Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Combin de Valsorey - North West Face "Couloir Benedetti"

Grand Combin's Valsorey NW face has been for me one of those never ending projects. For several years I wanted to ski this face, but never got even close to ski it. Last Friday-Saturday looked like a perfect sunny window after some 10-20cm of fresh snow. So now the mountain seemed ready, but would I be?

Last couple of weeks I had been suffering a bit from borreliosis, which made me feel pretty dizzy already at lower altitudes in Norway. If possible the medicaments made my head spin even more than usual... so will that be the show-stopper this time?! I thought what the hell lets give it a try. Maybe fresh mountain air would just heel everything. It only took a quick call to Dani and Henkka and Finnish-Swiss team was set to go.

Combin de Valsorey NW face on the right

Finally despite my doubts everything worked out as planned and we got to ski the face via direct line from the summit. I think we got it in pretty optimal condition. There might be some days where you could ski the face with more snow and no ice, but those days aren't many. 
Let the pics do the rest of talking. Thanks Dani and Henkka for sharing this adventure! 

4am start from Cabane Panossière with bright full-moon
Sunrise at Plateau des Maisons Blanche app. 3250m

Climbing up the right side of the face to avoid the line of fire..

At the beginning of the exit couloir

Climbing up we could feel the ice under some 5-15cm of snow.

Summit ridge of Combin de Valsorey 4184m

First steep turns on some hard snow

Dani on the steep traverse between rock and blue ice 

Good skiing after some blue ice sections at top

You can see the ice on the left of Dani's tracks

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