Col du Tour Noir

April 18th, 2006

(Beth, Craig, Marge) Friday, April 14 – COL DU TOUR NOIR, GLACIER DES AMYTHYSTES. The clouds had broken and it was the first decent day in a few and would be the only decent day in couple more. I’d met Seattle friend Margaret Wheeler the day before at ‘MBC’, a Canadian brew pub, where she was dining with Craig and Steph, a Seattle couple on a 15 month European tour who were also past clients of Margaret’s. Marge is here to guide the Haute Route for Martin Volken’s Pro Guide Service out of North Bend. Poor Scott (Marge’s man) is doing avalanche clinics while she lives it up in France.

Marge was skiing with Hilary and company doing the ‘gnar-gnar’ off the backside of the Amethyst glacier (Col du Tour Noir). Hilary, a North Face athlete, was with her husband Brian and a friend from Telluride, Gabby. Marge and Hilary met in Chamonix…about seven years ago when Marge was doing two seasons here and since then they’ve been on a couple of expeditions together. One was a ski descent in India on a 20-something-thousand foot peak and the other a bunch of first descents in Mongolia. Needless to say, they can ski.

(Mt. Blanc from Grand Montets) It wasn’t hard to get Camilla to join Craig, Steph, and I on a tour up the Amethyst glacier for she’d never been across the Argentiere glacier. I wanted this route because it’d be a new place and would give me a good look at Les Courtes and Les Droites. And, in particular, I wanted to see the descent on Les Courtes.

(Margaret) We ran into Marge at the col and I went down part way to shoot them skiing. Two guys were climbing up, doing the reverse tour. While I tend to do summersaults when I ski, I think my ability needs a little more credit; the chute looked pretty good.

Anyhow, they continued on and we went back the way we came. The skiing was fun. The company was good. And here are the pictures.

(Camilla is in green, Marge in yellow, Hilary in red).

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