Already in October the conditions were very wintry and some fresh snow fell. The first powderturns were a pleasure! November is a transitional period.
What does it look like at the moment? What are we (Piers, Tobi & Dani) doing in the so-called Pre-Pre Season?
Tobias, what are the current conditions on the Titlis glacier?
“The conditions on the glacier are good for November. At the beginning of the season you have to be especially careful. There are open glacier crevasses and there can be weak snow bridges.
The amount of snow above 2400 is already quite good. Due to the warm weather phases the surface conditions are a bit “interesting”. But this will disappear with the next snowfall.”
Titlis glacier 17.11.20
Dani: Are the ski lifts & slopes open?
The Titlisbergbahnen from Engelberg to Klein Titlis are open. The glacier ski lift and the Ice-Flyer and its slopes are also open. The Rotegg run according to Stand is “drivable” but officially closed. Attention nasty stones!
What can I do already?
A few weeks ago the first skied Steinbergs to Trübsee. At the moment this is not possible anymore, because there is not enough snow down there. The ski tour from klein to Gross Titlis is good. A great training round with a breathtaking view. The pistes invite you to hone your skiing technique. They are hard but grippy.
What about the crevasses beside the slopes?
Whether it makes sense to ski the glacier already in October, November, December I don’t want to discuss. That’s when opinions differ and everyone has to decide for himself. One thing is clear; under the snow there are crevasses in different places. Some of them are open and visible, others are covered with snow bridges. Exactly these crevasses where you can’t see because of the snow, can be treacherous. How well these crevasses hold, one cannot judge.
Is that not dangerous?
Dani: Whole open crevasses are only a little dangerous in my eyes. There you can see where you shouldn’t go. In autumn there is often little snow and the bridges over the crevasses can be weak. (Does not have to be). When you cross a non-visible crevasse or in the edge of a visible crevasse, the snow bridge can collapse and you fall down. This is to be avoided at all costs, because the things are sometimes damn deep and the landing is certainly not soft!
In autumn/early winter I generally recommend not to ski on the glacier or to ski as carefully as possible off-piste. Furthermore, wearing a climbing harness and carrying a small “Gletscher McIver” set. This is actually standard even in high winter/spring when skiing on the glacier. Why nobody does this in Engelberg, I don’t know exactly.
Of course it makes sense to see the glacier completely “naked” in summer/autumn before the first snowfall. That way you know better where the crevasse zones are.
As long as you have the skis/snowboard on your feet, the support area is much larger and the probability of falling is smaller. But don’t lose a ski and go back up on foot over an unstable snow bridge…
Hard snow and icy areas are almost the bigger risk for me. Even the best skier falls from time to time or his binding fails. If you fall in only moderately steep terrain, you slide down brutally fast. Pay attention to what is below you, danger of falling possible!
Impressions of the rescue exercise “Column Fall” (December 2019):
What are you doing to prepare for the winter season?
Piers: “Biking, hiking, camping and having fun in life are ideal preparations for me.
I usually also ski all summer long in South America. Because of special times, the normal preparation for the winter season lapses a little with me”.
“I have been spending most of the summer in South America for the last 10 years, where I stay in the beautiful region of San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina. So I experience two winter seasons per year. In Argentina I work in a Freeride Camp where I share my know-how, tips and the passion of freeriding with people.
But this summer was an exception and I didn’t travel south this year. So this year I’m just brutally looking forward to the winter in general and skiing.
Tobias, how was your summer?
“I usually work a lot in summer as a mountain guide and have the whole Alps as my field of work. I guide many 4000m peaks, I do rock climbing and many different kinds of climbing and mountaineering courses.
What does your Corona Powder Mask for Winter 2021 look like?
Tobias: “I will have a “custom-made” face mask that matches the ski clothing. Logical ;)!”