21 April, 2010

Spring is here!

Over the past few weeks we’ve had lots of guests out skiing and touring across the Alps taking advantage of the mainly good weather and excellent snow conditions. Our Haute Route ski tours have been as popular as ever with 8 separate tours and a total of more than 40 people making the journey between Chamonix and Zermatt this winter. Despite some blistered feet and changes to the route almost everyone made it into Zermatt to complete one of the great high mountain ski tours.

Elsewhere our Backcountry Explorer trip in Zinal at Easter enjoyed excellent snow, quiet slopes and the wonderful hospitality of Penny and Eric at the Auberge Edelweiss. Hopefully we are not letting the secret out too much by singing the praises of this wonderful untouched paradise of powder!

Sue and Andy Mac and their staff continue to do a wonderful job at the Auberge in Ste. Foy and our recent Off Piste Performance and Backcountry Explorer trips also had a great time out skiing with our guides and instructors.

Bryan Hogg has been busy leading our Performance courses in Chamonix and having joined them all on a couple of days, I can confirm everyone’s skiing and confidence came on leaps and bounds under Bryan’s careful eye!

Remy Lecluse has been leading our Steep Ski Clinics in March and April and both groups enjoyed skiing some legendary steep lines and couloirs in Chamonix and the Mont Blanc Massif. Ticked of the list during the 2 weeks were the ENSA couloirs at Brevent, the Marbre under the Dent du Geant, the east face of the Tacul, the couloirs below Point Alphonse Favre on the Glacier du Mort, the NE slope of the Aiguille du Belvedere and the Col de la Bouche on the L’M. I think everyone had an amazing time and learnt a lot of new skills from Remy.

Shoulder of the Aiguille du Tacul

Remy gives a masterclass in steep skiing

Marbre Couloirs

We are now gearing up for the last few ski touring trips of the winter - a last Haute Route ski tour lead by Olly Allen, plus 2 more trips in the beautiful Bernese Oberland and last but not least our Ski Mont Blanc in the second week of May. Here’s hoping the weather and snow conditions stay good for them to summit. With the good recent weather in Chamonix there has already been quite a bit of activity on Mont Blanc with people make ascents over the last 2 weeks or so. The ski tracks are clearly visible down from the Vallot refuge past the Grand Mulet hut back to the Plan D’Aiguille.

On another note Matt Dickinson who many of you know and have skied or climbed with on Mountain Tracks trips is currently on an expedition to Mount Everest. He arrived safely at base camp a week or so ago and will be making the first routes up through the icefall this week as they start to acclimatise and put the high camps in on the mountain. We wish him the best of luck in his attempt, you can keep up to date on the news from Everest using by clicking HERE, which has regular posts from all the British teams on the mountain.

We also extend our wishes to Nick Bullock, Matt Helliker and Pete Benson who are attempting to make the first ascent of the Southeast ridge of Annapurna III at 7555m. The guys set off last week and Matt and Nick made it to Kathmandu before the volcanic ash cloud prevented Pete from joining them, but hopefully he will make it out soon so they can continue their walk into base camp. You can follow the trip on their blog HERE to keep up with the banter from base camp!

Do keep in touch and if we can help with your trip plans for the summer or indeed winter 2011 just let us know.