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No one I had talked to had been in the Argentiere Basin yet this winter so we didn’t know what conditions would be like. Dave Searle (local Chamonix bad-ass: www.davesearle.me, CHECK HIM OUT!) and I decided we’d go have a look in the Argentiere and check out the Y Couloir on the Aiguille d’Argentiere. If the Y looked good we’d shred it, if not we’d ride back down the Milieu Glacier that we planned to climb up. We had no idea it was about to be one of the most epic descents either of us had ever had!

This is our route up the Milieu. It’s a bigger climb than I remembered, from the Argentiere Glacier to the top of the Aiguille d’Argentiere at 3877m.

I took this picture from Luca Pandolfi’s website from when he shredded it two years ago. This ain’t no LCC Y…

The view from down here never gets old.

Dave Searle getting to the top of the headwall. “It feels like we’re climbing a 8000 m peak!” -Dave. Indeed, it did.

Climbing down from the summit to get a look into the Y.

After some hesitant, thoughtful banter about conditions and whatnot, we threw a couple boulders into the Y, and seeing nothing but powder explosions, we decided to drop in. It looked really steep, I was kind of scared.

I carefully made my way down the steepest part at the top, making turns here and there.

The pitch mellowed out a bit and got really enjoyable.

Photo By Dave Searle.

Photo By Dave Searle.

Photo By Dave Searle.

We thought the snow in the sun might be sun crusted as we approached it… but no. It was rip-able blower! But we keep in mind there is a 30m rappel at the bottom.

After the rappel we shredded down the Amethyst Glacier and the mountains lit up in the sunset. The day didn’t come to an end until I skated across a slightly uphill, rolling glacier for an hour and a half. Dave Searle waited patiently giving nice words of encouragement. We finally got through the broken glacier to the Grandes Montets piste and shredded down 2,500 ft of soft piste in a total white-out fog, in the dark… Could’ve done without the fog fo sho.

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4 February 2013
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