It is always hard at the end of the season, post FishStock to think of a bigger and better plan to celebrate Holly’s birthday which falls on the 22nd April at the end of the party season. But this year it has to go down as the best way possible, in fact both Fish and Pips are in agreement that it was one of the best days ever on the mountain – in all 28 years!
We set off early to Motteret where we met up with Will, Badger, James, Jane and Emily to kit ourselves out in full avalanche kit and harnesses. We were off to the Gebrollaz Glacier.
We skied over to Val Thoren, and a few chairlifts up – we took off our coats, hats and goggles – put on sunglasses and skins on our skis and started the hour climb up to the top of the glacier. On reaching the top, Will and Badger had gone on ahead (perhaps a little fitter than the rest of us?!) and put in a rope to help us up the last very steep wall. Skis on to backs, and up we climbed! From the top you could see for miles, and as we guzzled some chocolate to replenish the energy sources we took in what has to be one of the spectacular views in the 3 Valleys.
The ski down was varied, amazing powder, horrible crust, fantastic spring snow and thick heavy porridge like snow at the bottom. We saw chamois and marmottes galore as we traversed, walked and slid our way down the valley to the refuge for lunch. Refuge de la Peche served us delicious cholesterol riddled Savoie food with red wine to wash it all down. We cracked open the first of many bottles of Champagne to celebrate Holly’s birthday in a truely special style.
After 11 hours on our skis we somehow managed to muster energy for some birthday drinks in the Tsaretta with Holly swinging from the rafters in her harness! When we all finally collapsed at 2am – to say we slept well would have been an understatement!