Dan & Rich Enthoven, Tom Lacy off-piste in Chamonix • February 28 - March 5, 2011

Rich Enthoven (Bernese Oberland, May 2010) and his brother Dan and buddy Tom Lacy joined us for some off-piste and touring, as well as a little bit of climbing.

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Taking in the views at the top of the Aiguille du Midi lift station, from left to right, are Tom, Dan, and Rich.


We began our week with some off-piste skiing down the Argentière Glacier and other forays from the Grands Montets. The new snow was wind-blown but quite good skiing.


We followed this up with some touring in the Aiguilles Rouges. Here we head up the classic "Crochues-Bérard" tour.


Booting up the steep gully to the Col des Aiguilles Crochues.


Skins stripped, clicked in, and ready to head down the back side of beyond, into the head of the Combe de la Balme.


Woah, that's what we came here for! This "bad snow" winter in the Chamonix valley still holds some pleasant surprises, notably here as we descend the Combe de Bérard.


Skinning up our second col, the Col de Bérard, in a stiff cold headwind.


But what a reward. The protected, north facing slopes of the Combe de Bérard can usually be counted on to hold good snow.


Next we took in the classic, the Vallée Blanche. The weather was perfect!


Peeking over the tops of Pointe Helbronner and the Aiguille du Toule into Italy, innocent cotton clouds lend a touch of interest to the view.


The sunny lunch spot at the Refuge du Requin was swept by an icy breeze that kicked up during our stay, but still looks inviting.


Next on the agenda was a foray into Switzerland. Tom, Rich and Dan boot up the Col de la Golette above the ski area at Marécottes.


Again soft, sweet snow awaits on another north facing descent into the Combe de la Golette, down to the Lac de Salanfe.


A blustery, windy day up high made us opt for ice climbing on our 5th day together. Rich tops out on one of the lines at the Crémerie.


A "hanging" belay in the woods!


Descending into the late afternoon.


For our last day we took in some new (to us) territory in the back country of the Italian ski resort of La Thuile. We skied up the Pic Valaisanne, 2892 meters. Approaching the summit ridge here.


Lovely ambience, lovely snow.


Towers along the summit ridge.


Though windblown on the ridge crest, the north-east facing bowl held good snow for our descent.


Dan tops out, with the distant pistes of Les Trois Vallées in the background.


And it's down, down, down, to a cold "adult beverage" and the end of a fine week.