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.

 

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.

Les Ecrins and the Mont Blanc Massif

The start of this week in the Alps brought snow and even avalanche warnings being issued in the Mont Blanc Massif. Therefore, after climbing the Aiguille de la Charlanon, Rob, Andy, Mike and I escaped to Les Ecrins for a couple of days.

On Monday we walked to the Refuge de la Pilatte before traversing Mont Gioberney via the North East Ridge and the Voie Normale. The cold winds had covered the North East Ridge in rime and verglas which made the crux UIAA IV crack pitch pretty hard. It had a very Scottish feel. This should now have all cleared with the warm weather.

A local French Guide on the crux crack.

We spent the next three days in the Aiguilles Rouges and the Mont Blanc Massif climbing; Via Corda Alpina, Athina on the Contrefort de Droite, L’Index (2595m) and the Arete des Cosmiques.

All these routes were in good condition. The rock on Athina is not as good as that on the routes further left on this buttress and some of it should be treated with care. The Arete des Cosmiques still has enough snow on it to wear crampons the whole way.

Cool sky above the Cosmiques.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

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.

Argentiere Basin, the Aiguilles Rouge and Les Ecrins

Paul and Frank are just back from Les Ecrins where they had a great time climbing the Aiguille Dibona (3130m). They bivouacked before their ascent as the hut is currently being renovated and a little bit dusty! As usual the Dibona provided amazing climbing in a stunning setting.

Rob, Andy and I have had two brilliant days in the Mont Blanc Massif followed by a great day in Les Aiguilles Rouge. On Saturday we climbed above the clouds on the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) in perfect conditions before descending to the Refuge d’Argentiere to overnight.

We left the hut on Sunday morning in falling snow before emerging from the clouds into the sunshine to climb Pointe sup des Amethystes (3586m). A few notes on this mountain. Firstly, two axes are useful (the lads had two, I had one!). Secondly, two 60 metre ropes are very useful. I had one and therefore had to build anchors on wires and an abalakov thread to get back down.

Today we traversed the Aiguille Crochues (2837m). This is a really enjoyable route and great for practising moving together on.

Many more photos can be found on the facebook page.

The summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

The summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Rob and Andy on the summit of the Petite Aiguille Verte with Les Drus behind

Rob and Andy on the summit of the Petite Aiguille Verte with Les Drus behind

Les Ecrins and Les Aiguilles Rouges

Pam and I have just had an excellent four days climbing and mountaineering. On Tuesday we met in Chamonix and drove to La Berarde in Les Ecrins. We had a fun afternoon’s rock climbing on the Grande Rochaille before completing the walk to the Refuge du Soreiller.

The next day we climbed the South Face of the Aiguille Dibona (3130m) by linking up the Voie Madier, Diedre Couche and the Cannelures Stofer cracks to make a brilliant outing at TD. We used the North Ridge for descent.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

 

Pam on the descent of the North Ridge of the Aiguille Dibona (summit in the background).

Pam on the descent of the North Ridge of the Aiguille Dibona (summit in the background).

Yesterday, we climbed ‘Voie du Nain’ (AD-) which gives access to the Breche de Clochetons (3048m). We continued our day by climbing the brilliant South Ridge of the Aiguille Centrale du Soreiller (3348m). This ridge climb is given PD. It is worth noting that it is ‘Les Ecrins’ PD and would receive a harder grade in other areas. Rock shoes are advised.

Pam at the Breche de Clochetons.

Pam at the Breche de Clochetons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pam climbing on the Aiguille Centrale de Soreiller with the Dibona in the background.

Pam climbing on the Aiguille Centrale de Soreiller with the Dibona in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove to Saint Gervais yesterday evening before climbing in Les Aiguilles Rouges today. The weather was excellent and we had a fun day out climbing Eperon Sublime and Anthina on the Grande Floria.

It has been a great four days in the mountains with perfect weather and around 1250 metres of rock climbing completed.

 

Summits in the Chamonix area

For the past few days I have been climbing summits in the Mont Blanc Massif and Les Aiguilles Rouges with two Alpinists. On Sunday we ascended to the Albert Premier Hut before completing an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier du Tour. The weather on Monday was very poor with fresh snow but we still had a good day out traversing the Col Sup. du Tour and the Plateau du Trient to the Cabane du Trient.

The Plateau du Trient early on the 20/08/13.

The Plateau du Trient early on the 20/08/13.

For the time of year, the Plateau du Trient was in excellent condition with very good snow cover.

Yesterday, we had a big day climbing three summits; Aiguille du Tour (3542m), Petite Fourche (3520m) and Tete Blanche (3429m). The bergshrund on Aiguille du Tour is large and requires care. The conditions on the other two peaks were good.

Teams crossing the bergshrund on Aiguille du Tour.

Teams crossing the bergshrund on Aiguille du Tour.

Today we traversed Les Aiguilles Crochues (2840m). The route was quiet with no queues.

A team climbing on Les Aiguilles Crochues.

A team climbing on Les Aiguilles Crochues.

Les Aiguilles Crochues

Danny and I finished our six days together today by traversing Les Aiguilles Crochues (2840m). This ridge traverse is accessed from L’Index chairlift in Les Aiguilles Rouges.

Mont Blanc from the approach to Les Aiguilles Crochues.

Mont Blanc from the approach to Les Aiguilles Crochues.

The ridge is climbed on excellent rock and good spikes are available for belaying and to allow moving together.

A team enjoying the excellent rock scrambling.

A team enjoying the excellent rock scrambling.

 

The return to the lift station is made via Lac Blanc. There is a Refuge next to the lake which provides a great place to stop for a coffee break.

Danny returning to L'Index chairlft with Les Drus and the Aiguille Verte in the distance.

Danny returning to L’Index chairlft with Les Drus and the Aiguille Verte in the distance.