Monday was amazing as well. More wall to wall sunshine, so this time we did jump on the lift up to the Aiguille du Midi (not the first lift I hasten to add).
The plan was to do Eperon des Cosmiques. We had choices: walk to the route and finish up Arête des Cosmiques; ski to the route, abseil down and skin back up to the Aiguille du Midi; or ski to the route, abseil down and ski down the Vallee Blanche. We chose the latter.
Being the end of the season, there weren’t many skiers about. A few jumped out at Plan de l’Aguille to head over to the Grand Mullets hut in preparation for an ascent of Mont Blanc. That left the Arete from the Aiguille du Midi pretty clear with only a handful of skiers making the descent.
We put our skis on, lifted the heavy bags, and started to make our way to the bottom of the route. We weren’t the most stylish of skiers – there was a layer of crud and it was really hard to get the balance right with the heavy bags. I was beginning to regret my choice to ski as a couple of alpinists strolled by with very little effort.
At the bottom of the route we could see that there was still quite a bit of snow on the ledges. We could probably work our way through that in rock shoes, but what really put us off was the abseil which would drop us about 25m from our skis, plus a 25m snow plod up to our boots. I really didn’t fancy that in rock shoes. We decided that we would be better off leaving this route for a summer ascent in big boots.
So that meant we had two choices: skin back to the Aiguille du Midi; or ski down the Vallee Blanche. We chose the latter.
It was hard going with the heavy bags, and the snow was heavy, but there was no rush so we just took it easy. The snow gave up a couple of hundred meters before the Montenvers ice cave so we had to walk across the moraine until we reached the stairs to the lift. By the time we got to the bubble lift my face was pink with exertion, or was it too much sun?
We were back in the valley fairly early, so we decided for the heroic walk through Chamonix back to the apartment, but Chamonix was quiet – it really was the end of the season.
After a shower and before we started to stiffen up, we headed out for another reward…