|By Matt Gauthier
From ludlow, vt
May 9, 2007
At the summit of our first ski tour after arriving in the Chamonix/Mt. Blanc valley we got our first view of one of the sexiest faces in the Aguille Rouge Massif...
The North Face of the Buet. It wouldn't be for another 5 months until we actually put our vision to reality. It was April 14th and a beautiful blue bird day after a month of copious amounts of snow that limited our off-piste exploration. We geared up in the Flat and headed for the bus to hitch a ride to the Flegere Telephrique. At the top of Flegere we donned our skins, freed our heals, and headed off for a 6 hour skin/ski/skin/hike/ski/traverse/skin exbidition to the peak of Mt. Buet.
This is one of two (three if you want to be ridiculous) routes that we knew of, the other involves a train ride to Vallorcine then a long, skin only, ascent to the peak. Both routes are highly traveled to access popular ski descents in the Aguille Rouge Massif. The views and the varied terrain offered on our route are some of the best I've seen in the Alps.
At the summit of the Buet you are gifted with one of the top 5 best panoramic views of the southern peaks of the Chamonix Valley. We couldn't have asked for a better picture perfect day either.
After eating some grub, getting over the "Ahhhhs", throwing on the harnesses and helmets, we said goodbye to Mt. Blanc, the Aguille Du Midi, the Mere du Glace, the Dru, the Aguille Verte, the Aguille du Argentiere, the Aguille du Chardoney, and the rest of the Argentiere Glacier peaks and made the drop into the North Face that we'd been eying since day one.
Since the entire face was topped off with a ginormous corneous, we had to search for nice mellow spot to make the drop.
Once found we were off. After all dropping in safely, we started our descent. The first pitch was a beautiful packed powder northwest falling spine face that gave us the freedom of about 20 fast large turns each. Heaven. After regrouping, we realized the navigating from here down was going to be a bit tougher.
With much of the terrain unviewable, we took charge with memories of previous photographs taken of the face and previous scouting missions up near the base of the face. After circumnavigating around large cliffs and through tight cruxes with mandatory drops, we each let it loose into the beautiful run out that brought us into an entirely new glaciated area we had all never been.
We had made the face, the goal, the trust and friendship between friends and mountain, we had made the perfect Thursday.
After a "quick" ski out down to Vallorcine we had some time to kill before the train arrived. What better an opportunity to grab a few Kronenbergs and basque in the sun nearly at the feet of the face we had just danced with. See more trip reports and photos at www.gnarwire.com