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.

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.

Aiguille de la Charlanon

Today Rob, Andy, Mike and I climbed the Eperon SSE de droite on the Aiguille de la Charlanon (in the Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix).

This excellent route was quiet and judging from the descent gully doesn’t get climbed very often. It deserves more traffic.

The view from the route.

Les Aravis, Chamonix and the Mont Viso Massif

Tina, Scott, Steve, Paul and I had a great time last week in the Alps. The weather forecast was poor but by moving to find good weather we achieved some great routes. We completed the following;

  • Arete du Doigt and the Cheminee Sallanches on Pointe Percee. This is the highest mountain in Les Aravis.
  • The traverse of the Aiguille des Crochues above Chamonix.
  • The Cresta Perotti on the  Punta Venezia and La Cresta Est on the Punta Udine. These superb ridges are both located in the Mont Viso Massif.
  • Some superb multi pitch rock climbing on the Costa Grande near the Refuge Sella in the Mont Viso Massif.

Climbing the Arete du Doigt on the Pointe Percee

Near the summit of Punta Venezia.

Final Day of the Ski Season

Yesterday was the final day of my ski and winter season. Following about 50cm of fresh snow on Thursday night we had great conditions at Le Grand Montets.

We began the day by skiing many lines off the Tabe chairlift as the visibility was poor and the many trees in the area aid depth perception. In the afternoon the skies cleared and we had a great time skiing the classic runs, La Face and Glacier des Rognons.

I will add more photos from the week to the facebook page.

Off piste on Le Face. Great powder skiing yesterday.

Off piste on Le Face. Great powder skiing yesterday.

Powder Skiing at Le Grand Montets

Following fresh snow overnight down to 1000m and fresh snowfall throughout the day, there was some good skiing to be had at the Grand Montets ski area. The slopes were quiet and the lift queues short allowing a number of good off piste runs to be completed.

The Aiguille d'Argentiere during a brief clearing in the weather.

The Aiguille d’Argentiere during a brief clearing in the weather.

Crevasse Rescue and La Face

Today the weather has been challenging in the Alps with persistent snowfall and poor visibility which started yesterday afternoon. We did however have a productive day at Le Grand Montets.

We spent the first part of the day skinning out of the ski area in the direction of the Glacier d’Argentiere. Once away from any hazard presented by skiers we covered roping up for glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills.

On return to the resort we spent time skiing the fresh snow. The highlight of the day was a descent of the classic glaciated off piste run, La Face.

A low body position which greatly aids hoisting.

A low body position which greatly aids hoisting.

 

Off Piste at the Grand Montets

The team and I had a nice days off piste skiing today at the Grand Montets ski area (located at Argentiere near Chamonix). We had a good day skiing moguls, firm snow and spring snow.

The weather was good until 2pm when the weather set in with snow at the height of the half way station.

Off piste at Le Grand Montets.

Off piste at Le Grand Montets.

Col Freshfield and the Vallee Blanche

Today I have been out with a team from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines above Chamonix.

We spent the day skiing from the Aiguille du Midi down the Vallee Blanche but on the way skinned up to the Col Freshfield (3625m) on the Italian/French border.

High on the Vallee Blanche.

High on the Vallee Blanche.

The Vallee Blanche is becoming lean in the icefall section and very soon will not be passable. If the new snow arrives tomorrow onwards it will be a serious proposition as the remaining safe snow bridges will be hard to find.

Interesting snow conditions low down on the Vallee Blanche!

Interesting snow conditions low down on the Vallee Blanche!