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Fresh Tracks Blog

February 14th - Epic conditions in Verbier

Dre Israel - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Verbier is having one of the best snow seasons on record and conditions approaching the off piste snowboard camp which starts on the 27th February are looking like it's gonna be one to remember.  Only a couple spaces left if you are keen on this unique experience.  More details are on the site under courses / off piste snowboard camp.  In the meantime we are taking full advantage of the conditions and putting in some Fresh Tracks down some of the hidden couloirs of Verbier.

February 3rd Verbier

Dre Israel - Sunday, February 05, 2012

As the month of February begins Verbier has been encompassed by a huge cold front, temperatures of -18°C in resort and -28°C on the mountain.  As long as you're wrapped up warm you can enjoy the high pressure weather that has come with this cold front.  The cold is maintaining great off piste snow conditions even on south facing aspects.  I rarely like to use the term "perfect conditions" but with all the snow we've had and now clear skies and cold weather it couldn't get any better.  Some pics below taken in Verbier a few days ago of us snowboarding courtesy of Philip Field.




Dec. 17th - The Perfect Storm

Dre Israel - Sunday, December 18, 2011

We've had our first big storm of the season and the mountain has finally filled in.  Let the freeride season begin!  Televerbier has announced that we now have more snow then all of last season with several meters of fresh snow on the top peaks.  The avalanche level is now at a level 3 out of 5 so be careful as most slides happen on a 3.  There is powder to be had from top to bottom and the weather has just started to clear.   There is another storm due on Tuesday / Wednesday making for perfect conditions for all you powder addicts looking to come up for the Christmas holidays.  Pictures below from yesterday in Verbier.  Hope to see you all on the mountain this Christmas.




Tignes 24th November 2011

Dre Israel - Thursday, November 24, 2011

If you're looking to get your first few turns in of the season then Tignes is where it's at.  It's glacier is one of the largest in Europe and is now open from 3500m to 2100m.  The snow is pretty good on the glacier and the cannons have made for a nice grippy base lower down.  There is not much off piste at the moment but after a few snowfalls this place opens up quite quickly.  Fresh Tracks is here until the 3rd of December so if anyone is around let us know as we have already seen a few familiar faces.



Pollux 4092m

Dre Israel - Thursday, October 20, 2011

20th July

 4 hours (7:30-11:30) 

3620m - 4092m (472mH)

Started by taking the cable way from Zermatt to the top of the Klein Matterhorn 3884m.  Arrived on top at 7:30am.  From there we descended to about 3620m then crossed a 3km glacier full of crevasses with snow bridges that weren't the most trustworhty. We cautiously crossed the more stable ones but decided not to take any chances and jump over the 1 to 1.5 meter wide bottomless crevasses where the snow bridges looked more likely to collapse.   After about 2hrs we reached the base of Pollux. From there we scrambled up most of the rock face then climbed the steeper rock with fixed ropes.  A bit busy on the mountain which delayed us a bit but finally we made in through the rock and arrived back on a snowy ridge which took us to the summit. Beautiful views all round.  The decent was again slow due to traffic and much warmer which now affected the more stable snow bridges as well, one collapsing just beneath me with the slightest of foot pressure. Another jump with my 2 climbing partners securely stapled to the ground and we had cleared the darkness of the abyss.   The glacier had now become a very unstable, unpredictable and dangerous place to be in these warm summer hours of the afternoon. Finally we made it back safely to the top of the Klein Matterhorn at 4pm.  It took us 4 hours to summit, spent 30 minutes on top and 4 hours to get back. A very technical climb with some steep rock and loads of crevasses.   


Castor 4223m

Dre Israel - Thursday, October 20, 2011

31st July

2 hours 20 minutes (7:40-10:00) 

3620m - 4223m (603mH)

We began this climb at the top of Zermatts Klein Matterhorn 3884m at 7:40am.  We descended from there to about 3620m then proceeded on a 3km plod across a glacier full of huge crevasses but with a good solid path across them. It took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the base of Castor then an exciting hour to climb 600 vertical meters to the summit. The 30 to 35 degree face had a few crevasses to cross and a few small seracs to climb until we arrived on the summit ridge. Spectacular views from this ridge which after about 80 meters later led us to the summit. A very scenic summit but not very spacious.  The return took us about 2 hours to get back to the Klein Materhorn. A bit more of a physical climb then its neighbor Pollux but not as technical. Awesome views during the whole climb.


Monte Rosa 4563m

Dre Israel - Thursday, October 20, 2011

18th August

3 hours 15m (5:20am - 8:35am)

3611m - 4563m (952mH)

We started our ascent at Alagna buy taking the lift to Passo Salati 2971m.  From there we climbed to the Gnifetti Hut 3611m where we watched a beautiful sunset before heading off to sleep.  We woke at 4:20am and were out of the hut by 5:20am after a full breakfast.  We started our ascent with a long, semi steepish climb with a never ending horizon until about 4100m where we first laid eyes on the summit.  From there a small decent for about 50m took us to a steep climb up to the summit ridge. The ridge was about 45 degrees, very icy and extremely windy with a crevasse below on one side and a 2500 meter drop on the other side, a place we didn't want to spend too much time on.  We were extremely cautious climbing this ridge as our legs were now very tired and the high altitude had slightly begun to affect our coordination.  

We soon passed the ridge then scrambled through some rocks to finally reach the Zumsteinspitze summit 4563m at 8:35am.  A small summit but one which was flat enough to sit comfortably to take a few pics before contemplating the icy ridge back down again.  After passing the ridge we clipped in and rode to about 3100m enjoying a little 45 degree couloir just before the end.  From there we had about an hour and 15m minutes of down walking with board, boots, rope, harness, poles, crampons, ice axe all on our pack.   By the time we arrived back at Passo Salati our legs were literally on fire.  Shortly after rehydrating we took the lift back down to Alagna.  A very physical and quite technical climb especially just before the hut and on the summit ridge.  Highly recommended.


Strahlhorn 4190m

Dre Israel - Thursday, October 20, 2011

27th July 

4.5 hours (3:45am - 8:15am) 

2830m - 4190m (1360mH)

We started our attempt of the Strahlhorn in Saas Fee by taking the Felskinn Ski lift to 2990m.  From there our climb begun with a short 30m tour to the Britannia Hut 3030m.  It was there we based ourselves for the night so we could wake up in the early hours of the morning for an alpine start.  That evening we were joined by some of the local wild life, a herd of ibex and some mountain goats curiously but cautiously approached the hut.  The next morning we woke at 3am and after having finished breakfast we put our head torches on and descended about 200 meters to get to the glacier.  From there we put our crampons on and began our 1300 meter climb ahead of us. There were a few rock falls next to us during the early hours of the morning but nothing to be alarmed about as we kept our distance from the rock cliffs above.  After a spectacular sunrise we arrived on the summit at 8:15am, 4.5 hours after leaving the hut. A very small, wind blown, icy ridge of a summit marked with a cross.  Rode pretty much all the way down the glacier to the now uphill 200m climb back to the hut.  Arrived back at the hut at 10:30am without incident.  A great climb with very scenic views from the summit.


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