June and July in the Alps

This summer so far I have spent two weeks in the Alps. Last month with Paul we climbed the following; La Rechasse in the Vanoise, Aiguille du Goleon in Les Ecrins and Pigne de la Le in the Moiry valley.

This week with Tina, Scott, Steve and Paul I have climbed the following; Pointe de la Gliere (Matterhorn of the Vanoise), Grand Perron Traverse, Voie Princess and the Pyramide Calcaires in the Val Veny.

The Alps, Fastcastle and the Souter

Last week, Andy, Rob and I had a quick visit to the Alps. Even though the weather was poor over the three days we still managed to climb; Pointe du Pas de Chevres (2991m) and Pointe 2940m (both accessed from the Pas de Chevres in the Arolla area) followed by Pigne de la Le (3396m, Moiry Valley). We then had a days cragging at Le Fayet.

The recent weather in the Alps will make climbing high rock ridges very difficult.

Today I have been out with the Falkirk High Tops Team. Iona, Barbara, Ivor, John and I had a great day at the Fastcastle and Souter sea cliffs. We climbed a number of single and multi pitch routes. The rock was dry and clean. Currently there are no problems with sea birds.

More photos on the facebook page.

Climbing on Pointe 2940m.

Climbing on Pointe 2940m.

Iona near the summit of the Souter.

Iona near the summit of the Souter.

The First 4000ers of the Season

This past week I have been with Frost Guiding who are based in Evolene.

We began the week on Sunday by completing an Ecole de Glace and crevasse rescue session on the Ferpecle Glacier before walking to the Tracuit Hut on Monday and climbing the Bishorn (4153m) on Tuesday. The mountain was in good condition with a track in the glacier to the summit. The new Tracuit Hut is very comfortable.

On Wednesday we approached the Gnifetti Hut from the Gressoney valley. We had hoped to climb Lyskamm the next day but had to abandon this plan due to very high winds that were not forecast.

Instead, we climbed II Naso (4272m) and Punta Giordani (4046m). II Naso was in good condition. The route from Punta Indren to Punta Giordani is drying out very fast in the current heatwave and may not be in safe condition for much longer.

Yesterday, we completed the Clocher de la Couronne (3101m). This mountain provides an excellent rock traverse and can be accessed from the Moiry Dam.

Of note, this season I have already witnessed more significant rockfall than I did during the whole of last season. This problem will continue as long as the current heatwave continues.

The Zinalrothorn from the Tracuit Hut.

The Zinalrothorn from the Tracuit Hut.

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.

Jegihorn, Lagginhorn, Triftgletscher, Glacier de Moiry

 

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

For the past three days Matt and I have been in Switzerland. On Monday morning we drove from Saint Gervais to Saas Grund before using the Hosaas lift system to quickly gain height. This gave us access to the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn (3206m). The route is 350 metres long on excellent gneiss. We finished the route a couple of minutes before the hail arrived, perfect timing. Once in waterproofs we continued our day by ascending to the Hosaas Hut to overnight.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

The next morning we climbed the normal route on the Lagginhorn (4010m). The route was in good condition with lots of firm snow. On the descent we pitched one rope length using an ice screw belay to safeguard the most steep and exposed traverse.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

After a fast descent to the hut and a quick drink we continued our day by practising crevasse rescue on the Triftgletscher. Normally, at this time of year the glacier is fairly dry and the crevasses are obvious. However, due to the large amounts of snow this past winter the glacier is still very wet and great care is required when practising skills.

Following our descent to the valley we drove round to the Moiry Dam. Our aim for this morning was to traverse the Couronne de Breona but as the alarm went off at 4.40am we could still hear heavy rain. Following a long lie until 7am we walked up and onto the Glacier de Moiry. We then had a great day practising lots of essential skills; prusiking, prusiking past knots, hoist systems, ice climbing skills for steep ground and building ice climbing anchors. The glacier was dry making it a good venue for practising these skills.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.