25/4/12 to 27/4/12 Ski touring in the Alps

New windslab avalanches behind and left of the Mountaineer on the approach to Pointe D'Areu.


Andy Townsend demonstrating crevasse rescue.

For the past six days I have been on the British Mountain Guides ski test. As previously reported, we have been in Les Aravis, the Aosta Valley and Grand Montets.

Conditions since then have been pretty difficult due to the large volume of new snow followed by strong winds (120 kmph at the Grand Montets) followed by a rapid warming of the snowpack (the freezing level has risen from 1400m to 3650m in a couple of days). However, we have managed to get out each day.

On the 27th April we attempted the Point D’Areu in Les Aravis but had to turn back due to severe avalanche conditions. Yesterday, we climbed up to the very top of Le Tour ski area and found some large windscoops to complete our crevasse rescue and steep ground assessments in. Today, we headed back towards the summit of the Grand Montets to practice skiing in ascent and descent on glaciers with a rope on.

All the candidates were successful. Congratulations to Paul Chiddle, James Thacker, Mark Walker, Andy Nelson and Andy Townsend. I was also successful.


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