Together with freelance writer Magnus Wistrom I joined Miles and Liz Smart at Smart Mountain Guides for a few days at their annual Steep Camp in Mount Blanc mountain range. A steep camp with the Smarts means steep skiing. I consider myself a solid off piste skier but on a few occasion during the camp the steepness of the colouir’s just touched the peak of my ability.
Aiguille du Midi, France.
Very crouded from the top station at Aiguille du Midi:
Looking down at the glaciar Vallee Blanch:
The S-couloir at Aiguille du Midi, France.
The S-couloir up at Aiguille du Midi offered a full day of great adventure and steep skiing. Easy accessible from the top station at the Aiguille du Midi, the couloir is reached via a short traverse followed by a 40 meter vertical rappel down to a ledge that connects to the couloir.
The route we followed.
Even though you are very close to the top station, the environment feels a bit exposed
indeed. According to our guide Miles Smart the S-couloir is usually only skied a handful times each year. When Magnus asked him to point out the descent in the guide book later that same night, Miles reply put a smile on Magnus’s face:
- It’s not in this book, it’s in the climbing guide book…
The exit tunnel up at the top station:
The ridge leading to the rapell:
A few climbers we met, they were going up, we headed down…
Magnus can’t believe his eyes, or goggles. He survived the rappel…
The S-couloir is about 200 meters tall couloir, where the top part is around 52 degrees before it levels out down at the glacier Vallee Blanch. Very steep for us, no doubt about it. It’s no place to loose balance and tip over…
Happy to reach the cabin where the last sunlight in the valley hits you.
Back in Courmayeur again, on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif.
I have been to France many times but have always felt I had yet to discover the world famous French cuisine. And now, finally, the tastes, spicies and enjoyment of the French kitchen lived up the its reputation. We were in for a culinary treat! I might be a bit biased here though, since several of the restuarants we visited were run be Swedes!
An article will be in print in Brant next winter, stay tuned.