Aurélien Ducroz and friends take us in an impressive line on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. High Mountain Atmosphere and steep skiing are part of that episode thanks to the Drone Héxo+!!
To begin this new season , Aurélien Ducroz, Xavier De Le Rue, Tony Lamiche and Alexandre Pittin wanted to start with an impressive line : the Couloir Mallory. From the top of the Aiguille du Midi, the descent begins on the north face, directly under the cables of the bucket ... and it's steep, very steep:
Line Name: “Le Mallory”
Ski lifts used: Aiguille du Midi cable car
Starting altitude: 3842 Meters (12605 ft)
Arrival altitude: 1100 Meters (3609 ft)
Total elevation: 2742 Meters (8996 ft)
Aurélien Ducroz thoughts on the shooting:
Following an early season without snow and with heavy snowfall and especially with very difficult conditions in altitude we were unfortunately forced to postpone the release of the first episode.
Finally last Friday we could turn after spotting the night before.
Xavier Delerue joined me for this first episode. After riding years together on the Freeride World Tour here we are together again for one of the most legendary lines in Chamonix : The Mallory.
Accompanied by Tony Lamiche and Alexander Pittin on Thursday while searching for a good spot, the Mallory matured in our minds. Alex is actually a great specialist of this route (over 40 runs) and Tony who was there the week before, proposed to try Mallory in winter mode.
For Xav and me it was a first but we heard so much about this line that we automatically said “GO!”
Friday morning first bucket, our pressure rises slowly with Xavier discovering the integral of the line under the bucket, but Tony and Alex very calm, tried to relax us : "it's going to be good guys! No stress, and your still on your legs so... "
We started the descent of the ridge before diving into the mythical "North Face of the Aiguille du Midi." The first turns are good and it reassures us. But we come to the fifth turn on the ice. Tony and Alex ahead of us, get out their ice axes, pins and begin to make a "abalakov" to put the rope. Let's go for a first rappelling descent.
I looked at Xav and said, "ok it's not freeriding anymore, it’s extreme even mountaineering" !!
We have to be concentrated, Mallory is mythical but a very technical line!
Once under the bergschrund we go back a few meters (in the snow) in a nice snow and especially reassuring!
Once on the “elbow” of the mountain, the atmosphere changed: the snow was concrete. Tension and concentration came back strongly, we begin small curves, with ice axes in hand.
However, Alex and Tony seemed completely relaxed, it's amazing to see the change with much confidence, fluidity, they are in their element.
Once on top of the dome, the snow became much better even powder. Although the slope is steeper, exceeding by 55 °,we begin to feel bette, we finally have something under the feet that we can master.
Finding myself in the heart of the North Face, gives me incredible and mixed feelings: excitement, shyness, humility ... It is unique!
A reminder and we are at the top of a snow slope hanging over the void: another incredible atmosphere!
Snow is good, we continue some curves "or rather turns" before diving into a very technical area to reach the penultimate recall.
One last suspended slope before the final rappelling descent that I was eagerly expecting.
The tension finally falls. For my part I am flushed, Tony and Alex themselves are thoroughly, always relaxed. It was at that moment that I realized how my image of extreme skiing and committed was hustled today.
We ended on a small narrow corridor to reach the exit corridor where we could finally let go and do curves!
This episode of Mallory will remain mythic for me! With its line, its technicality, commitment and above all by the discovery of a separate discipline.
I want to thank Alex and Tony for making us discover their world between extreme skiing and mountaineering and especially to have had the chance to appreciate their mastery of the element.
We chose two ultra-specialist guides to carry this line.
This route is a real mix between extreme skiing and mountaineering, we changed sports and therefore safety rules.