Two days from the Torino Hut

Andy, Rob, Frank, Paul and I (Euan) have just had two good days mountaineering from the Torino Hut which is accessed from the Helbronner lift and located in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Yesterday, Paul and Frank climbed the Dent du Geant (4013m) while Andy, Rob and I climbed the Aiguille Marbrees (3535m) and the Aiguille de Toule (3534m). Conditions were good on all three mountains however as the Aiguille de Toule does now not have much snow cover, care is required with the rock and it is best to avoid being under other parties.

Today we all climbed La Tour Ronde (3792m). Paul and Frank climbed the Gervasutti Couloir in good conditions and Andy, Rob and I climbed the Voie Normale. Snow cover has decreased on the Voie Normale since last week and therefore an early start or descent is useful.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Tour Ronde and the Dent du Geant

Yesterday, John, Harvey, Paul and I travelled through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc to Italy and used the Helbronner lift to access the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. From the lift we climbed the Tour Ronde (3792m) via the South East Arete and descended the Voie Normale.

The route was in snowy but good condition. Please note for those intending to climb the South East Arete, that the route is given AD in the French guidebooks not PD as in the British guidebook. It is best using the French versions.

Today, John, Harvey and Paul had a great day climbing the Dent du Geant (4013m).

There is a short video and a number of photos of yesterday and this morning on the climbnow facebook page.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Three Days in Les Ecrins

John, Harvey and I drove on Wednesday from Chamonix to La Berarde in search of some sunshine. Heavy rain accompanied our drive until we arrived in the village at which point the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We then had a pleasant walk to the Refuge Temple Ecrins. For those planning on going in the next couple of days to the Refuge de la Pilatte, check on access locally as one of the bridges is down due to recent floods.

The weather yesterday was perfect. This allowed us to make the ascent of Pic Coolidge (3775m). This is an excellent, long and varied alpine route and was in good condition.

After overnighting at the Centre Alpin in La berarde, today we climbed the 2611m summit of the Aiguillette du Lauzet utilising the via ferrata. The sun was out all day and we only encountered rain on our return to Chamonix.

Lots more photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

On Pic Coolidge with Harvey and John. L'Ailefroide can be seen in the background.

On Pic Coolidge with Harvey and John. L’Ailefroide can be seen in the background.

Benny Beg and Ratho Quarry

Yesterday (Wednesday) I was out working with Neil & Neil during the day for Falkirk Community Trust on their kids summer programme. We were climbing at Benny Beg, which was sunny and popular.

Ivor warming up on Peashooter

Ivor warming up on Peashooter

In the evening Ivor and I were out climbing some of the bolted routes in Ratho Quarry. It’s worth noting that with all the rain at the weekend there was a sizable rockfall in the quarry between Shear Fear and the Corrieman. Both these routes seemed ok and some work has been done to remove loose blocks from the area in between, but care should be taken in this area.

Aberdour

I am currently back in Scotland for a couple of days and had a nice afternoons climbing today at Aberdour with my nephews; Jacob, Ethan and Isaac. The boys did really well climbing. The rock was dry and the sun was out at this lovely little crag.

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Arolla and Moiry Valleys

Jos on the Aiguille de la Le.

Jos on the Aiguille de la Le.

Helen and Jos on the Cheilon traverse.

Helen and Jos on the Cheilon traverse.

This past week I have been over in Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering. Helen, Jos and I had a successful week climbing lots of great terrain. We began our week on Sunday with an Ecole de Glace session on the Ferpecle Glacier before an early start on Monday morning allowed us to complete the Petits Dent de Veisivi (3184m). This is an excellent rock peak and provides routes of PD+ and AD-. It is never busy though due to the steep walk in.

With a good forecast for Wednesday, we travelled to Cabane DIx on Tuesday. On the way, we traversed Point 2940m which is a very pleasant rock ridge. The weather was excellent on Wednesday which allowed us to traverse Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m). The AD ridge was in great condition. However, the Voie Normal which we descended is in difficult condition at the moment due to there being no track and the large amounts of snow this summer creating steep cornices on the ridge.

