Monday 5 May 2014

A belated Easter post

A bit late posting this but here's a few pics from 10 days I spent in Chamonix over Easter. It was probably the first time in a long time that I have spent that much time in Chamonix and due to various niggling health issues had no plans of trying to bag a big alpine route. And to be honest it was pretty nice to just wake up see what the weather was doing and decide what to do! 

Josie and I started off by heading up Mont Dolent taking the easier option and staying at the Fiorio hut for a night. The weather wasn't so nice looking in the morning so we had a lazy lie in at the hut and headed up as the weather cleared around 9am (behind most of the people that started from the valley that day, opps!). After a lot of time in Chamonix I'd never actually climbed Mont Dolent but stared at it many times so it was nice to eventually stand on top and for Josie to fulfill a long time ambition of standing in France, Switzerland and Italy at the same time.  Through luck rather than good planning we timed it perfectly and had a really good ski back down to the hut on lovely spring snow.  It really does make a great ski peak.

A Haute Savoie breakfast in an Italian hut
Just above the Fiorio Hut
Josie approaching the ski depot and the last few hundred meters boot pack up to the summit
The summit!
Josie touching France, Switzerland and Italy all at the same time

High winds shut the valley down for the next few days so I settled for a bit of running and biking in the valley rather than heading up high. Plans for the Easter weekend had been to head out ski touring to Zinal or round the Mont Rosa massif but the weather was looking pretty crap so we did what most people do in Chamonix when the the weather sets in and ran away to Italy.
Great views of the Mont Blanc massif from down the valley
First stop was to head up to the Refugio Bezzi above Valgrisenche. I'd never been up to here before but will definitely be back, loads of touring potential on all types of terrain and the Bezzi is definitely more like a hotel rather than a hut. The weather was coming in the next day so we just did a short tour over the Becca Giasson and back down to the valley, no spring snow like on Dolent this time but I would imagine this would be a great ski in better condition.

The joy of spring ski touring, shorts and flip flops to find the snow
Skiing in to the Refugio Bezzi 
Refugio Bezzi is definitely more like a hotel than a hut, really friendly gardians, hot showers, espresso machine and a wine selection to match!
The other joy of spring ski touring...
With the weather no set in in the mountains we headed South to join some friends in Finale Ligure on the Mediterranean coast for three days.  More knows for it's climbing we were down there to make the most for the smooth, quiet roads and get a couple of good days road biking in.  Oh and the food and coffee....

Back in Chamonix and a final morning on the skis to finish off a great 10 days and get the final ski of the season in with Bet and Josie

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