Late Season in the Dolomites

Patagonia snowboarders Mitch Toelderer and Bibi Tölderer Pekarek sent a few photos from a 700-meter, 50-55° couloir they rode recently in the Dolomites with their buddy from Innsbruck, Max Zipser. From Mitch: 

Last year we had to turn around because of lack of snow/icy conditions and the loss of daylight but this year’s big winter in the Dolomites offered great conditions to try it again.

You can watch helmet-cam footage from last year on Mitch’s blog.

TR: Petit Mont Blanc: Couloir versant NE

By Liz Daley

Knowing there could still be more pow hiding and knowing that if there was it wouldn’t be good for much longer, [Caroline, Tom and I] decided to head to Italy, the land of milk, honey, and 3,000 ft. north-facing couloirs the next day. This may have been a cocktail-influenced decision, only time would tell, but I couldn’t wait to get back in this awe-inspiring zone nonetheless… 

Read another fantastic TR from Liz at Teton Gravity Research

TR: Trappier Couloir & Pointe Inférieure de Tricot : Couloir NE

By Liz Daley

We saw this super sick looking couloir on the approach to the Trappier, across the Bionassay Glacier. We almost changed our plans to go out there but decided to save it for the next day because we didn’t have the necessary equipment to get that rad. So, the following day, Dave, Powdherb, Ross and I decided to go for it. It was a new zone for me, so I was stoked! The Pointe Inférieure de Tricot, Couloir NE is about a 1,500 ft couloir, rated 5.1 in the Toponeige book. NE facing, kind of blocked by the Mont Blanc so it hopefully didn’t get much of that southerly Foehn wind and it’s pretty sheltered so we didn’t think there’d be dust on crust in this coulie… um. We were right.

Read Liz’s latest trip report from Chamonix at TGR

TR: Chamonix & Les Calanques - Versant Satanique & others

By Liz Daley

When the weather finally clears in Chamonix after a long two months of shredding powder and storm riding I am so stoked to get out in the mountains on my splitboard and ride some big lines. Usually with a forecast like we saw, high pressure for the foreseeable future, the snow stays good unless we get high winds or really rapid warming. Whelp, it stayed good for a couple days then it all went to shizah. Conditions were only getting worse: wind scoured, gray ice on the north faces and rotten or frozen snow on the south faces. 

For me, I like to ride big lines when they’re in good to great condition, when you can actually ride them in good style and enjoy the descent. I spend three months in Chamonix every year to give myself a big window for conditions to be right. I’d rather ride something in great condition, have fun and feel good about the way I rode it than to struggle my way down something just to tick it off the list. That’s no fun and it’s f***ing dangerous. 

So, instead of feeling the pressure to do something stupid in the mountains in poor conditions, Marq and I quickly vacated Cham and headed to the beach to climb some sunny splitter…

Read Liz’s full trip report at Cascade Climbers

TR: Urinal Couloir > #3girlsonecouloir > Domes de Miage

By Liz Daley

Since my last trip report full of epic, billowing white smoke, Chamonix conditions changed almost overnight. It’s pretty insane how fast the weather and snow changes in these big mountains with various systems coming through constantly. We’d been riding nothing but bottomless blower for almost two months with one or two days of high pressure then BOOM! Tropical meltdown commences. Super warm temps, stable high pressure and violent winds have been warming S/SW faces to climactic mankalanche festivals and have blown all our powder away leaving behind gray ice or sastrugi on north aspects.

In search of good snow, Powdherb and I decided to check out a new zone for us, the Couloir Pissoir (Urinal couloir). Not sure why it’s called this. There’s no sign of more-than-usual piss or poo in this part of the Alps. Super nice tour from the Grandes Montets, over two cols then down into Trient, Switzerland. The next day my lil buddy and teammate Caroline Gleich and her friend KT Miller arrived in Chamonix to get rad and shred steeps…

Read Liz’s full trip report and see all the photos at TGR

TR: Powder Asphyxiation & Col des Cristaux, Chamonix

By Liz Daley

I’ve spent the last month basically in a little place called Trenchtown, Italy. It’s a magical spot 15 minutes from Chamonix filled with fine Italian espresso, spines, awesome tree skiing, steep faces right off the tram tower, the deepest of powder snow and melt in your mouth pizza. If it’s not snowing it’s bluebird and everyone’s always smiling, even the locals. We bought an unlimited Mont Blanc tunnel pass so we were free to go over there at our leisure, maybe even just for dinner if we decided to take a rest day from choking on pow. 

During a night out at Moo Bar after way too many beers and dancing, Ben Briggs and fellow American Alpine Institute guide Danny Uhlmann and I decided to head up to ski the Col des Cristaux once the weather cleared again. I’ve ridden this line before but not for three years so I was amped! 

See Liz’s full trip report at Teton Gravity Research

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