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I've been back home for a few days now and I'm finally getting around to finishing my photo editing and trying to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, I've finally hosted some pics and ready to write a quick trip report on my couple days in Chamonix.
First off, the French Alps had been having a pretty low snow season coming into my trip, so I was a little worried. As it happened I caught the tail end of an epic storm that dropped some historic amounts of snow in some areas of the French Alps, and Chamonix definitely got it's share.
I ended up hiring a guide for my two days on the mountain. He's actually a local Seattle guy who just moved to Chamonix to guide full time, check out his website if you get a chance -> Forest McBrian
So my first day out we went out to Les Grands Montets and headed for the peak. We dropped one line down onto the Argentiere Glacier then spent a good portion of the day skinning up the glacier for a line at the end of the glacier. Weather and snow were awesome, but I was completely exhausted by the end of the day after coming off 30 straight hours of travel.
My second day was spend across the valley at Brevent/Flegere. Took a couple lifts to get up high then skinned up and over the ridge. Took a couple laps through this zone before skinning the ridge again to a nice chute/bowl back into the ski area. Again, great weather and great snow.
Chamonix is truly breathtaking. I can see how one visit can chance someone's life. Access is so easy and the off piste zones are just HUGE. Despite the snow right before my arrival, the coverage was still quite sketchy around mid mountain, so that did limit some of our travel, but we were blessed with very stable snow, which was pretty rare for most of the French Alps after that storm.
I know I'll be back someday.
Anyway, on to the pics......
Mid station at Les Grands Montets...
Looking down from the top of the tram...
Dropped off the tram towards the glacier...
Kinda looks like I set of this slide....
Skin track up the glacier...
Taking in the view...
More stoke face...
Pano from Le Brevent (Mont Blanc to the right, Les Grands Montets to the left/center)...
Taking a break, Mont Blanc in the background...
Super fun zone...
On the skin track again...
Taking a peak...
Taking a break...
Very top of Le Brevent...
Great shots! Lucky you to hit the window with the storm after x-mas, wouldn't look that good by now :)
Seing your stoke faces, I assume, the guide did a good job; I'll bookmark his name (prefer t m
hire an English than French speaking guide)
Yep, that just looks awesome!
Very nice work. I think auto correct got you. It took me a few seconds to realize it was "riding" not writing. Stupid auto correct.
Really, really good stuff zag. Thanks for sharing.
Or maybe you did mean writing. Now that I am not looking at this on my phone. Still awesome. That hasn't changed. :)
Kill, I actually did mean writing....like writing on a blank canvas! ;)
I'm still in awe of that place. The mountains are just so unreal. The valley sits at about 3000 ft and mountains just go straight up on both sides to around 10,000 ft, with even higher peaks. Mont Blanc is over 15,000 ft and Aiguille du Midi is over 12,000 ft.
The resorts are very different out there too. Once you step off that groomed, you're pretty much in the backcountry. I don't believe they do much avy mitigation at all. Kinda interesting too that almost 50% of all skiers and boarders have some sort of ABS pack, not just those venturing off piste.
Forest was an awesome guide. He not only did a great job of getting me to the goods, but gave me some great pointers on skinning. I'm 10 times a better skinner than a few weeks ago. Got my kick turns down! He's pretty well known around the Seattle guiding community and actually have a few common friends/acquaintances. He runs a guide company with his wife, whom my girlfriend actually went to school with.
Sweet pics!. that place looks amazing despite the lack of snow.
Loving the pictures. Maybe someday I'll be able to make it out there.
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