Vicki McGrath in the Vallée Blanche • February 13, 2012

Vicki McGrath from the Bay area took time out from a family visit/ski week in Switzerland to ski the Vallée Blanche.

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The big gear-up in the hallways of the Aiguille du Midi lift station, whose amenities, always improving, now include benches for the weary sight seer.


Ready for liftoff!


Light crowds and excellent equipment on the access ridge.


Although the temperatures were still quite cold, the winds were less than anticipated as we found our way through the throngs to our skis-on point.


Even a bit of sunshine starting to burn through the high clouds. We pause for a break below the Aiguille du Midi.


We had firm skier-pisted snow ... er, that is "packed powder" for much of our run, but alas the crust did not universally hold body weight. Kathy "shops for her turns" on the strongest-looking snow.


Another gawking break just above the Géant Icefall.


Strategic moves where the snow has blown away from the bare ice here.


Getting through the icefall section, the snow is ideal.


It's getting a bit hungry out as we near the Requin hut.


Folks arriving for lunch.


After lunch, it's down again to the base of the Géant Icefall, where we get a privileged peek into the crumbly bits.


And safely away from those fearsome holes.


Skiers entering the "salle à manger".


A last bit of ice blob negotiation before we join them.


Once safely through the icefall section, it's time to cruise and enjoy the views. The blue sky wins out in the end, and it's another lovely day on the Vallée Blanche!