On Thursday we travelled to the Moiry Hut and on the way traversed the Clocher de la Couronne (3101m). This is an excellent rock peak which can easily be climbed on the way to or from the hut. The weather on Friday was again good. This allowed us to traverse the Aiguille de la Le (3179m). This AD rock ridge is usually quiet and gives continual interest. The British guidebook suggests it is short which is incorrect. From the Moiry Hut to the car park will take around 6 to 7 hours, not 3 as suggested by the guidebook.

Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

Pinnacle Ridge, Garbh Bheinn

John, Duncan, Isobel, Roz, Sarah, Tim and I took the Corran Ferry across to Ardgour yesterday (Thursday) and climbed Pinnacle Ridge on Garbh Bheinn. This was part of a Falkirk Community Trust scrambling day.

Tim and Duncan enjoying the ridge

Tim and Duncan enjoying the ridge

The is a great route on good gneiss. It’s at the top end of scrambling with some of the moves on the first steep buttress feeling hard for the Moderate grade it gets in the climbing guidebook.

Jon, Sarah, Isobel and Roz on one of the narrower sections

Jon, Sarah, Isobel and Roz on one of the narrower sections

We had showers on the walk in and up most of the ridge. However, the cloud cleared near the summit and for the walk off down Sron a’Gharbh Choire Bhig giving excellent views out to Eigg and Rum and down to Mull.

Sarah, Roz and Isobel at the top of the ridge

Sarah, Roz and Isobel at the top of the ridge

Coire an t-Sneachda

John and I were out in the Cairngorms today with Alec, Bob, Graeme and Wilson from Falkirk Community Trust. We climbed Finger’s Ridge in steady showers and, due to the light southerly wind, plenty of midges.

John, Graeme and Alec approaching the Fingers.

John, Graeme and Alec approaching the Fingers.

The route was a good choice for the day, has some good climbing and situations, but care is required as there’s a fair bit of loose rock.

Bob and Wilson high on Finger's Ridge

Bob and Wilson high on Finger’s Ridge

Mittelruck (P.di Loranco) 3363m

For the last two days of the four days Brian and I had mountaineering together (as part of a Martin Moran Mountaineering week), we visited the Almageller Hutte which is located above Saas Almagell (near Saas Grund).

We walked in on Tuesday (the bad weather day) to put us in place for the ascent of one of the many excellent peaks in this area. During the day and the night around 30 centimetres of snow fell at hut level (2894m) resulting in challenging conditions on Wednesday. However, we still completed the ascent of the Mittelruck (3363m) which is accessed from the Sonnigpass.

At this time of year, the ridge from the Sonnigpass would normally be a rock scramble. At the moment however, it is a long mixed ridge. The climbing is still very good in this condition but extra time should be allowed by parties aiming to complete the route.

Brian near the summit of Mittelruck.

Brian near the summit of Mittelruck.

Mittelruck and the Sonnighorn with Sonnigpass in between.

Mittelruck and the Sonnighorn with Sonnigpass in between.

Grand Perron and Point 2940m

Brian looking out to Mont Blanc de Cheilon from Point 2940m.

Brian looking out to Mont Blanc de Cheilon from Point 2940m.

Brian on a narrow section of the Grand Perron.

Brian on a narrow section of the Grand Perron.

Brian and I are climbing together this week based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering. Yesterday, we visited the Barrage d’Emosson and completed the traverse of the Grand Perron (2674m). This excellent AD ridge can be accessed in under one hour from Chamonix and should be on the list of all visiting mountaineers who enjoy intricate ridge traverses.

The conditions were mostly good. However, due to the recent weather some of the rock has a lot of lichen on it and requires care.

Today we traversed Point 2940m above Arolla. This rock ridge traverses between the Pas de Chevre and Col de Reidmatten and provides a good day route from Arolla.