Col Armand Charlet, NE couloir ski and snowboard descent
On 8 May 2013 Davide Capozzi, Julien Herry and Luca Rolli made a ski and snowboard descent of the NE Couloir on Col Armand Charlet, Mont Blanc massif.
Here's another beautiful descent by Davide Capozzi, Julien Herry and Luca Rolli who on 8 May skied and snowboarded the NE couloir of Col Armand Charlet in the Mont Blanc massif. The line had been skied for the first time by Frenchman Emmanuel Ballot in 1993 but is rarely repeated and quite possibly it had never been snowboarded before. By avoiding a gully Capozzi, Herry and Rolli simplified the line of ascent and needed to climb only three pitches with their snowboard shoes. As Capozzi puts it, this was a "great intuition" at the end of an "incredible spring."
COL ARMAND CHARLET - NORTH-EAST COULOIR by Davide Capozzi
Julien, Luca and I had talked about how great it would be to ski from up there for ages. I'd been lucky enough to ski Col Armand Charlet in 2008 but from the south, with my friends Laurent Dupré, JB Charlet, Lionel Hachemy and Christophe Marteau and at the time I was taken aback when I glanced down the North Face.
Whenever we skied the Argentière glacier our eyes drifted up there, but the reason why we'd always opted against this line was a 300m couloir that paved the way to the stupendous gully that lies suspended between Aiguille du Jardin and Grande Rocheuse. This year the exceptional snow cover and Julien's intuition triggered our desire to give it a go. And, by ascending to the right of the couloir, we'd manage to climb three mixed pitches which would lead to the snowy gully.
On Wednesday 8 May, after a short night's sleep at the Argentière refuge, we set off at 3am and quickly reached the mixed section which kept us occupied for a number of hours. In the first rays of sunlight we began to ascend the gully and reached the col at about 10:30 am. I didn't reckon it would take us that long!
During the descent the snow was good almost all the way to the mixed section, at which point the heat had transformed the snow on the lower slopes, heavy but nevertheless skiable. For me personally this outing represents not merely a great descent, but also a beautiful ascent. Combing these two facets in the mountains is what I like to do most nowadays.
The North Couloir of Col Armand Charlet had been skied for the first time on 14 February, 1993 by Emmanuel Ballot. By avoiding the couloir and simplifying the line we only had to do 3 abseils. Julien "Pica" Herry and I on snowboards, Luca Rolli on skis. We are currently not aware of any previous snowboard descents and we'll endeavor to find out more in the future.
5,4 E3, 1000m, 50°