For months now we have been keeping a close eye on an impressive mountain face that you see every time you drive up to Chamonix from Sallanches; the north face of Dômes de Miage (next to the popular Metrier Ridge climb). Until now the 1100m high face has had patches of ice on it, but after all this snow in May it looks well filled in. This big face, that seldom is in such good conditions, seamed like a great way to end the amazing ski season of 2010.
22 – 23 May with Wolgang Huber, Eva Eskilsson, John Monigue, Stephan Shaw and Guillaume Glinel.
5 people, lots of gear, Guillaume’s extra large Panda and Wolfgang’s little moto! Yes we made it all the way up the steep 4×4 road to the Chalets de Miage.
One Irish man, one Scott, one Austrian, one French and not to forget our Swedish girl. We are on the way to the Plan Glacier refuge.
Not much further today… At this refuge you might put yourself in great danger if you sit on its small sun terrace. I guess one or two avalanche has bounced of the roof before!
Once at the refuge we keep staring at the north face of Domes de Miage. There is not much else to look at and we are also very courious. Good snow, bad snow, how steep is it really? As John says, we will find out tomorrow anyway.
We climb most of the face before the sun hits it. The snow is a bit crusty and soft under. John and Steph up front and me…
The first sun rays of the day in the mountains are always a fantastic experience. We are high up on the face now and I am waking up too.
The face gets steeper and steeper the higher we get, from 45 to 50 and to 55 on the last 300hm. In some places we only find 15cm of compact snow on top of the ice.
After a 4 hours workout we reach the top of the snow, it is certainly not much snow covering the ice and it’s time to put on the skis.
The lower part never softened completly, but it also is less steep. Steph is certainly not held back by the sun crust.
At 11 we are back down on the glacier! Time for some brunch!