After a week based in Morzine and bashing piste in Avoriaz I was up for something different. Spring is the time for backcountry touring and a day trip to Switzerland sounded great. An early start – me almost forgetting my boots, an hour or so in the car then we got to our spot. There has not been the best snowfall in the alps, and as such there was basically no snow at the bottom. It was a scramble up a dry river bed of glacial moraine to the snow line before we could even think about skinning. It was pretty warm too! The first steps were some classic adventure boarding, walking over rocks to join up the strips of snow. Before long it was classic spring touring conditions.
As we climbed and the sun got higher in the sky it got a lot hotter. I was down to a base layer, with my neck and face covered to protect from the harsh sun. It felt like I was sweating out all the booze and indulgent food that goes with a week of chalet life. The valley was stunning with loads of terrain to ride and some exposed blue ice to our right on the way up. We climbed for a couple of hours before hearing one of the team had a binding failure. It was a solid hours climb to the top from where we were. We left him and sped off.
This is where the climb got a lot more technical. Suddenly being the person in the group with the worst technique, least fitness and heaviest backpack became very obvious. As is often the case with climbs, the hardest bit was right at the end when you are most tired. After a tricky section (read horrific quick succession of kick turns on a steep slope) it was time to put on the crampons and finish!
At the summit it was pretty windy. The temperature went from +25 to -10. We quickly put all our layers on and transitioned back to snowboard mode. This was not the picnic spot I had been hoping for. A few quick snaps and it was time to get back on it. Barely 10 minutes later we were ready to ride down. I couldn’t feel my fingers. The very top was icey, but after than it was fun spring snow.
We soon got back to where we had split up. Back in the sun and away from the wind. I threw the drone up to grab some quick shots before cruising down the rest of the valley. It was fun carving down and making slushy turns lower down. Towards the bottom is was more about finding a route on what little snow was left. The last section was a hike back out over the moraine. It was hot. My feet were on fire in my snowboard boots. I put them in a stream to cool down