Courtes & Co.

One tiny little section in the immense Mt Blanc Massif deserves special mention, in my opinion. It's a small but concentrated zone of consistently steep northeast faces above the Argentiere glacier. The vast majority of the backcountry skiing in this region is still unfamiliar to me, but I look forward to getting to know this area much better. It is a veritable playground for adventurous adults.

Earlier this winter I climbed the NE Face with Roch Malnuit, and we then launched our paragliders from the top and flew all the way back to town in 20 minutes - a descent that takes most climbers half of a day. More recently, I skied a bit in the same zone and every step up, like every turn down, was stellar.

Wide angle view of a ski day.

Starting up the bottom of the couloir - Roch and I are heading up to fly from the summit.

The summit ridge, and cell reception ;-)

Roch always leads whenever it's tricky.

The trusty Ultralite 19m. Enough glide to get you out, but small and light enough to carry up easily.

Getting ready to put the shoes on.

Climbed up... then traversed out to retreat after being rejected by genuinely rock hard, unskiable ice. I'm a pussy.

Starting the descent, on a ski day.

A little further in.