The weather was a little mixed last week in the Alps. However, by being flexible in our plans, George, Paul and I had a brilliant week climbing amazing mountains away from the crowds.
We began our week by visting the Vanoise. This is one of my favourite alpine regions as it is far from the crowds and very unspoilt once away from the ski lifts on the edge of the region. From thr Refuge Col de la Vanoise we completed the brilliant traverse of Mont Pelve (3261m). Details of this AD- route can be found on the website camptocamp.
As we completed the route late season, ice screws were required to climb over the bergshrund and a 60 metre rope was required for the abseils (unlike the 50 metres suggested by camptocamp).
The next day after returning to Saint Gervais les Bains we completed Aiguille de Toule (3538m) from the Punta Helbronner which is located on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. The conditions were very Scottish e.g. whiteout and deep fresh snow. Needless to say, we did not see any other climbers!
For the last three days of our trip we travelled to Les Ecrins. This is another of my favourite areas in the Alps and it was great to return here to finish the last part of my alpine season.
Following walking in to the Refuge du Soreiller on Wednesday, we had a late start on Thursday to allow the weather to clear before completing Le Voie du Nain and Aiguille Centrale du Soreiller (3338m). This is an excellent rock peak situated behind the iconic Aiguille Dibona which is rarely visited.
On Saturday to finish off our trip we climed the Voie Boell with the Stoffer variation to the summit of the Aiguille DIbona (3130m). This was a great route on a great summit to end another excellent summer in the Alps.
Many more photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.
The weather has continued to be perfect in Les Ecrins. Martin, Ivor and I have made the most of this by travelling from Ailefroide to La Berarde. From here, on Tuesday, we made the steep walk to the Refuge du Soreiller.
This hut gives access to a number of amazing granite summits including; Aiguille Dibona, Aiguille Centrale de Soreiller and Tete du Rouget.
We decided to climb the Pointes de Burlan (3299m) via Le Voie Muriabelle (D+,V+). The route gives excellent varied climbing on red granite.
The descent can be made either via abseil or a long scrambling ridge. We opted to abseil. Care should be taken with this to avoid the ropes jamming.
It is worth noting an important mistake in the guidebook. It suggests the route can be climbed on a 30 metre rope. This is incorrect. At least two of the pitches are 45 metres in length. To abseil the route, two 50 metre ropes are required. The route has lots of bolts on the harder sections. On the easier sections, the bolting is sparse and some teams may choose to carry a few wires and a couple of cam’s.
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.
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.
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.