Haute Route Days 1 and 2
Day 1 – Argentiere to Trient Hut
Managed to actually get the first lift from Argentiere due to taxi and good organisation. We stayed at the Hotel L’Arve in Chamonix, which I recommend.
Rolf and Roar were a bit behind us in the lift line so we managed to have a cheeky expresso at the grands montets cafe.
We got going an headed down towards the Argentiere glacier via the Rognons glacier. Some crevasses but excellent visibility. Long descent to get the skiing legs back. I had done minimal downhill skiing this season, mainly snowboarding and xc skiing.
We switched to skins on the Argentiere glacier and onto the Col du Chardonnet. On the way up we used ski crampons. I used mine for the first time and learned that skiing downhill on them is not a good idea when there is rocks around. I ripped off the dynafit plastic mount. Bindings were otherwise fine.
It flattened off then we got to the abseil over the other side. We had 2×30m ropes with us and rope-round-the-back side slipped down the col. This was fine and exciting, potentially later in the season we would require more rope to do this. Also we relied on the next party to unclip rope for us.
Johan waited for rope release and skied down the last section with the rope, as he arrived at the group he had a very impressive wipeout.
Next a traverse ski and then up over the Col de Saleina; Skis on the pack for this one and the thin air took a bit of getting used to; tough times.
On the other side of the col we saw both the Trient hut and some sexy lines above the Col du Tour. I was persuaded by Johan and Erik to hit this, so off we went for an extra tour.
Unfortunately the turns were not as nice as they looked; the snow was breakable crust! So we had to do Italian style turns to make it down.
Food at the Trient was excellent, portions slightly small however and the guardian crew not the most friendly. The main guardian was nice though.
Important to drink a lot of water at altitude and to rehydrate in the huts. Water, Coke and Beer all have their benefits!
Day 2 – Trient Hut to Mont Fort Hut
Up quite early, we were the second last group to leave the hut. Down the Trient glacier where there were quite a few holes.
Over the col des escandies, with skis on back and ice axe, no crampons.
Nice skiing down the Val D Arpette into Champex ski resort. Saw the point d’orney couloir over the backside of the Trient hut which we should really have hit as the conditions were good for it.
As we arrived at the ski resort we were lucky enough to arrive around 10:10am when there was a bus at 10:25am which took us to Osieres. From here we got a train to Le Chable via Sembrancher. From Le Chable you can get a cable car to Verbier. Maybe a taxi would be faster but not sure how much it would cost.
The boys carried on up to the Les Attelas restaurant for some tasty food. I went to Mountain Air in Verbier and got my binding spacer replaced by a friendly dude for a reasonable price.
Chilled out at Attelas restaurant and hoovered up leftovers, then onto Mont Fort hut for more beers, wine and chilling out.
A funny moment was witnessing a group of yah’s skiing down from the Mont Fort hut half cut in the pitch dark without headtorches at 11pm. Hope they made it safely back without getting buggered!
2 hrs 05min skiing!