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France backcountry ski 2009

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At the top, I still wasn't sure what mode I was going to take going down, skiing or booting, thru the two tricky sections: first immediately off the summit, and then thru the steeper "choke"

on the summit:  Eric sitting and my skis standing
[I decided to start on skis off the summit, but was glad that Eric went first to check going down the hardpack section just below the top. I followed and sideslipped most of the top 50 meters, finally worked up the nerve to make a turn, which actually worked.]
 

Eric entering the top of steeper narrower "choke" section.  [Fortunately this came after lots of warmup turns on almost-that-steep snow above -- still I was glad to have him check it out first.]
 

Eric exiting the bottom of steeper narrower "choke" section.
 [Next was my turn. I was in a good position to change to crampons and down-climb, but after practicing on the (now softened) snow above, I was going to keep my skis on. The "choke" slants a bit from right to left, so there is a risk of sliding into rocks, but once I moved above the entrance I knew I wasn't going to side-slip -- I just started nailing the turns, and soon I was thru it.]
 

below the "choke" it was great to feel the freedom to link bigger faster turns down the headwall toward the rimaye (bergshrund) -- an amazing space to ski.
 

after we stopped at the rimaye to pick up our extra stuff we'd left, the freedom continues - (with the Droites + Aiguille Verte beyond)
 

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almost down to the Argentiere glacier -- some fun slaloming thru rocks on mushy snow, still very skiable
    

looking east up the Argentiere glacier to Mont Dolent (Refuge d'Argentiere not visible on slope near left)
 [? wondering where the "Chamonix crowds" are ?]
 

still decent skiing on the groomed piste all the way down to the bottom
[at last found the crowds

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