Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scariest day ever!

A few days ago Dave and I headed back to the aiguilles rouge with Lynn and Rosanna. We had found good snow the day before, so we figured we could do it again. In the photo below we hike towards the back of the aiguille de encrenaz. You can see three chutes in the peak in front of us, and the line we're skiing drops in off the top from the middle chute. A little further along, and Lynn and Rosanna cruise up the top of the ascent chute with the Mont Blanc Massif behind them. This place is incredibly beautiful.
The line we skied was a little gnarly. The top 100 meters or so was extremely exposed. The snow that we skied is really exposed and steep until you get below the rappel. Once you're beyond the rappel the slope is less steep, and generally not that exposed... In the photo below Lynn rappels into the lower slope while Dave looks on. You can sort of see the lower part of the chute on the lookers right...
And here Lynn is about to finish the rappel, which she did quite well since I'm pretty sure it was her first time rappelling with skis on... Dave and I followed after she made it through and then things got interesting, very interesting....
In the photo below you can see the line we descended. The line comes right off the top and cuts lookers left to a very short rappel, at which point you're in a big chute that under normal circumstances would have been pretty sweet. Unfortunately we learned a little bit about helicopters this day. Everyone is okay minus a few bruises and a tweaked knee. This was a prime example of how quickly things can go wrong in the mountains. Generally I take it for granted how infrequently we have problems when we're doing things that are actually quite dangerous.
I apologize for the vagueness of all this, but I will explain more later.... And coming up, skiing the shoulder of Mt. Mallet, and more powder.

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