In spring 2013 Julien “Pica” Herry spotted a possible line down the north face of Aiguille Verte, along the Washburn route. It becomes challenging to find conditions for a clean descent as the Couturier couloir gets more famous; thus, we thought the Washburn route would be a good alternative.
Julien, Luca Rolli, and I decided to give the route a try on the 16th of May that same year. Unfortunately, our departure from the camp was delayed in the morning and we realized it was already too late to try the route when we reached the face. Slightly disappointed we decided to turn back with the hope of giving the route a try in the following weeks. A few days later, strong skiers Vivien Bruchez and Seb Montaz, who had the same plan as us, managed to ride the full line, which they named “Les Z.” Even though we were slightly bitter about not being the first to ride the line, we quickly forgot about “Les Z” due to the spring of 2013 offering amazing conditions for a lot of other runs.
Three French skiers found the line in excellent conditions on the 3rd of March 2016, and I was asked by Julien if I wanted to join him and Lambert Galli to give it a try. I accepted the invitation, but as always conditions in the high mountains can quickly change. It turned out to be a very challenging descent, but we were the only ones on the face due to the hard snow. A few weeks later conditions were excellent and Aiguille Verte was ridden by 10 skiers on the same day. If someone would have asked me earlier if I’d ride the north face of Aiguille Verte in hard conditions, I’d most probably say no. But if you want to ride faces where falling is not an option without crowds in the future, this might be the only option.