all the way) and the cloud enveloped around us, leaving us with a rather precarious ski down through the glacier which homed huge crevasses. A huge relief for the whole team as we made it through in poor visibility.

Beers, burgers and cheers in Zermatt. We did it!

Our final day we had some nice powder skiing around Chamonix and was a great finish to the trip. Looking forward to more next year.

Skiing or climbing? Which one do you prefer?
Last year snow problems

Last year snow problems

Due to a client unable to drive in the deep drifting snow, we have postponed our days climbing today. It’s too late to find a partner so instead the kettle is on and I’ll be having a day at home! Maybe a good idea as it has been non-stop in the last wee while!

Fresh tracks on the Vallee Blanche last week

Fresh tracks on the Vallee Blanche last week

This time of year does beg the question, climbing or skiing. I have been fortunate to do both in the last month. Climbing in Scotland and skiing in the Alps.

It has been a slow start to the winter, it came, it went, it went cold, went warm. it thawed and froze…and so on. However, today, Tuesday 22nd January it feels like winter is here to stay for a while. Currently having substantial snowfall on the West Coast where the East is slightly nicer with less snow. The mixed climbing conditions are very good at the moment, the ice routes need a little more work.

Louisa keeping warm on Swan Song V,6, Cairngorms.

Louisa keeping warm on Swan Song V,6, Cairngorms.

Last week I was in Chamonix for 10 days skiing with friend and with clients. We had great conditions, I was fortunate as it snowed as I landed in Geneva and gave plenty of good powder skiing. As time went on, the snow was topped up almost every other day meaning we found great powder in the resorts and well away from the piste. We were fortunate to ski some amazing snow, some routes we had to skin up, such as the Glacier Mort and the uber classic Crochues-Berard Traverse but others we made use of the lifts. Saint Gervais, Combloux touring and tree skiing, 3 days on the Vallee Blanche, Off-piste at Le Tour, steep skiing off Brevent Hotel Face.

If you know where to go, you will be rewarded!

If you know where to go, you will be rewarded!

So back in Scotland for a while now so getting fully embraced into Scottish Winter which will mostly be climbing as well as a two week Ice climbing trip to Norway ice climbing. Yesterday I was out on Swan Song V,6 in the Cairngorms with Louisa and despite being a very windy day, we tucked in avoiding the worst of the gusts. I’m pretty excited as to what the rest of the season brings. Happy climbing everyone and stay safe!

Looking ahead, my Scottish winter is fully booked.

I have availability for Ski Touring and Off Piste skiing between 8th -17th April 2019

I also have availability for Rock Climbing and RIdges between 1st - 24th May 2019

Rock climbing and Ridges availability 4th - 6th June 2019 (Snowdonia based)

Alpine Climbing availability 14th - 17th June 2019 (Chamonix based)

Rock climbing and Ridges 8th - 13th September 2019

For more information and inspiration click on the boxes below or get in touch.