Season Opening – Skiing The Glacier Ronde In October
The weeks after the Patagonia adventure has been filled with lots of rest, work, family time and me and my girl friend moving in to a new apartment just outside of Chamonix. Anyone who has been into the moving-in business know how much time and energy that takes.
I have totally ignored the warm rainstorms that has plastered the mountains with perfect steep skiing conditions and instead rested my mind from most things related to skiing.
Our tracks on Glacier Ronde yesterday the 29th of October!
But after getting my year pass for the lifts in Chamonix (and Courmayeur), the winter excitement took hold of me and I felt like I had to ski something. From where I live I have a first class view of on of the Chamonix classical semi-steep skis descents: The Glacier Ronde, and with a weekend full of rain and snowfall I couldn’t stay away from the thought of go skiing one of my favorite ski runs in the world.
Autumn can serve up with some of the best steep skiing conditions of the year, but it’s usually hard work to maneuver the lower elevations on the way back, where the snow cover normally is really poor.
As a proof of the possible good autumn conditions, a few years back, I managed to ski the Mallory (direct) of the north face of Aiguille du Midi in the best conditions I have ever seen up there. The thought of a mini repeat of that feeling was hard to stay away from.
Early Monday morning I met up with Swedish (half Danish, grew up in Spain) friend Niclas Hansen to take the first bin of the day at Aiguille du Midi. Only four other skiers accompanied us up.
At the top we skied down the semi icy ridge, then a very placky south face before we traversed around to the west side of the mountain. We used the rope to check the conditions on the traverse in to the big face where we found really good skiing conditions.
The first part of the run had about 20 cm of light powder snow, then the mid sections was pretty hard and the last third had about 30 cm of fresh snow on it.
We did one rappel to get in to the exit couloir and from here and onwards the snow conditions where competing with some of the better days in the winter season. Great skiing, great weather and great company – I were really happy I was out skiing in October.
At the end of the couloir we did one steep rappel to get down to the glacier and then we did about 2,5 hours of full on glacier warfare zig-zagging, jumping, climbing, traversing and rappelling before we reached the block terrain and “firm” ground.
From here on we had a long walk down to the old lift station and then the tunnel where Niclas Ferin (Thank you Niclas!) picked us up!
In winter it’s easy to ski the Ronde five times and be back in town for après ski, but now it’s still October and it feels great just to be out skiing again on Aiguille du Midi and totally escapistic to get a 1500 vertical meter powder run!