Category Archives: AT skiing

Davide Capozzi and Stefano Bigio Nail First Descent on Mont Rochefort

Stefano Bigio

Meanwhile over on the sunny side, Davide Capozzi and Stefano Bigio stuck a first descent down the SW face of Mont Rochefort – a route they’ve been eyeing for years.

Davide CapozziIn a post on PlanetMountain.com, Capozzi reports, “The descent is continuously exposed, down 45° – 50° slopes. The snow varied considerably since it hadn’t settled completely. We made [two] abseils [down] the final section, one 50m abseil followed by a second, shorter one.”

Capozzi and Bigio rate the route 5.2 E3 and called it Pente a Rémy in honor of Rémy Lecluse who originally suggested skiing the line together.

Check out the full story on PlanetMountain.com.

Davide Capozzi, Stefano Bigio

TV Mountain’s Chamonix Snow Report: Col du Chardonnet

Col du Chardonnet

It may be getting harder to find freshies but the first warm, sunny days in weeks means only the most hardcore whingers are complaining.

Chamonix-meteo calling 5-20cm at 1000m with the disclaimer, “Snow amount depending partly on the barrier effect against the northern slopes of the massifs is difficult to evaluate.” Everyone else guessing between 3-7cm at 2000m with nothing else forecast for the next few days.

Did I mention the sun’s out?

Big thanks TV Mountain, Chamonix.net, Fanny Gras and Michel Bordet. Diggin’ the music on this one.

Lions in Winter – Te Crew Slays South Face of Les Courtes

TV Mountain Chamonix Snow ReportSo it’s been a few days since the last snowfall and the latest influx of tourists are wondering where to find the freshies. Lucky for us, TV Mountain and the Te Crew have put together an easy-to-follow, step-by-step video showing us all where to go to find the goods. First, climb the Voie des Suisses (IV, 3, 800m – ‘le plus bel itinéraire de la face’) on the north face of Les Courtes. Don’t forget your crampons.

TV Mountain Chamonix Snow Report

Then, after a leisurely lunch and massage at the 3-star spa at the top of the route, get yourself ready to shred the sunny south face of Les Courtes which, at 700m of 40-45˚/55˚ (5.2), you’ll no doubt be wondering why you’ve got it all to yourself.

TV Mountain Chamonix Snow Report

TV Mountain Chamonix Snow Report

Big up to TV Mountain and Chamonix.net for another fine snow report. Curses to Alexandre Marchesseau, Florent Gex and Luc Mongellaz for making it all look so easy.

TVMountain’s Chamonix Snow Report – 28 December 2011 – Glacier du Mort

Chamonix Snow Report

Hey guys, I’m back from dark, snowless Sweden. I know, I know, I missed some epic days but from the looks of the forecast there’s more to come.

Glacier du Mort, ChamonixAnd as for what was up there as of yesterday, check out the latest snow report from TVMountain which shows the crew taking advantage of the beau temps to do a lap on the ultra-classic Glacier of Death. ‘Spose the reason it’s called that is because it’s so killer?

And as for that forecast, all we can say for sure is that snow is coming. Chamonix Meteo is calling for 5cm at 1500m today, 25-50cm at 1500m tomorrow while blowin’ a hoolie, and moderate to heavy precip with rising temps on Saturday.

Then there’s Snow-Forecast predicting 67cm at 2440m through Saturday morning. And the Chamonix Tourist Office calling 71cm through Saturday night.

Glacier du Mort, Chamonix

Andreas Fransson Skis Mercedario or How Andreas and Bjarne Walked Across South America With Skis on Their Packs

south face Mercredario Argentina

You walked how many days for this?

Andreas: It’s not possible to ski here?

Local: No

Andreas: No?

Local: It’s finished. The season is finished.

Andreas Fransson and Bjarne Sahlén’s ‘ski’ trip through South America just keeps getting better and better. And no, I don’t mean the skiing…

How does a 40k,  2000 vertical meter walk-in sound to you? Yeah, I think I’ll give that one a miss as well.

In this episode, Andreas is gunning for the south face of 6720m Mercedario, the eighth highest mountain in the Andes. In the vid, Andreas calls it ‘The Dream Face’ but this ice sheet with a bit of sugar on top looks anything but dreamy to me.

Andreas Fransson

Mercredario, south face, 2000m, 40-45˚

But the greatest thing about this entire ordeal is how the attitudes of our two intrepid adventurers never falter and each new roadblock just seems to make them laugh and become that much more determined to make it happen.

Gotta love these guys, especially because they’re not afraid to nude up to liven up an episode.

Mercreadrio, South America

Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake Score First Descent on Pointe de le Lune

Critical turns in big mountains; Plake doing what Plake does best.

“It was really fun. Every turn was different and I’m not lying, it really was perfect conditions. It was impeccable, it was perfect.” -Glen Plake

Will someone please tell Rémy Lécluse and Glen Plake how bad this pre-ski season sucks in Europe? These guys have clearly been left off the Negativeland email list or else they would have known better than to drive a couple hours south and pin a first descent (in November!) when they should have been hanging out in the bars whinging about not enough snow, or too many gorgeous autumn days, or the empty trails and rock routes, or the color of the sky, or pretty much anything, really.

