With the incredible amounts of snow that the Alps have received this year, it is no surprise that lines which are rarely filled in have become skiable. It is even less surprising that some of Chamonix’s finest ski and snowboard mountaineers (crazies?) have been the first to take advantage of recent high pressure and mild temperatures to ski these lines.
On February 13, 2012 Davide Capozzi and Stefano Bigio completed a previously unskied line on Mont Rochefort, which they dubbed the “Pente a Remy.” Mont Rochefort is a sub-peak of the Aguille de Rochefort, on the Mont Blanc Massif. The more typical descent of this peak is the “Rochefort Diagonale,” first skied by Remy Lecluse. Monsieur Lecluse also was the first to conceive of the route skied by Capozzi and Bigio, so they decided to name their descent in honor of him.
It sounds like every moment of this route was exciting. It not only included a difficult ascent and descent, but also an evening adventure down the Marbree Glacier, lit by headlamp. According to Davide Capozzi:
The ascent starts with a short 50° gully which leads to a mixed section which demanded a fair bit off poor Stefano (two pitches of transformed snow up rocky slabs, with ski boots, skis strapped to our rucksacks and difficult pro), and this led to the face proper. The descent is continuously exposed, down 45° – 50° slopes. The snow varied considerably since it hadn’t settled completely. We made tow abseils dwn the final section, one 50m abseil followed by a second, shorter one.
It is only mid February, and first descents are already going down in Chamonix. Expect plenty more to occur this spring, when the deep snow pack is joined by stability and sunny days.