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Iconic Mountains


Each mountain town has their own icon, their own signature mountain that appears on their Newspapers, multiple business names and usually captures the essence of the town.

Last week after I came back from my guides exam, which I probably failed, I had one day in Revelstoke to get ready for my next trip. Family was gone so early on Monday morning we toured up Mt-Begbie. At 4 am we began touring up our iconic mountain. This ascent and descent is one I try and do every year, its aesthetic, slightly exciting and usually a great ski. So we rushed up the mountain, Dave and I had to both take off and head our separate ways by 11 so we hurried. We left Renaud and John at the col and were on the summit by 9.30 am

We couldn't wait for the others guys so we headed down the ridge and down the glacier, carving great powder turns down the run.  By 11 Dave was on his way to Vancouver and I was driving to Calgary to fly to Chamonix. Yes, Chamonix France.

Arriving in Chamonix 22 hours later I wondered how my week was going to go. Things had changed and my friends were not going to be arriving for a few days; so I was alone. With 65 cm of fresh snow blanketing the mountains I headed up to the Grand Montets for some whiteout ski hill skiing. Which was actually pretty wicked, inevitably I ended up meeting up with Ross, a Canadian and we skied that day and then headed up the Aiguille on Thursday. A decent run down the Glacier Blanche and then we did what you should never do in Chamonix. We randomly followed tracks down wild chutes. We followed one track that led us into a wild and exposed situation that demanded that we turn tail and hike out. A double rappel and warm sloughs coming off the rocks made the decision easy and reminded us to not follow tracks.  We skied the Cosmique couloir and the Glacier Ronde, classic 2000+ foot chutes.

On Thursday, my friends arrived and we headed up the Aiguille for a photo shoot. On the way up we watched as 8 people side stepped and skied the North Face of the Aiguille, this is one of the more wild lines around. Something that I do not think I ever want to ski, beautiful but not really skiing. Photo shoot went well and the we got ready for Saturday's adventure.

Early, 3.30 am we began touring from 4000 feet and headed up towards Mt-Blanc. The new snow had settled really well with the temperatures and we were in for a treat.  The three Euros I was with were Beni, Basti and Thomas. All fit and wearing the lightest in equipment, with me carrying camera, big boots large skis and a huge smile. I had at least 25 lbs more gear than they did, regardless I held on and filmed as we toured up Mt-Blanc.

Things went smoothly and soon enough we were passing the groups near the summit and we were there. Highest point in the Alps, 4802 m, 15 781 feet, with its North face untracked. Slightly nauseous from the altitude we began the ski down.

After the first thousand feet the skiing was awesome and the filming gorgeous. We leap frogged our way down the line and continued down for 10500 feet of great skiing, and then 1500 feet of boot packing to finish it off. In total 12000 feet climbed, 11hours car to car, and the highest summit in the Alps. Tick.  How lucky was I?

And that's it probable the last summit of the season, what a finish! The video will be great.

All for now. The Virtue Traverse video is almost done and then I will work in the Mt-Blanc.

Reader Comments (4)

Sounds like you did Chamonix right! So very jealous
May 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdongshow
Right on, Greg! Hoping you post some pics of Cosmique and the Glacier Ronde as well!
May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry
Never thought "Iconic Mountains" would take you from Mt Begbie to Mont Blanc! Awesome post!
May 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWes
he greg! if you re still in europe send me an email...
May 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergillesleskieur

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