Our first Vallée Blanche of 2009

The excellent snow conditions here in Chamonix, means that the arête down the Aiguille du Midi has been equipped with ropes for the last couple of weeks – normally this happens around the second week of January.  
 
Anyhow, todayHelen and I were lucky enough to be invited to join one of our guests and his guide for a Vallée Blanche descent. 
Descending the arête - Chamonix in the background

Descending the arête - Chamonix in the background

The weather was beautiful…  Cold, crisp, and clear…  The snow – simply divine.

For those that have not yet heard about the Vallée Blanche…  It is an amazing 18 kilometre off-piste route down the Mer du Glace glacier.  Over snow bridges, around crevasses, down fantastic fields of powder snow….  

The scenery is incredible, but it can be a very dangerous place.  Every year, it claims the lives of a number of people.   Thus, it is essential to take a guide.  Those who don’t can die if they stray from the route, or stop in unsuitable places (such as on snow bridges or underneath seracs), or fall in crevasses…  Some of the crevasses can be over 50 metres deep.

Skiers heading down the Vallée Blanche

Skiers heading down the Vallée

We took the Classique route

We took the Classique route

Mountains, glaciers, crevasses.. and skiers

Mountains, glaciers, crevasses.. and skiers

Helen and Nigel having lunch on the glacier

Helen and Nigel having lunch on the glacier

The snow conditions were so good that we were able to ski all the way back to Chamonix….  (normally, the route finishes at the Montenvers station)

Looking down on Chamonix

Looking down on Chamonix

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