Wade Collins, off-piste skiing and touring in the Chamonix area • March 1 - 5, 2010

Wade Collins from Massachusetts came over to do some skiing this year with his wife. While here he took a few days to ski off-piste and do a bit of day touring with us.

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Kathy and Wade start off down the Vallée Blanche descent, to begin with.


A cold and blustery wind had us scurrying a bit to get down.


Conditions improved greatly and the snow was perfect.


Plenty of fresh tracks opportunities this day.


We got down so quickly and Wade was ready for more, so we went up for a second lap, this time on the "Grand Envers" variation.


Superb conditions!


Down the train this time...


The following day Wade and Kathy did the Crochues-Bérard traverse, then ended the day with a couple of laps on an off-piste bowl full of lightly tracked powder, accessed from the Le Tour/Balme area above Vallorcine. Not so many photos on this day, Kathy must have been feeling lazy or something. Here, near the bottom of this great powder run, Wade finds something to huck! Ah, he needed that!


For our next date, we skied the Pas du Chèvre off the top lift at the Grands Montets. Again not too many photos, this time we can blame our hurry to descend before an incoming storm ruined visibility too much. We squeaked in before a squall, pausing to take off the skis along with many Vallée Blanch-ers heading up the boot track to Les Mottets.


We finished up in much better weather and conditions, on the Col du Passon.


Beginning with a descent just off piste, from the top station of the Grands Montets, we by-pass the climb to the Col du Chardonnet shown here, heading down glacier before starting our own uphill skinning session.


We see some ski mountaineers heading higher up the glacier as we begin our climb.


A long, though pleasant skin-up takes us to the base of the steep gully leading to the Col du Passon. In the background, the Grands Montets top lift and the glacier run we descended to get here.


Gentle zigzags bring us toward the gully, with Les Praz de Chamonix down in the valley and the Aiguilles Rouges in the background.


The Col du Passon is one of the notches in the ridge toward the right in the background of this shot.


At the top and ready to head down now.


We had thought of maybe heading up to the Trient Glacier from here, but better snow appeared to await us below this point and the cold wind was freshening.


It was indeed very good snow! And very few tracks to constrain us. Wade enjoys a wind-sheltered slope beside the seracs of the Le Tour glacier.