Rocky Ridges and Routes

David and I have had a successful weeks climbing together. We have covered lots of excellent ground on limestone and granite. Routes completed;

  • L’Arete a Marion near the Col des Aravis.
  • Aiguille d’Entreves Traverse.
  • Traverese of the Pyramide Calcaire in the Val Veny.
  • The Voie Perroux Brunat on L’ Index above Chamonix.

Tomorrow we are off to La Duchere to look at multi pitch lead climbing skills.

Four Varied Days

Guy, Joey, Paul and I have had four varied days in the Alps.

On Tuesday we climbed Aiguilles Marbrees  and traversed Le Petit Flambeau from the Rifugio Torino before overnighting at the hut. The snow ridge on Le Petit Flambeau is currently icy and requires screws.

The next day we traversed the Aiguille d’Entreves in good conditions.

Yesterday we visited the beautiful Vanoise National Park and traversed the stunning Aiguille de la Vanoise which includes a very, very narrow rock ridge.

Today we went multi pitch rock climbing at La Duchere. There is some seepage on the crag after last nights rain.

On the amazing Aiguille de la Vanoise.

Valais and Mont Blanc Massif

I have just spent 6 days with Sam, Richard, Fred and Frost Guiding. Here are the details of what we did;

  • Day one. Ecole de Glacé on Moiry Glacier. Overnight at Moiry Hut.
  • Day two. Pointe de Mourti in good conditions.
  • Day three. Crevasse rescue on the way to the Vignettes Hut.
  • Day four. Traverse of Pigne d’Arolla. There is a 60 metre section of ice that requires ice screw belays on the ascent to the summit.
  • Day five. Ecole d’ escalade near the Orny Hut. Overnight at Trient Hut.
  • Day six. Aiguille du Tour in good conditions.

There are more photos on the Facebook page.

 

Mont Blanc – The Italian Way

I have just had an excellent week with Mel, Michelle, Tom, Andy and www.frostguiding.co.uk.

Our week began with an ascent of the Bishorn (4153m) from the Tracuit Hut in perfect conditions. We then completed two via ferratas (Nax and Evolene) on Tuesday as a semi rest day before our next planned route!

On Wednesday we made the significant approach to the Refuge Gonella before traversing Mont Blanc (via the Pope Route and the Gouter Route) on Thursday and overnighting at the Refuge Gouter. Today we descended at 5am from the hut to the valley.

A few notes on conditions:

  • The glacier on the approach to the Rifugio Gonella is not as dry as normal. A rope is advised.
  • The glacier above the Rifugio Gonella has significant serac danger.
  • There are only a couple of icy sections around the Piton des Italiens.
  • There has been stonefall in the Grand Couloir. It is best to cross this early.

Summit of the Bishorn.

The final ridge to Mont Blanc.

Mont Blanc

Congratulations to Amanda and Trevor who summited Mont Blanc yesterday. We climbed the mountain via the Refuge du Gouter and the Refuge de Tete Rousse.

Amanda and Trevor with the summit behind.

The Grand Couloir was quiet during our ascent (between 2.15am and 4.15am) and our descent (between 5.00am and 7.00am). I did hear activity during the afternoon and evening. The conditions above the Gouter Hut were excellent.

Rifugio Torino

Amanda, Trevor and I have been at the Rifugio Torino (Mont Blanc Massif) for the last couple of days. Here we climbed the Aiguilles Marbrees, the traverse of Le Petit Flambeau and the Aiguille de Toule. The mountains were in good condition.

The snow ridge of Le Petit Flambeau.

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.

 

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.