Chamonix and Cortina

Although it is the birthplace of modern alpinism and offers unrivaled access to big mountain terrain, Chamonix has remained largely off the radar of the snowboarding masses. Maria Debari joins Chamonix regulars Liz Daley and Bibi Pekarek for a splitboard trip and finds high adventure under the influence of capricious big mountain weather, from Chamonix to Cortina to Le Tour Noir.

“Don’t let the exposure ruin your composure.”

It’s a simple phrase my brother taught me once when he took me rock climbing. At the time I had no idea it would become my mantra.

Our party of five had climbed a steep, snaking couloir to the Col Sup√®rieur du Tour Noir from the Refuge d’Argenti√®re where we had spent the previous night. Sitting at the bottom of the 1,500-foot couloir there was much deliberation about wind loading on the ascent and wind scouring on the descent; in the end both got the green light and up we went. We dropped over the other side of the ridge and there I was, on my toe edge in the middle of the 2,500 foot east-facing couloir with my ice axe plunged into a 50-degree slope. All I could do was repeat: “Don’t let the exposure ruin your composure…”

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