Cosley and Houston Alpine Guides - Winter 2009-10>

Ice climbing in Cogne, Italy

Trips from this summer
Artesonraju with Lynne and Peter Staub, Bill Clapp, Emery Dameron
Mike Starr in Chamonix
Gavin and Gareth in the Bernese Oberland
Grindelwald to Adelboden trek with the Croys and friends
Matt Croy on the Monch
Graeme and Lindsay in the Bernese Oberland
Rob Maloney in Chamonix
Norm Numerof in Chamonix
The Chamonix-to-Zermatt Glacier trek Haute Route
Marta Michalska in Chamonix
The Gustafsson-Di family on Gran Paradiso
Malene and Pernille in Zermatt
Tony Carey in Chamonix
Craig and Michele in the Dolomites
David Dougherty in Zermatt
Roger Flahive on Mont Blanc
Roger and Grant Carnie in Switzerland
Grant in Chamonix
Rob Maloney snags a couple big names in Switzerland
The Krumpe-Contarino family in Zermatt
Kathryn Howard in Chamonix
Roger Weatherby and son Harry on Mont Blanc
Celeste Decker back in Chamonix
David Dewar in the Swiss Bergell Alps
Mark Conner in Chamonix

Kathy and Mark take a day off on the Roi de Siam.

Last winter's skiing - Off-piste in and around Chamonix
Andy Landes and Geof Alexander in Chamonix and Courmayeur
Maura Whalen and Mike Rosenberger in Chamonix
Tom Lacey and the Enthoven brothers on skis and ice in Chamonix
Jerry, Jeff and Rick on the Vallee Blanche
David Ries off piste from La Rosiere to Chamonix

The Stokji Glacier, near Zermatt

Ski tours of 2011

Queyras, France's "Wild West"
Mark and Kathy’s West Oberland exploration
Chamonix to Zermatt Verbier Haute Route #1
Chamonix to Zermatt Verbier Haute Route #2
Chamonix to Zermatt Plateau du Couloir/Velan Haute Route

Speaking of you...
We like to mention folks by name and feature them personally as much as possible. However we also wish to respect everyone's privacy, so if you have done a trip with us and would prefer we not share the particulars in our e-newsletter, we perfectly understand. Please let us know!

Let the furry flakes fly!

Well once again we’ve let a year go by without news, but it’s been a good one!

We’ve been out rock climbing for the past couple of weeks, having a “stay-cation” near home since the warm summer weather lingered longer than usual this year. We’ve discovered some nice new places tucked around here and there, and enjoyed taking it a bit easy. The vast high pressure that brought us this nice extension of summer has however finally and abruptly departed, and this morning we see through low fog banks that the snow has once again dusted the upper woods of the Chamonix valley. Maybe we’ll get our fair share of the snow this year!

2011 wrap-up

Last winter North America took most of our snow, but we did get enough to have some really good ski trips over on this side of the pond. Our Queyras trip was particularly “powderous”, and we even got a good snowfall on our first day to set us up for the week! This corner of the Alps has a unique feeling, with tree skiing, open glades, steep sided V-shaped valleys, nice cold snow at lower elevations than we normally ski, and even the occasional wildlife sighting! We saw a very big herd of Chamois for example. A bit harder to get to and with less infrastructure than elsewhere in the French Alps, it presents quite the contrast with the vast ski industrial complex of the Trois Vallees not far away. The few other skiers we met here definitely seemed to be “in the know” devotees of this neighborhood. We will offer this trip again in February 2012.

The Matterhorn (far left) and Dent d'Hérens. Skiing on the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route.

We ran three Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Routes in 2011; two Verbier versions and one Plateau du Couloir. We were active around Chamonix as well, with lots of off-piste skiing and touring (see side-bar for links to trip reports). Conditions were decent in the high country all winter despite the long intervals between snowfalls; cold temperatures preserved the wintry nature of the snow for long weeks at a time. The lower levels of the Vallée Blanche definitely turned into an “obstacle course” by the time April rolled around, but there were lots of places to go to find good turns; willingness to drive a bit and attention to aspect and elevation paid off, and we were able to keep on skiing and touring well into the spring.

