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.

 

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

Two days from the Torino Hut

Andy, Rob, Frank, Paul and I (Euan) have just had two good days mountaineering from the Torino Hut which is accessed from the Helbronner lift and located in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Yesterday, Paul and Frank climbed the Dent du Geant (4013m) while Andy, Rob and I climbed the Aiguille Marbrees (3535m) and the Aiguille de Toule (3534m). Conditions were good on all three mountains however as the Aiguille de Toule does now not have much snow cover, care is required with the rock and it is best to avoid being under other parties.

Today we all climbed La Tour Ronde (3792m). Paul and Frank climbed the Gervasutti Couloir in good conditions and Andy, Rob and I climbed the Voie Normale. Snow cover has decreased on the Voie Normale since last week and therefore an early start or descent is useful.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Tour Ronde and the Dent du Geant

Yesterday, John, Harvey, Paul and I travelled through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc to Italy and used the Helbronner lift to access the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. From the lift we climbed the Tour Ronde (3792m) via the South East Arete and descended the Voie Normale.

The route was in snowy but good condition. Please note for those intending to climb the South East Arete, that the route is given AD in the French guidebooks not PD as in the British guidebook. It is best using the French versions.

Today, John, Harvey and Paul had a great day climbing the Dent du Geant (4013m).

There is a short video and a number of photos of yesterday and this morning on the climbnow facebook page.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Climbing from Refuge Torino

Duncan on the Aiguilles Marbrees.

Duncan on the Aiguilles Marbrees.

TIna, Scott, Duncan, Steve, Paul and I are climbing for a week together in the Alps. Our intention was to begin together on Monday in Arolla and spend a week there doing summits. However, the forecast for that area is very poor for the next six days.

Therefore, as the key to a successful alpine trip is to adapt to the weather and conditions, we opted to climb together on Sunday to use the last of the good weather before the storm arrived late Sunday afternoon. As the team are staying in Chamonix, we travelled through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc and used the Helbronner lift to gain altitude. We then had a great day completing the Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m) and the traverse of Le Petit Flambeau (3440m). Both mountains were in good condition.

The weather continues to look bad in Switzerland and the Mont Blanc Massif so we will be travelling to a different area in search of the sun!

The Glacier de Tre la Tete Basin

For the past three days, Paul and I have been out in the Mont Blanc Massif. This time we accessed the mountains from Les Contamines. This area will appeal to those who like their mountains quieter and more unspoilt than the main massif. There are no cable cars meaning all the peaks require a sizeable effort.

Near the summit of the Aiguille de la Berangere.

Near the summit of the Aiguille de la Berangere.

On Wednesday, the weather was poor. Therefore, we used this day to complete the long walk to the Refuge des Conscrits. Rather than use the glacier approach as marked on the map we used the new footpath which traverses the hillside high on the north side of the glacier. The path is well equipped with fixed ropes and a large wire bridge. The weather was perfect on Thursday. We made the most of this by climbing the Aiguille de la Berangere (3425m) which can be seen from Saint Gervais where we are based. The mountain gives great views of the Vanoise and Mont Blanc. Conditions were excellent. On Thursday afternoon we descended to the Hotel Tre-la-Tete which is on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Following a very comfortable night here, we had a good day on Friday ice climbing on the Glacier Tre-la-Tete and practicing crevasse rescue.

More photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

Paul descending from the Refuge des Conscrits.

Paul descending from the Refuge des Conscrits.

Alpine Summits and Cragging at Les Contamines

Paul and I are climbing together for a week in the Alps. We are staying in Saint Gervais which is a beautiful alpine town twenty minutes drive from Chamonix.

Yesterday, we travelled through the Mont Blanc Tunnnel to Italy and used the Punta Helbronner lift to quickly gain altitude. From here we climbed the Aiguille de Toule (3534m) before traversing Le Petit Flambeau (3440m) from La Vierge (an excellent PD+ mixed ridge). Conditions on both mountains were excellent.

Today, Paul and I climbed two good multi pitch routes at La Duchere near Les Contamines. These were; Ecole Junior and Les Trois Surplombs. We descended both routes by multi pitch abseils but it is also possible to walk down.

Paul near the summit of the Aiguille de Toule. the Dent de Geant is the obvious rock feature in the background.

Paul near the summit of the Aiguille de Toule. The Dent de Geant is the obvious rock feature in the background.

 

Tete des Lindars (2560m)

Today the team and I made the short drive from Saint Gervais to the ski area of Flaine. The reason for our choice was the Desert de Plate. This vast area offered us a good number of ski touring options on moderate terrain and therefore a good level of safety in the current avalanche conditions.

Colin and Chris on the ascent of the Tete des Lindars.

Colin and Chris on the ascent of the Tete des Lindars.

We had a good day ski touring on Les Forts des Plate as well as making the ascent of the Tete des Lindars (2560m). From here there are amazing views of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Paul on the summit of the Tete des Lindars.

Paul on the summit of the Tete des Lindars.

Rochers des Enclaves (2465m)

The team on the summit of the Rochers des Enclaves with the Mont Blanc Massif behind.

The team on the summit of the Rochers des Enclaves with the Mont Blanc Massif behind.

Today, the lads and I have Les Contamines. This brilliant ski area is also an excellent launch pad for a number of top class ski tours.

Currently the avalanche conditions in the Alps are serious. Therefore, we chose to ski the Rochers des Enclaves (2465m) as it allowed us to follow ridge type features and terrain less than 20 degrees. We did not start the tour from the top of the Buche Croisee ski lift as described in the guidebook but entered near the Chalet de la Croix to avoid the initial steep descent. This added one hour to the tour but massively increased safety.

The snow on the descent to Hauteluce via the Lac de La Girotte was in good condition above 1500 metres.

Colin on the ascent of the Rochers des Enclaves.

Colin on the ascent of the Rochers des Enclaves.

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.