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Aig. du Midi N face – Frendo Spur 28.05.2013

3800 m ; 800 m 50° ; North ; TD+ ; 5.4/ E4
Frendo-line

First skied by J.M.Boivin and L.Giacomini on the 02/07/1977 it has been a little dream of mine for quite some time.
Not sure if the original line has already been ridden by a snowboard ; for sure it is a first snowboarding descent of its variant.
The original line was going, after the big spine, skiers left on the west slope of the Frendo, however following a serac fall radical changes were made to the conditions of the north face and put an end to the repetitions of this route for several years.
A couple of years ago, Francois Thevenet and Alex Pittin “reopened” it bypassing the central rocky spur with few abseils.
This year, 2 parties have already been there and only the second party found quite good conditions all the way down.
Some people aim to be the first to ski a line, whilst personally, my aim is to ride a line in good conditions where I can have fun, with proper turns and dynamicity…this requires a lot of patience waiting.
Finally we got what we were looking for, the perfect conditions…freeride on the Frendo spur…it does not happen so often.
Having skied the Mallory the previous day and seen that the conditions on the north face were excellent Ben and I decided to go for something different rather than the classics Mallory and Eugster.
Ben was thinking more about another line, due to the fact he already skied the Frendo only one month ago (even if in the fog and on crust).
Bird and Ross had the same idea so we decided to make one big group rather than skiing above each other.
In the morning we had also bumped into Minna and she was super motivated to have her first experience on the north face.
Although 5 people for a route like that this could be deemed a bit too much and some of us were a bit nervous about it, we were all good friends and with the same vibe, so we decided to ski all together and make two parties on the abseiling line.
We had 4 x 60 m ropes so one party was setting the next rappel while the other was calling back the ropes and bringing them down; it worked perfectly, everything went smooth and we found the best conditions you would wish to ride on a line like that.
The turns on the spine were pretty magic and although there was a lot of fucking around with the rope (like someone says) it was definitely worth it nevertheless.
The ambiance is wild and breath taking and even the raps in the big central diedro are pretty committing…il ya du gaz !
We did one 60 m rapp on Abalakov at the top to cross the icy strip gully and three and an half in the gully of the central spur.
On the lower slopes, even if still quite steep and exposed we released the tension and put big turns on excellent snow.
One of those great days on the mountain with good friends.
With Ben Briggs (thanks m8 to have opened the way), Ross Hewitt, Bird and Minna.
Unfortunately my go pro got steam in it ruining most of the footages.
First snowboard descent by Alain Moroni May 1993 via the west slope.
One of the rare snowboard repetitions.

crew
Ready to drop

Minna
Minna

Luca

Luca

Luca

Ross
Ross

Minna

Luca

Bird & Ben

Bird

Ben
Great shots of Ben on the spine!

Ben

sluff
The big sluff that Ben set off cutting the top of the spine

Luca

Luca

Luca

Luca

Luca
THE …spine !

Luca

Frendo spur
Me on the spine on the left…thanks Andy for the picture

Ross
Ross

Minna

Minna

Bird
Bird opening the gas after have waited for a while..

Luca

Minna & Bird
Happy people

Bird

gear
Traffic at the second belay

bird
Looking down…third rapp

Minna
Last rapp

Luca

Luca

Ross
Ross on the lower slope..still steep but great snow

crew

crew

Straight after Bird went up to speedride almost the same line….kaaaaw

Bird-speedriding
Flipping over the sera

Here is the video

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