Skiing

Aiguille du Midi North Face – Eugster Couloir

The Eugster Couloir on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi was first skied in June 1977 by Laurent Giacomini. It averages out at between 50° and 55° over 500m of descent.

The turns down the north face directly under the cable car cables

Anselme Baud says in his guide Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges: A Guide for Skiers
that the slope reaches 56° in places. This puts it in the toponeige rating system at 5.4 and the exposition is definitely a 4.

Seb makes his way down through the rocks on the north face of the Aiguille

This short section before the Mallory and Eugster part ways was pretty steep

To ski it in good style you have to start from the tunnel and take the roped arête on its left hand side, this does cause quite a stir as all the tourists on the Midi cant quite believe what they are seeing and they swarm across to have a look. You follow the hanging glacier down a short way before cutting back onto the wide ridge peppered with rocks that lies directly beneath the cable cars cables.

Seb doing some jump turns

The Mallory drops off to the right, we head left down the Eugster

After a small steep section the Mallory drops away to the right and the Eugster takes the couloir to the skiers left. This steep couloir has a cliff in the middle that needs to be rappelled over, there was no in-situ gear so we left a sling behind hooked over a small boulder.

First turns in the Eugster couloir proper

A few more turns and we get to the first abseil point

After this first abseil the couloir opens out a bit and the snow was excellent and some good turns were to be had. This section then ends in a small cliff band that had to be rappelled over, again no in-situ so the mountain claims another sling.

Seb at the bottom of the first abseil

Seb setting off down the middle section of the descent

Then the couloir changes direction and heads directly down towards the old Gare des Glaciers. There was another small step here that we had to abseil over, this time we hacked out an ice bollard so that we didn’t have to leave any more gear behind.

The snow in this section was just perfect

And when it is this steep it is nice to have perfect snow

There was a little tricky section in this last bit with some iced over rocks to pass before the couloir opened out properly and we could ski out onto the alluvial cone below.

Hanging out on the second abseil

We rapped off an ice bollard here, it was nearly possible to get down this on ski’s but given the severity of a fall at this point we used the rope

It was a fantastic descent in perfect snow conditions. Though if there had of been a better base then the last abseil might not have been necessary.

Past the last tricky section and out into the open

In the final section of the couloir now

And finally we can see the end of the couloir and can crank out our last turns