With several days of rain and cold temperatures, a sunny day forecast, and a birthday today there was only one option... Several messages last night lined up a small team of dedicated ski addicts for a trip up the Aiguille du Midi to see how much snow had come down.
A very non-birthday early start from Bozel got me to Chamonix in time for the 8:15 first lift, which sadly was delayed until 9:30 (ice on the cables) - oh well, plus ca change.
Cedric, Martin & Tom trying to wake up in the lift:
The first section took us out of the early morning valley clouds and into clear skies above:
"It's the ridge, Jim, but not as we know it!"
The ridge leading down from the Midi was in 'spicy' mood, properly knife-edged, with snow of dubious quality on either side. Plans to ski it were quite quickly shelved, and we then found a pair of French Alpine Poodles to test out the stability and put a track in for us...:
Below this the snow on the South face looked to be in great shape.
Cedric preparing to drop in:
First turns for Cedric & Tom, good powder all the way down to the Col du Midi!
Early plans to head up the North face of the Tacul had been shelved due to the delayed start, and secondary plans for some Italian coffee were also shelved as it was obvious there had been a lot of wind with the snowfall, and that a lot of crevasses would be very thinly bridged but very well hidden. We settled in favour of some 'mini-golf' runs on the slopes under the Cosmiques refuge.
Cedric skinning towards the Cosmiques refuge:
Cedric with a Grandes Jorasses backdrop:
Tom in the 'mini-mini-mini Cosmiques couloir':
Coffee stop at the refuge:
The snow was really quite good on the slopes we skied - good soft powder on a relatively smooth base - not bad for September 20th!
All that remained was a hot skin back up to the Midi ridge, and another airy wander along this to a rapturous welcome by the tourist crowds on the viewing platform...
Not a bad way to spend a September birthday! Roll on next year!