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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Winter Room Haute Route

~ Friday 27th February 2015

Last week was the annual Winter Room Haute Route week. The idea of the trip is to complete the classic Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route before the busy season, making the whole thing more challenging and a lot wilder. With a poor forecast and me floored at the last minute by a nasty flu bug, British Guide Ben Bradford stepped in to save the day. Not much Haute Route was possible thanks to weather and conditions, but there was still some great skiing and a true "winter room" adventure! (thanks to Ben Bradford for the photos).

This trip will run again next year - one day, we will succeed!

Great Off Piste conditions on the improvised "Haute Route"!

Arolla and Evolene Off Piste Skiing

~ Thursday 19th February 2015

4 days around Arolla and Evolene over the weekend, with good skiers, better-than-forecast weather, good snow and very few people. It's supposed to be peak holiday week, but the pistes were quiet and the off piste deserted. Superb.

With the Euro in crisis it's perhaps not surprising if Eurozone tourists avoid Switzerland, but after the initial shock at the end of CHF-Euro pegging British Sterling has recovered fast and the exchange rate is now back to last summer's level (in Feb 2014 1£=1.48CHF. It's now 1£=1.46CHF) Switzerland still isn't cheap, but when the skiing is this good it's worth it!

Straight off the Arolla Ski Lift, 5 days since it snowed!

Off Piste skiing in Arolla

Off the lift, turn left, ski this...

Eat this!

Repeat!

Cogne Ice Climbing

~ Thursday 19th February 2015

A late blog catch-up for our ice climbing trip to Cogne last week. We stayed at the excellent Ondezana hotel in Lillaz, which is perfectly placed for the walk-in to Valeille and the Lillaz ice climbs. Arriving in Cogne to find lots of fresh snow meant options were limited to start, but a day on the Lillaz Cascade, with a slog up to Loie in the afternoon, made a great warm-up.

Cogne Ice Climbing - Lillaz Cascade

Day 2 and another link-up. First, Ibex Gully, a short route with a big approach and a meaty finish in dry conditions! It's just left of the classic Lillaz gully, so we "finished" up that, making a "full" day.

Looking down the second-to-last pitch of Lillaz Gully

Having walking past it twice, Lau Bij was tempting for day 3. Steep on pitch 1, and "funky" on pitch 2! An Italian couple followed us, giving us a good colloquial Italian lesson on the steep bit!

Climber following us on pitch 1 - Lau Bij, Cogne

Looking back down (along) pitch 2, Lau Bij

Yet another link-up on Day 4, tired arms just managing Coyote in the morning sun, before someone suggested doing Tutto Relativo in the afternoon shade...

Arolla Ice Climbing

~ Sunday 1st February 2015

Cold and snowy in Arolla today but there's plenty of ice. First stop was the reliable classic the Usine Électrique, which is good but seems a bit steeper than last year.

Ice Climbing in Arolla - Usine Electrique

After a well-earned coffee and warm-up at the Hotel de la Tsa we finished the day doing some increasingly steep and technical top-roping on the excellent ice boulder.

Learning Ice Climbing Techniques on the Tsa Hotel Boulder

For more information on our ice climbing courses see here.

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