Friday, April 18, 2014

Monte Rosa East Face - Canalone Marinelli

I've been waiting to get a change to ski the Marinelli for a long time. Now finally plans worked out and I got to ski this beautiful line with Swiss friends. Pics here.

Couloir Marinelli. First descent 1969 by Sylvan Saudan. Photo by Jean Bournier

Adventure started from Klein Matterhorn the day before. We found some really nice skiing on the Schwärzegletscher before touring up to the Monte Rosa hut.

At around 3am we headed up towards Silbersattel. There was a full-moon, which made it pretty special hike. We were making good progress on existing track and nothing seem to stop us.

It can be dangerous when you get to this robotic touring mode. Especially when there is a big track going up you just blindly follow. This might make you work your way up as a robot and you're not staying alert to observe possible objective dangers.

We were just about 20 minutes from Silbersattel when a huge serac collapsed above us. It was a loud explosion and in a split of a second we were in full survival mode rushing away from the fall line. Luckily we managed to get away, but just with a few meters marginal. Just a minute later would have been another story.. By staying alert we could have taken at least partly safer alternative route... Lesson learned..

After several deep breaths we decided to continue towards Silbersattel. Wind was picking up fast and at Silbersattel we got hammered by 100km/h winds. Roaring winds along with the serac fall was making the adventure pretty committing mentally. But as we managed to escape the winds to the Italian side it started to look good again.

We did a short down climb and one rappel to get past some blank ice.

Dani rapping down below Silbersattel

Soon after we clicked on skis and started our long descent. Conditions on the top were pretty challenging, but with careful turns we managed to ski the exit couloir.

After first 400 meters or so the snow softened nicely and skiing was easy. At the end we had really good conditions about 2000 vertical meters.

Monte Rosa massive is huge and the dimensions on the East Face are just over whelming for a Finnish flat-lander! The couloir is not that committing, but the settings are wild with serious objective dangers. This is true big mountain skiing!

Thanks Dani & Nic for great company and memorable moments!

More pics here.

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