After a long splitboard tour from Chamonix on Sunday we had a bit of a breather before hitting another fantastic route on Tuesday – Aiguille du Midi to Col du Rochefort, Couloir des Marbées, Combe du Geant and back down Vallee Noire.
We descended the now tracked out steep snow from the Aiguille du Midi arete, quickly getting onto the flattest part of the classic Vallee Blanche track. This section is as flat as a pancake but soon we dropped off the right on a slightly steeper descent. We then stopped to switch the boards to touring mode, we roped up and put our skins on the skis. As we ski over to Italy, we debate the need to be roped up here, on what is a solid skin track, however it does cross a couple of obvious crevasses. Most people do rope up it seems, certainly all guided groups do but a few risk it.
It takes 50 minutes to reach the pisted track from the Helbronner, we do normally overtake a few people on the way up but that seems a reasonable time taken to get across to the Italian side. It amuses me that skiers seem slightly put out about a splitboarder passing them! Not sure why we should always be slower, maybe just a superiority thing!
From the Helbronner we traverse over to the Col du Rochefort and the steep couloir des Marbées dropping back down to Palud and Courmayeur in Italy. Tricky navigating in places but rightly described as one of the best routes in the area.
We then headed up towards the prominent Dente du Geant where we get stunning views over Mt Blanc. The snowy slope I believe is called Combe du Geant. Nothing steep but the top offers on of the best views of Mt Blanc.
The descent is short down the combe and snow was windblown but still fun and the views make it worthwhile from the top. The view below is looking across to Mt Blanc, top points for spotting Marion with her arms out standing on a outcrop.
From the combe we traverse over to Vallee Noire and take the steepest line down the right on the best fresh line we can find, certainly the best snow of the day.
Then back down the Vallee Blanche to the Montenvers train. Classic conversation overheard on the train down. “Glad we didn’t pay for a guide, although next time I would take poles so we don’t have to walk so much of it.” Cue pictures on the
I-Phone of a picnic under Seracs, walking on snow bridges. Lucky. Each to their own regarding acceptable level of risk and all that.
Ski touring from Aiguille du Midi to Col du Rochefort, Couloir des Marbées, Combe du Geant and Vallee Noire.