GRAN PARADISO AND BERNER OBERLAND SKI TOURING
The previous week was my last week of ski guiding in the Alps this winter/spring. I had one regular client, we had one week and the only plan we had was to go where the weather was good and try to climb some nice summits and ski good snow.
When we met in Chamonix monday morning we decided to go to Italy and Gran Paradiso. We went to Vittorio Emanuelle II hut the same day and climbed Gran Paradiso on Tuesday – the only 4000m peak that lies wholly within Italy. The weather was fantastic and the snow was as good as it gets on the upper 500 meters. The same afternoon, after a nice Italian lunch in Aosta, we drove to Lauk in Switzerland, jumped on the train and ended up un Grindelwald on the north side of Berner Oberland in the evening. The weather forecast promised at least two more days of warm, nice weather. Berner Oberland is busy in April and we still hadn’t managed to get any hut-reservations when we took the Jungfraubahn to Jungfraujoch on Wednesday morning. But calling the huts from the glacier after starting the skiing we finally got reservations on the huts we wanted. The same day we climbed Grosses and Hinter Fiescherhorn, both 4000m summits. An amazing day where we were above the clouds all day until we skied down, in no-visability, to the Finstraarhorn Hut. Next morning we climbed Finstraarhorn 4274m, skied back to the hut and then skinned up to Grünhornlücke and skied down to the Konkordiahut. Well, we had to climb 645 steps (Petter counted) to get to the hut. For friday the forecast was not ideal, but we decided to try Grosses Grünhorn, another of the Berner Oberland 4000meters. The weather tuned out to be quite good after all, but for various reasons we decided to turn around some hundred meters below the summit. We still had a long way to go over to Lötschenlück and down to Blatten, more than 16 km. Finally down it started raining and we started the journey back to Chamonix by bus, train and car. And when I counted, I realised I had summited 12 different 4000m peaks the last 12 days.
Saturday the weather was terrible so we decided not to go skiing, instead I ended up doing 1350 vertical meters of intervals on skimo race-gear with my Norwegians friends Ola and Ola who was visiting Chamonix. So no rest day. Sunday, Petter and me skied good snow in sunny weather in Grandes Montets – a nice way to finish of the season.
This week I’ve had two more days training on skimo race gear and a bit of bouldering. A hectic period is finally over. Except for one day when I was lying in bed with fever, I’ve been skiing every day for the last 49 days.
Now it’s time to pack and leave Chamonix for this time.