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.
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.
Tina, Scott and I have had a busy week climbing and mountaineering finding good conditions and having the odd frustrating moment due to rockfall!
On Sunday we went to the Refuge Robert Blanc in the Beaufortain. The Guardian at this hut is excellent and we had a very enjoyable meal with him before an early start the next day when we climbed the Petite Aiguille des Glaciers (3468m). There had been fresh avalanches the day before. This may be an issue for the next few weeks in the Alps. The glacier was in excellent condition.
We decided to go to Les Ecrins for the next four days as the weather forecast was excellent for this area and there is a little less snow. Therefore we drove on Tuesday towards La Berarde but unfortunately could not get up the final section of the road due to a large scale rockfall the day before making the road unpassable. After a quick discussion we headed to Ailefroide for some rock climbing before overnighting in the valley.
After breakfast on Wednesday morning we climbed in the valley before making the approach to the Refuge du Sele where we got a very warm welcome. The next morning we climbed the South Ridge route to the summit of L’Ailefroide Orientale (3847m) before descending the South West Flank Route.
The South Ridge route on the L’Ailefroide is hard to find in the middle section when snow covered (as it is just now). The glacier section of the South West Flank is threatened by a serac for a good section of it (which is not mentioned in the British climbing guide) and this should be thought about carefully if deciding to do this route.
Yesterday we climbed one of the large granite routes in the valley, Spit on Cup. This newly bolted route can be found in the latest edition of the climbing guide.
There are more photos on the facebook page.
Paul and I had a great nine days mountaineering in the Monte Rosa Massif, Mont Blanc Massif, Chaine du Bargy and the Valais with Paul, Nick, Mark, Dean and Neil who are all based in the Lincoln area. Thanks also to Kenny Grant who joined us for the last three days. We completed the following;
- 4th September. Ecole de Glace on Mer de Glace.
- 5th September. Overnight at Rifugio Mantova following crevasse rescue on the Indren Glacier.
- 6th September. Pyramid Vincent (4215m), Balmenhorn (4167m) and Corro Nero (4322m).
- 7th September. Punta Giordani (4046m).
- 8th September. Crag session at Le fayet followed by approach to the Robert Blanc Hut.
- 9th September. The brilliant Arete des Lanchettes to the summit of the Domes des Glaciers (3529m).
- 10th September. Via Ferrata at Pic Jallouvre.
- 11th September. Ice climbing on the approach to the Moiry Hut.
- 12th September. The traverse of Pigne de la Le (3396m).
Lots more photos can be seen on the facebook page.