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Les Courtes – South Face direct 26.01.2012

3856 m ; 100 m 50°, 600 m 45° ; SouthWest ; TD ; 5.2/ E3

The southwest face of Les Courtes is for me one of the most aesthetic lines of the Alps.
The line is 700 m long and exposed to 100 m cliffs at the bottom.
The best way to ski this face is to link it with the Swiss route on the north face, on the way up.
With Ben Brigs, we slept at the top of Grands Montets and set off at 4.30 in the morning.
After some problems to pass the huge bergshrund, I quickly found myself not really confy to climb soloing black ice with my snowboard boots.
We decided to rappel down, go round in knee deep snow and climb the less steep and technical north east face.
The first third of the face we used the bootpack of our Spanish friends we met during the previous night and it took us a while to open the track for the rest of the route (the top part was pretty icy) and climb the final ridge.
The snow conditions on the south face were perfect, 40 cm of fresh powder.
We took the direct entry and ripped the line in massive turns with big sluffs all around…Epic!
At the bottom of the face, just few meters before the big drop, a long 60 m rappel + some easy downclimbing, allowed us to leave the hanging wall.
The snow was excellent.all the way down to the mer de glace
We rode down the James Bond trail and arrived in town with the dark falling down.
Long day but definitely worth it!


On the final ridge


Ben Briggs


Checking the entry


Ready to rock !


Face shots


One of those days !

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