Friday, January 21st, 2011
Couloir Jager, Mt Blanc du Tacul – A fun but very cold adventure…
With the high pressure and the cold holding Chamonix in a steady grip its not to easy to find things to do in the mountains. The cold and the wind are transforming the snow fast and even though ice conditions up high are great its not to fun sitting shaking on a belay waiting for your climbing partner to rock n roll. I decided with my friend Morgan to try something fun we can do fast (he had to work at 3 and it was supposed to be cold) that looks in shape before the cold have changed back the spring conditions to raging winter again. We knew that whatever we choose to do would include a bit of suffering, but we thought it was better than staying down in the valley doing nothing.
So we went for the Jager couloir on Mt Blanc du Tacul. The staff at Midi told us it was around -30C in the morning plus a bit of wind. Skiing to the base of the couloir from the lift station went fast, but we must have looked pretty funny trying our best to cover our faces from the cold. Once there we skinned up for ten minutes before we put our skis on the backpacks and roped up for the massive bergschrund. We found two old ski tracks in the couloir showing us that others already had fun here this season. I’m guessing they had a bit better conditions than us.
The climb up went alright, but not as fast as I had hoped. I climbed with three layers and a down jacket as fast as I could but still couldn’t get warm. I regularly had to stop to warm up my hands, definitely slowing down the ascent. But it was soon over. We skipped the mixed climbing at the top and put on our skis to get back to the sun and the warmth.
The snow was fairly hard, obviously cold and chalky creating lot of friction on the skis making it quiet tricky to ski. But the Jager couloir is not very steep making it a pleasant ski even in not so great conditions.
Morgan came back to work in good time and we had a fun day together on the mountain.
On the way up
Morgan Sahlén rocking
Couloir Jager with our tracks