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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Valle del Orco

~ Wednesday 30th May 2012

 Just back from a quick trip to the Valle del Orco in Italy. Orco is the place for trad climbing in the Alps - the local ethic has avoided bolting as much as possible and many routes are climbed completely on trad gear, even for belays. That said, there's plenty of bolted climbing too, from blank slabs to "proper" sport climbing. Add in a nice little campsite at the foot of the biggest cliff, good walking and biking plus fantastic local restaurants and it's a great place. We ate at the restaurant in the square in Noasca and at the Albergo le Fonti, both serving really good food and great value. 

6 pitches above the campsite

Trick photo making the exit from the Nicchia del Tortura look slabby...

Ibex psyching up for the Fissura del Desperatione

Diedre del Mysteria

Pigne d'Arolla

~ Thursday 10th May 2012

 Excellent spring snow on the Pigne d'Arolla this morning, and you can still ski almost to the car park. There's more snow forecast so it looks like the skiing will last a bit longer yet...

Ski till the snow runs out!

Chamonix Skiing

~ Thursday 10th May 2012

 Another 2 days excellent skiing in Chamonix. After the weekend snowfall we headed off up the Argentiere glacier on Monday for some more fresh tracks. Then on Tuesday with bad weather forecast for the afternoon we made a quick descent down a deserted Grand Envers from the Midi lift. Powder at the top then good spring snow - fantastic end of season skiing! This time we climbed the ladders to the station and walked/skied from there instead of battling the glacier exit again. 

 

Chéré Couloir

~ Saturday 5th May 2012

 Lots of snow and strong winds recently have left poor conditions for climbing, but the Chéré couloir is fairly reliable. A quick ski over from the lift saw us ploughing up the snow the the start. Above, the ice was excellent, giving enjoyable climbing despite the spindrift. 

After abseiling, we decided to ski the Vallée Blanche. This  was strangely deserted - untracked down the Rognon variant - and we only saw 3 other people. Good snow to the Montenvers lift, but as the train is closed we carried on down the glacier, soon running out of snow and battling through moraine rubble to reach the buvette, then through fallen trees from the weekend storm all the way to Chamonix and a well-earned coffee. 

 

 

Gran Paradiso Ski

~ Saturday 5th May 2012

 More bad weather on Wednesday saw us abandoning Chamonix for sunny Italy and the Gran Paradiso. After an afternoon worrying about weather in the Chabod hut, Thursday morning dawned clear and still. Phew. Leaving the hut first meant lots of trailbreaking but it was worth it - perfect weather, and a spectacular descent! Untracked powder for 1000m, 2 crusty turns, then great spring snow. 

Cosmiques arete

~ Saturday 5th May 2012

 With lots of fresh snow and a dubious forecast the Cosmiques Arete gave some challenging climbing on Tuesday. The Montenvers train is closed so no-one is skiing the Vallée Blanche and the place is deserted - we were the only people on the route, and saw 5 other skiers. 

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