Limestone and Granite in the Alps

David and I have had a great week in the Alps together. We completed the following;

Day 1. Rock climbing at Le Fayet and the walk into Refuge Col de la Vanoise.

Day 2. The Traverse of the Aiguille de la Vanoise.

Day 3. The Traverse of the Grand Perron.

Day 4. Via Corda Alpina near Chamonix.

Day 5. The Traverse of Pointe des Verts in Les Aravis.

Day 6. The descent from the Refuge Gramusset and rock climbing at Col de la Colombiere.

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.

Three Regions in Four Days

Paul Skipworth and I are climbing together this week basing our trip from Saint Gervais Les Bains.

On Monday we spent the day on the Mer de Glace above Chamonix completing an Ecole de Glace session. We then made the short drive to Les Aravis on Tuesday before completing the traverse of the Pointe Percee (2750m). This is a beautiful peak with lots of good rock routes on it in a stunning limestone location.

On Wednesday morning we travelled to the Zinal valley before walking to the Tracuit hut. We were accompanied by snowfall above 2700 metres. Yesterday, we climbed the Bishorn (4153m). The mountain was in excellent condition due to the large quantities of new snow. This new snow will however make the rock ridges of the Valais very difficult.

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Pointe Percee

Martin and I spent the final day of our alpine rock climbing in Les Aravis climbing on the highest peak in the chain, Pointe Percee (2750m).

We climbed L’ombre Chinoise on the Paroi de Gramusset. At the top of the route we scrambled to the summit via the continuation arête at UIAA II/III.

After a tea break we descended the Cheminee Sallanches before returning to the Col des Annes.

A great day out and a nice way to finish our trip. There are lots more photos and a video on the facebook page.

Martin on pitch 8 with the Pointe Percee beyond.

Martin on pitch 8 with the Pointe Percee beyond.

Mountaineering in Les Aravis

Martin and I have had a great couple of days out in Les Aravis. This limestone mountain range overlooks Mont Blanc and provides a good number of technical mountains with many routes on excellent rock.

On Tuesday, we traversed La Mamule (2404m) and La Petite Miaz (2359m) before bivouacking for the night.

Today we traversed Mont Charvet (2538m) via the Pilier sud-ouest.

The trip gave us 3 mountain summits, 22 pitches of technical rock climbing, lots of scrambling and 1 bivouac. All in all an excellent couple of days out.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Rock climbing on Mont Charvet with La Mamule in the background.

Rock climbing on Mont Charvet with La Mamule in the background.

 

Pointe du Midi

Perfect limestone on the Pointe du Midi.

Perfect limestone on the Pointe du Midi.

Martin and I were out in the Chaine du Bargy mountain range today. We climbed Tchao Godillo on the Pointe du Midi. This gave an excellent 300 metre route and abseil descent which will be a perfect warm up for our next objective.

This is the second route Martin and I have climbed on this peak. Both have been on perfect limestone and have been very varied in their climbing.

Alpine Summer Report 2013

A team on the ascent of Roche Faurio with the Barre des Ecrins beyond.

A team on the ascent of Roche Faurio with the Barre des Ecrins beyond.

It has been an excellent summer in the Alps. In many areas this past winter and spring ten metres of snow fell. This has led to some fantastic conditions on the glaciers and the ridges of many regions.

It has been a busy summer for the ClimbNow team. Paul has been busy throughout North Wales teaching rock climbing and summer mountaineering skills. Martin has been doing similar work in many parts of Scotland and has spent some time climbing with me in the Alps. I have spent the summer guiding throughout the Alps during the months of June, July, August and September.

Tina and Scott on the summit ridge of Les Agneaux in Les Ecrins.

Tina and Scott on the summit ridge of Les Agneaux in Les Ecrins.

My summer began with a holiday in Les Aravis and the Chaine du Bargy with Rosie. From here, I drove to Les Ecrins and spent two brilliant weeks climbing in the best conditions I have seen in the massif for many years. Routes such as the Voie Originale on the Pic Coolidge were in good condition. Normally this route would be unsafe by late June.

Steve, Duncan and Steve climbing Pic Coolidge.

Steve, Duncan and Tim climbing Pic Coolidge.

After Les Ecrins, I had three weeks climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif, around Saas Fee and in the Val d’Herens. I had the opportunity to climb many interesting and beautiful mountains such as Alphubel, Mont Blanc and the Lagginhorn.

A team descending from the summit of Mont Blanc.

A team descending from the summit of Mont Blanc.

At this point in the season, I often find it useful to have a few days off. This year I returned to the UK for a few days and to attend a wedding before returning to the the peaks around Saas Grund and the three areas mentioned above.

Sunrise on the ascent of Weissmies from the Almageller Hut.

Sunrise on the ascent of Weissmies from the Almageller Hut.

Highlights from this period include; the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn, the traverse of Pigne d’Arolla and Mont Blanc de Cheilon, the traverse of Weissmies and Allalinhorn’s Holaubgrat.

John, Harvey and Andy on the summit of the Lagginhorn having completed the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn.

John, Harvey and Andy on the summit of the Lagginhorn having completed the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn.

The season continued with many fine summits in the Mont Blanc Massif and Gran Paradiso National Park before I returned to Les Ecrins for two more brilliant weeks of rock climbing and peak bagging.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

The final week of my season was spent in the mountains above Saas Fee and Zermatt. Conditions were challenging but as always the mountains and the team I climbed with provided some amazing memories.

This season I have spent fifty seven days climbing and mountaineering, twenty four nights in sixteen different huts, have climbed thirty four alpine summits and eleven multi pitch climbs as well as many single pitch climbs and completed five Ecole de Glace sessions.

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined me on the many adventures this summer has provided and made it such a memorable season.

Outside the Refuge de Soreiller with Martin and Ivor.

Outside the Refuge de Soreiller with Martin and Ivor.