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| |-+  April 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
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Author Topic: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA  (Read 4476 times)
tabski
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April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« on: 04/08/14, 06:05 AM »

Skied Arolla, Switzerland the first week of April. Used the tiny ski area's pomas to assist us on tours a couple of days, but otherwise it was all skintrack, all the time. Missed the powder of the previous week as it was decimated by a substantial wind event and warming trend. But lack of powder also meant lack of avie danger and we were able to thoroughly explore the area during five days.

Stayed at Hotel Kurhaus in the valley, a beautiful old hotel dating to 1896. Stayed two nights at Cabane des Vignettes as well. Very crowded this time of year with Haute Route groups, must book well in advance. Had the pleasure of skiing with local IFMGA guide Gilles Sierro (http://www.gillesleskieur.com/) during these days, definitely the person you want to contact if planning a trip to the area.

After Arolla I headed to Chamonix to visit friends and hopefully score some solid spring shredding. Snow conditions here are atrocious - old snow beaten to death by heavy skier traffic, high temps, winds, transitional melting... Ack. Got some cragging in at the Monolith one day. Climbed Aiguille de Argentiere with Davide on day two to check out the Barbie Couloir, but refrozen snow, black ice, and a rocky gully entrance prompted us to descend the Milieu Glacier back the way we came - the second unsuccessful try at this line having attempted it in 2008 with Sky and Ryan. Some precip falling today, hoping for perhaps a steep north facing shot tomorrow before heading back to Seattle.


View of Aiguille de la Tsa from the Cabane des Vignettes.


800m couloir just below the Vignettes hut.


Descending the Milieu.








 
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skykilo
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #1 on: 04/08/14, 07:38 AM »

Very nice.  Too bad about Cham conditions.  Hope you get a nice last hurrah.
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tabski
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #2 on: 04/09/14, 09:48 AM »

Last hurrah delivered a little paint on the old rusty massif. Fun day in the Spencer Couloir, didn't quite top out but still a really fun ski...






Time for Rainier.
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flowing alpy
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #3 on: 04/09/14, 10:47 AM »

Skied Arolla, Switzerland the first week of April. Used the tiny ski area's pomas, lack of powder also meant lack of avie danger and we were able to thoroughly explore the area during five days.


800m couloir just below the Vignettes hut.
this is really cool.
b
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jtack
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #4 on: 04/09/14, 05:30 PM »

Boy, you hit your stride with the pictures, nice.  thanks
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ThinkSnow
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #5 on: 04/09/14, 07:39 PM »

No kidding, great photos.
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hop
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #6 on: 04/09/14, 08:05 PM »

Nice!  Arolla's a gem.  Another great contact is Dede Anzevui - he's a local guide and badass (first descent of N. Face of Matterhorn in 1989) and all around great guy. 

See what Dede can do in this TR from Arolla from 2008

Love the view down the shitter in the Vignettes hut too.  Smiley 
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It doesn't matter where you've been as long as it was deep.
tabski
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #7 on: 04/10/14, 12:34 AM »

Yeah, hop, Dédé is still around. Quite a character. Just came across your TR recently, doesn't look like the place has changed much. This one isn't the Toilet Couloir, though that looks like a fun ski, too -- especially since they remodeled the hut and the toilets no longer flush out that way. 
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Pete_H
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Re: April 1 - 7, Arolla, CH; Chamonix, FRA
« Reply #8 on: 04/10/14, 07:45 AM »

Sorry the trip wasn't more productive but sounds like it wasn't a complete shutout. Look forward to skiing with you when you get back.
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