The Final Week of the Season

David and I have just finished a great week together in the Alps. This was my final week in the Alps this season.  We visited both the Monte Viso Massif and the Mont Blanc Massif.

Below is a report on where we went and the conditions we found. The first three days were based from the very welcoming Rifugio Giacoletti. The second three days were based from the excellent www.gitemontjoly.com in Saint Gervais.

  • 13/09/17. Punta Venezia (3096m) via Cresta Perotti. Can be climbed in the same day as the walk in to the hut if you get to the car park early!
  • 14/09/17. Punta Roma (3069m) to Paso Giacoletti via Cresta del Colonnello. Traditional alpine AD ridge. Not a place to be in a storm.
  • 15/09/17. Punta Udine (3019m) via Cresta Est. Classic rock ridge right behind the hut. We wore rock shoes.
  • 16/09/17. Arete a’ Lauernce and Arete des Cosmiques. In excellent condtion following the recent snowfall.
  • 17/09/17. Aiguille Crochues (2840m) traverse and Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m). In wintery condition. Crampons would have been useful on the Belvedere.
  • 18/09/17. Multi pitch climbing at Les Gaillands. Lots of easy routes to do in mixed weather.

The crux move on the Arete des Cosmiques.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

The Mont Blanc Massif

Barry and I have been based from Saint Gervais les Bains the last three days. On Wednesday we climbed a seven pitch route at the excellent La Duchere near Les Contamines before travelling to the Rifugio Torino to overnight.

The view from the end of the Arete des Cosmiques.

Yesterday, we climbed Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m). We also tried to access Le Petit Flambeau traverse and the Aiguille de Toule but both were in terrible condition. Therefore, we dropped down to the Val Ferret and went multi pitch climbing at Mochet.

Today, we climbed the classic Arete des Cosmigues in good conditions.

Mont Blanc from the summit of Les Aiguilles Marbrees.

September in the Alps

September is an excellent month in the Alps. The huts and the mountains are quieter and the air temperature is also normally lower.

This week, Barry and I are climbing together. On Sunday we traversed the Aiguilles Crochues (2840m) and the Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m). There had been significant snowfall in the days proceeding which meant careful footwork was required. We saw two teams on the Crochues and none on the Belvedere.

Above the clouds on the Belvedere.

Yesterday we climbed on the Grande Falaise de Seloge in the Vallee des Glaciers. This is an excellent crag about 8 pitches high. The descent can be by either abseil or walk off.

In the afternoon we walked to the Refuge Robert Blanc to overnight. There was a warm welcome and great food.

Today we climbed Le Mont Tondu (3196m) taking in the summit of the Pain de Sucre on the way. There was nobody around.

Part of the Mont Tondu ridge.

 

La Mortenaz

Andy and I had a nice mornings cragging today at La Mortenaz. This crag (which is located near Cluses) has a number of perma-dry routes so worked well during todays weather.

Andy Nelson leading at La Mortenaz.

A Varied Week in the Alps

This week I have been out in the Alps climbing with Ian, Ed and www.frostguiding.co.uk. We began the week last Sunday by traversing the superb Grand Perron  (2647m) above Lac d’Emosson.

Ian and Ed with the Perron Traverse behind.

We then moved to the Evolene and Arolla valley and climbed the Dent Blanche (4357m) via the South Ridge on Tuesday. The route was very dry and crampons were not needed above the second snowfield (although this may change in the current weather). I would not recommend being under other groups in the couloir behind the gendarme at the moment,.

Sunset from the Dent Blanche Hut.

 

 

On Wednesday we climbed two routes on the Contrefort de Droite in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix; Eperon Sublime and Robin Wood. A small rack is required for Eperon Sublime.

Yesterday the weather was poor so we made our way to the Rifugio Torino before climbing Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m) today under fresh snow and in Scottish winter style conditions. The glacier was in the worst condition I have seen it in.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

L’Aiguille du Belvedere and La Duchere

Yesterday Paul, Hector and I climbed L’Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m) which is the highest summit in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix. It provided a great route with only a few other teams around.

Paul and Hector on the summit ridge.

Today we climbed a nine pitch route at La Duchere before Hector did some lead climbing on the lower tier.

Hector near the top of La Duchere.

La Frasse and Saas Fee

Paul, Hector and I are climbing together this week. On Monday we climbed at the excellent slab of La Frasse which is 30 minutes from Saint Gervais. The rock here is perfect, well bolted and the routes up to three pitches in length.

Yesterday, we climbed the Allalinhorn (4027m) from Saas Fee before overnighting at the Britannia Hutte.. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed from the hut to Mattmark reservoir via the Holaub and Allalin Glaciers. Since I last did this route a number of years ago the route has become much more popular, well marked with paint and cairns and very easy to follow.

The view from the ascent of the Allalinhorn.

Medonnet

Today I went for a boulder at Medonnet which is located near Combloux. This excellent venue provides a superb alternative to the Col du Montets and is significantly quieter. The rock is good quality but pretty tough on the hands after a few weeks in gloves.

Details on the approach can be found on UKC. I think it is easier to find when approached from Combloux rather than Sallanches.

Wild weather in the Alps

Following our retreat from the Plan de Bertol, the lads from St. James School, the www.frostguiding.co.uk team and I had a great day above Arolla on Wednesday. We climbed the Pointe du Pas de Chevres and traversed Point 2940m under mostly blue skies. These ridges provide fun scrambles that are rarely busy.

Traversing Point 2940m.

The weather from early evening Wednesday and through the whole of yesterday and last night has been very, very poor with 30cm of new snow at 2800m and I would suspect significantly more higher than this.

Due to this we went to the climbing wall yesterday. Today we attempted to go to the Saas Valley but unfortunately could not get up the road due to a significant landslide. Not to be put off, we travelled to Fiesch before having a fun day in the snow while ascending the Eggishorn.

The Aletschhorn during a clearing in the weather. It doesn’t normally look like this in August!

Pigne de la Le

For the past couple of days I have been out with St. James School and www.frostguiding.co.uk. On Sunday we completed an Ecole de Glace session on the Moiry Glacier before overnighting at the hut. Yesterday, we climbed the Pigne de la Le via the Voie Normale.

The Voie Normale is pretty ice at the moment (although this may change over the next few days) and I would recommend sharp crampons.

Today we tried to get to the Cabane Bertol but had to turn back above the Plan de Bertol due to torrential rain but more importantly, thunder and lightning.

Descending from the Pigne de la Le.