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Mika Merikanto making the probable first ski descent of the South Ridge of Tour Noir: we started skiing at 9.30 after one hour break
Photo by Mikko Heimonen
The line chosen by Mika Merikanto and Mikko Heimonen on 26/04/2014 during the probable first ski descent of the South Ridge of Tour Noir.
Photo by Mika Merikanto Photography
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Tour Noir South Ridge first ski descent by Merikanto and Heimonen

01.05.2014 by Planetmountain

On 26th of April 2014 the Finnish skiers Mika Merikanto and Mikko Heimonen made what is believed to be the first ski descent of the South Ridge of Tour Noir in the Mont Blanc massif.

Finland's Mika Merikanto and Mikko Heimonen completed a long-term project of theirs at the end of April by making the probable first ski descent of the South Ridge of Tour Noir in the Mont Blanc massif. Merikanto first observed the line in 2008 and after having examined it on several occasions during other descents nearby he recently saw some photos taken from opposite facing Grande Lui that convinced him that snow conditions this spring were ideal.

Merikanto made arrangements with Heimonen and the the two reached the Argentiere hut late on Friday afternoon and after setting off at 6.00am they reached Col d’Argentiere and then ascended another 100m towards Tour Noir to a point at circa 3650m. Merikanto recounts on his blog "After letting the snow soften a bit we started skiing around 9.30. This time everything worked as planned and we got to ski this beautiful line in perfect conditions. Skiing was actually really easy with pretty much perfect spring snow.

The line is 700 meters vertical, with some exposed steep 50/55° sections. All together you get 2000 meters of vertical to La Fouly. We got pretty lucky with the conditions and could ski almost the whole ridge. At the end we only had to use the rope once to get past 20 meters of unskiable terrain. Steep skiing is all about hitting the lines at right time. This time our timing was perfect and skiing was really a pleasure.

According to La Fouly locals this was probably a first ski descent. For me it was a perfect closure for this long project, which has brought along some really good adventures with good friends."

For more information and a portfolio check out mikumerikanto.blogspot.ch

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