Mark went back to Peru in May, before returning for another season of climbing in the Alps. The summer presented a helpful line-up of weather, with a cold, wet July setting up beautiful high mountain snow conditions for August. Although not always able to achieve our “plan A’s”, we got lots of good climbing in.

High Camp, Tocllaraju, Peru

Kathy repeated her Chamonix to Zermatt glacier trek, and also did a beautiful itinerary in the Bernese Oberland. She will repeat both of these trips in 2012.

See sidebar for trip reports of this last summer's climbs and treks!

Ski touring the the Queyras, France
What’s up for 2012
White Rocks Camp, Aconcagua

Aconcagua, Argentina

Back to South America! Our first project of the year will be an expedition to Aconcagua. At 6962 meters (22,800+ feet), it is, of course one of the Seven Summits, being the highest point of the South American continent. It has been quite a few years since we last guided this peak, during our years working for the American Alpine Institute. Responding to a client’s request, we have put together a trip for January 2012, to climb via the traverse from the eastern, Polish Glacier side of the mountain, to the western Horcones Valley side. As of this writing, there is one space still available on this trip. More info here.

Alpine winter 2012

We’ll return from the Austral summer directly into mid-winter, and begin our ski season in late January. We have availability for off-piste skiing and touring through most of February, and the first half of March. Contact us for available dates if you’d like to join us in Chamonix and environs.

Ski Tours this coming season

Our first scheduled ski tour will be a return to the Queyras, February 20-25. There are still a couple of spaces available on this trip.
Following this, we plan to return to the Silvretta March 14-20. This trip is currently wide open, with no sign-ups. If you would like us to consider this time slot for a private trip for you and your friends or family, we are still open to suggestions. Contact us for updates on availability and/or more information about this great tour.
Our Ortler trip this year will occupy the week of March 22-28. This trip is already half full, so please be in touch soon if you think you’d like to join us there.
Our Verbier Haute Route will run April 1-8, and this one also is filling fast.
Our Plateau du Couloir Haute Route trip will be running April 21-28. There are currently lots of spaces available on that trip.
Private trips: We are skiing with a private group April 11-16, and we plan a private trip in the Berner Oberland the first week of May.
Peru in 2012

An Ishinca/Chopicalqui Expedition is planned for May 25 to June 11. If you’ve been looking at this one for a while and haven’t managed to fit it in, this is your chance! There is currently one person signed up for this trip.

Photos of our 2010 Chopicalqui trip here.
High camp on Chopicalqui, May 2010, Peru

Summer Alps climbs and treks 2012

We will as always be back in our home area, the Alps, for the rest of the summer and available for private guiding of all kinds. Please be in touch if you have some ideas or want to join us for some climbing or trekking.

Summer Treks in the Alps

Kathy will repeat her Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier trek in July, and also offer the Walker’s Version in September.

In late July to early August Kathy will also repeat a variation on the Grindelwald to Leukerbad and Beyond Trek she ran privately for a group of friends last summer (see photos from that trip here). This trip consists of quite strenuous and rough trail hiking, starting in the shadow of the Eiger and ending at a modern spa above the Rhone valley. There will be the option of a three day extension to climb an easy glaciated peak, the Wildstrubel, and cross back into the Bernese Oberland to end at the resort town of Adelboden.

Kathy also has plans for a major branching out with a cultural tour in the Hautes Alpes region near Briançon. As some of you may know, she has an (inexplicable to many) interest in pastoralism and folksy things like sheep and wool. This tour, projected for late June, will combine light hiking in the Queyras mountains with workshops in such fiber arts and crafts as felting, plant-based dyeing, and hand spinning, led by some new friends she has made near Serre Chevalier. Tell the crafty women in your life to check out her itinerary, she’s looking for 5 adventurous and creative-minded women to help her launch this new project!

Day 6 of the Summer Glacier Haute Route

Don’t forget to write!

As always we love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any plans, hopes or ideas for a future climb, trek or ski tour, or if you would like to book some quality mountain time in 2012. Thank you as always for your interest and your participation in these far-flung endeavors, and we hope to see you in the hills.

Best Wishes for 2012

Kathy and Mark

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Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides | 151 Route de Lausenaz | 74310 Les Houches | France