Rémy Lécluse

But these two have been around long enough to know that good snow ain’t that hard to find if you just know where to look. On November 19th the two big-mountain ballers tapped the pristine southeast couloir of 3777m Pointe de la Lune (Punta Ceresole) on the Cresta Gastaldi of Gran Paradiso.

Glen Plake

Lécluse spotted the couloir while skiing in Val di Piantonetto. Believing that the strong foehn wind that had hammered Chamonix he contacted Plake who immediately said yes.

“People give me heck for being so enthusiastic about skiing but I think Rémy may have me beat. He’s always fired up to go do something on his skis. I mean I get excited but he’s like a little kid. It’s great to be around.” -Glen Plake

Remy Lecluse, Glen PlakeThe team chose an alternative approach to the classic Val d’Orco route, choosing instead to go in through Val Piantonetto where the road goes to 1917m. “Less walking, more skiing is our motto!”

Ivrea bvouac, Remy Lecluse

Rémy in the 60-year-old Bivacco Ivrea. "Sleeps 9 if they like each other very, very much."

Lécluse and Plake skinned up to Col del Becchi at 2989 meters, cutting trail through 20-30cm of powder before scoring nice powder turns down to the Bivacco Ivrea. “Powder, powder and more powder!”

Lécluse and Plake left the bivy the next morning at 7:00, were at the bottom of the couloir by 8:00 and on the summit at 9:30. Rémy reports the first chute is about 100-150 meters long, 45˚, and 2-to-4 meters wide.

The big powder field in the middle was around 30˚ and about 300 meters long.

The bottom section was around 500 vertical meters, ‘quite wide’, at “an average of 40-45˚ with some solid 50.”

Plake in the middle powder field.

The team skied the route in about half an hour, which includes the time it took to shoot photos.

“The run wasn’t that steep, mostly around 40˚-45˚ with some sections around 50˚, maybe a bit more. The big slope above the cliff  was especially beautiful. That’s where we found that special ambiance that you only get from steep skiing.” -Rémy Lécluse

Some downclimbing was needed to get through the last chimney before scoring “an amazing powder skiing party” back to the Ivrea. An hour of skinning took them back to Col del Becchi before they tucked in to the icing on the cake: hundreds of powder turns between snow mushrooms in perfect powder, then a last 100 meters of breakable crust back to the Rifugio Pontese.

Gran Paradiso Massif, Punta di Ceresole (3777m), southeast couloir. 600 meters, 40-45˚/50˚, 5.2, E3

Two days, 2000 meters of powder skiing, and a sweet first descent. In November. Would somebody please tell these guys how bad the snow sucks!

Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake

Are we not men? Rémy Lécluse, Glen Plake

Rémy skis: Dynastar Mythic 178 (Rémy worked on design/testing)                            boots: Scarpa Maestrale                                                                                                         binders: Plum Guide                                                                                                              outerwear: Arc’teryx Atom jacket, Gamma trousers                                                        backpack: Arc’teryx Silo 30 pack                                                                                         hardware: Grivel Air-Tech carbon axes, Grivel Air-Tech crampons

Glen skis: Elan Himalaya 177 “My new favorite pair of skis – 95 underfoot and less than 1400 gms. It’s the big brother to the Elan Alaska that I helped design and which just won Ski of the Year from Ski Alper magazine.”                                 boots: Dalbello Virus Lite                                                                                                      binders: Plum Guide                                                                                                              outerwear: Salewa Glen Plake Choice (pants, jacket, down sweater, gloves)             backpack: Salewa Glen Plake Choice                                                                                  hardware: Salewa crampons “a hybrid I made using a steel front and aluminum heel.” Charlet Aztarex ice axe.                                                                                              eyewear: Julbo Explorer “everyone knows these are the best mountain sunglasses in the world, hands down.”                                                                               poles: Leki WC. “A little longer than nromal for touring and steeps. Fixed length, not adjustable!!! I don’t trust or use adjustable poles for steeps.”                                sleeping bag: “We didn’t know what we would find at the refuge so I took my new -8˚ Salewa bag. It’s light, under a kilo. Even though the bivouac ended up being fully equipped the bag was really cozy, it’s frikkin nice.”

Expedition Update: Andreas Fransson Skis Sajama – Highest Peak in Bolivia

“The worst climb-to-ski ratio I have ever done in my whole life.” -Andreas Fransson

OK, watching this video makes me feel a little better about the lack of snow in Chamonix. I mean hey, at least we’ve got great climbing weather and no blowing sand.

But despite the sandstorm and ghetto snow conditions, we’ve got to throw horns out to Andreas for climbing and skiing “6500-whatever-meter” Sajama, Bolivia’s highest Peak.

Bjarne Sahlen

So much for the summit dance...

And as far as adventures go, this is exactly what it’s all about: discovering new places, interacting with different cultures, learning a language, traveling with the locals (70+ hour bus ride!), seeing and trying new things. With all this as part of the package you don’t need perfect snow to make it all worth it. Keep charging, boys!