Saturday, 6 October 2018

Winter 17/18 slideshow

The first dusting of snow hit the summits here in the Vanoise earlier this week, which spurred me into action to put together a little slideshow form last winter (only about 4 months behind schedule !). Are you in there? (And if not why not! :-) ).


offpisteskiing.com Winter 1718 Slideshow from Simon Christy on Vimeo.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Winter 2019 dates and summer mountain fun

Apologies to all those waiting for dates for winter 2019 off piste coaching and ski touring courses - I have a mountain of back-logged admin which I am slowly grinding through - a combination of family and work commitments has left me even further behind than last year!

Dates are firming up and are online on the www.offpisteskiing.com website. Details will be added as the details are finalised.
Meanwhile I have been sneaking in the odd day out this summer to keep myself sane. Yesterday i finally got on to a line on the North face of the Aiguille de la Vanoise that I have been wanting to do for years... I haven;t been climbing much this year, so 350m of climbing topped off my a thuggy 6a+ corner crack definitely made the arms feel 'heavy' by the end of it, but a fun route with stunning scenery, close-up bouqetin and marmottes, and a far off gypaete sighting made for a great day - cheers Matt!

North face of the Aiguille de la Vanoise, La Petite Pasquier is a TD route that goes up the big corner plumb centre of the face then trends right to finish in a little breche via a steep corner:


Matt approaching the band of 'velcro' rock at the start of the corner system:


A steep finish with nearly 400m of air under the heels - Matt looking relaxed all the same:


The chap was sat about 10m away while I untangled the ropes on the first abseil - only wandered off afterwards - no wonder they were nearly hunted to extinction!


The classic sharks fin view of the Aiguille:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Troll peninsula ski touring adventures - second half

...continued from last post...

Wedsnesday dawned bright and clear in Siglufjordur, though the forecast looked less promising for the afternoon.

Plan A for the day:


The bowl to the right of the summit ridge looked smooth, which given Monday's rain/snow was the key to good skiing this week, as anything with rocks above was covered with roller balls or wet sluff...

Very tame ptarmigan:


Good views all round:


As we hit the summit ridge it was looking very gloomy behind the peak, and with sun shining on our descent we decided to leave the summit for another day and make the most of the good visibility and snow.
Ready to drop into our first descent:


A few cms of soft over a smooth base gave very nice skiing!




After a short food & drink break, and with the weather still holding out, we set off back up a different line to the left of the summit:


The weather had been holding so far but as we made our way along the ridge about 50m below the summit the cloud base dropped and we made the pragmatic choice of using the remaining visibility to ski the slopes we had just climbed. Good skiing but flat light so no photos from the main descent, though the run-out to the car was a 5* spring-skiing bonanza, all topped off by randomly bumping into my friend Rick Marchant and his group back at the bottom!



Thursday was a day of evolving plans - plan A was shelved in favour of a rescue mission to find a hat that Chris had left en route yesterday, and with sunny skies and low winds we set off with the idea of skiing the South East face of a peak we had spotted yesterday, which would give us a great run on smooth spring snow... that was the theory until, having found Chris's hat, the wind suddenly picked up as we made our way along the final summit ridge and put paid to any further softening of the snow. Still a nice run down on firm but grippy snow:


Skinning back up we had to brace every few steps as the wind had really picked up!


Once back on the summit ridge we dropped into the relative shelter of the West face and found surprisingly good snow:



Back down in the valley we put skins on again for the climb back up to Kistafjall:


Dropping into the North West face the snow was quite wind-affected for 200m then gave way to a monster pitch of perfect soft snow:



Our final day was forecast to be even windier, so we opted for a quick morning tour followed by a drive round to a geothermally heated 'infinity pool' with stunning views over the next peninsula. All topped off with agreat meal and local beers - not a bad way to end the trip!







Massive thanks to Chris, Rich, Sandy and Dave for a great week - lets see what plans we can come up with for 2019!!

...edit... I had to fly straight out of Akureyri to make my connecting flight to Europe, meanwhile, the team drove back to Reykjavik and took in a natural hot spring along the way - looks awesome! :

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Troll Peninsula ski touring adventures - first half

The Troll Peninsula of Northern Iceland has been on my 'hit list' for a while now and finally this year I managed to fit a trip into my diary running a week of ski touring adventures for a small group of friends.

Having landed in Keflavik and (fortunately) collected all our bags we set off on the long drive North, broken up by a comfortable night halfway, woken to the bizarre sound of snipe 'drumming'. An easy drive the next morning got us onto the peninsula, where a summit just beyond Dalvik was looking quite appealing from the road.

Rich setting off from the road:


Interesting terrain coming into view behind:


First day, first summit and a view as well - result!


Great spring snow on the descent:


Well hello there! With one good run in the bag there was loads of time to go for a second lap and these couloirs were just screaming out to be skied!


A deceptively long bootpack took us up 500m to the ridge:


Looking tasty!


Sandy making the first turns, no place for mistakes...


Chris:


Mellower angles lower down:


Sandy ripping up the amazing smooth snow on the apron:


Happy team with our line centre stage:


Monday had always looked like it was going to be the worst day for weather, and so it proved, with low lying cloud and intermittent precipitation (sometimes white, sometimes translucent...). We still managed a good short tour and with some cunning navigation found our way to a summit, though the view was not particularly great:


The ski down was better fun than expected, with a layer of heavy powder over smooth spring snow, and we then retreated to our lodge for tea and cakes...

On Tuesday the forecast was for clouds with sunny spells - it turned out much better than expected!


Nice views on the way to our first summit at 930m:


Summit team:


Top of the North couloir looking inviting!


Good cold snow and 40ยบ - sadly this only lasted for 100m or so before yesterday's rain made itself felt, but a fun run down:


The gang about to enter the 'crust zone':


A quick 400m of skinning saw us back on to the summit ridge and we made a second half-lap down a different bowl with a few cms of soft over a smooth base - nice!




A quick skin back up our previous skin track took us back to the summit ridge just in time to see a portal to another dimension open up briefly:


Portal within a portal:



Our last run back to the car took us through a mix of under-cooked, over-cooked and just right spring snow. Once again despite the lean snow conditions low down we managed to make turns all the way down to the road.




A fine day out topped off with some quality fish soup and cake in Dalvik!