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.
This week I have been out in the Alps climbing with Ian, Ed and www.frostguiding.co.uk. We began the week last Sunday by traversing the superb Grand Perron (2647m) above Lac d’Emosson.
We then moved to the Evolene and Arolla valley and climbed the Dent Blanche (4357m) via the South Ridge on Tuesday. The route was very dry and crampons were not needed above the second snowfield (although this may change in the current weather). I would not recommend being under other groups in the couloir behind the gendarme at the moment,.
On Wednesday we climbed two routes on the Contrefort de Droite in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix; Eperon Sublime and Robin Wood. A small rack is required for Eperon Sublime.
Yesterday the weather was poor so we made our way to the Rifugio Torino before climbing Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m) today under fresh snow and in Scottish winter style conditions. The glacier was in the worst condition I have seen it in.
There are many more photos on the facebook page.
This week I am with Frost Guiding who are based in Evolene in the Arolla Valley. Karen, John and I have climbed three peaks over the last three days.
On Sunday we traversed Point 2943m which gives a nice rock climb and scramble. the rock was in excellent condition.
Yesterday we traversed Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) from the Dix Hut to the Vignettes Hut. The mountain was in good condition.
Today we traversed the Pointe d’Oren (3525m) before descending to the valley. The mountain was also in good condition. The bergshrund on the descent was easily crossed.
There are more photos on the facebook page.
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.
Rosie and I have just had a good few days completing a number of Via Ferratas. These were; Les Bettieres, Roc du Vent (2360m) and Le Belvedere at Nax. On the way we visited Annecy, Bourg Saint Maurice, Aosta and Evolene. A great way to spend a few days.
Brian and I are climbing together this week based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering. Yesterday, we visited the Barrage d’Emosson and completed the traverse of the Grand Perron (2674m). This excellent AD ridge can be accessed in under one hour from Chamonix and should be on the list of all visiting mountaineers who enjoy intricate ridge traverses.
The conditions were mostly good. However, due to the recent weather some of the rock has a lot of lichen on it and requires care.
Today we traversed Point 2940m above Arolla. This rock ridge traverses between the Pas de Chevre and Col de Reidmatten and provides a good day route from Arolla.
Again this week I have been based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering (www.moran-mountain.co.uk).
Following an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier Ferpecle on Sunday, Mark, Monica and I had a hut trip from Monday to Tuesday.
On the way to the Cabane des DIx above Arolla on Monday we climbed the Pointe du Pas de Chevres (2991m) before returning to the Pas de Chevres and traversing the Col de Riedmatten. The ladders on the Pas de Chevres remain closed and the Col de Riedmatten is the only option.
The weather on Tuesday was very poor. In full Scottish winter conditions we did however manage to climb La Luette (3548m) before returning to the valley. We climbed the ridge route rather than the glacial route as this was a safer option in the conditions we had.
Monica joined another team for the rest of the week while Mark and I headed to the Saas Valley. On Wednesday we made the ascent to the Mischabel Hutte before climbing the Ulrischhorn (3925m) on Thursday morning during a break in the weather. The Ulrischhorn was in excellent condition. After returning to the valley we completed the approach to the Weissmieshutte to overnight.
Today we completed the Sudkante on the Jegihorn (3206m). Despite all the recent bad weather the rock was perfectly dry.
Another great week in the Alps completed. A short video on the climbnow facebook page shows the current conditions on the Lenspitze and the Nadelhorn.
I have just spent the past week based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering (www.moran-mountain.co.uk) climbing with Mountain Guide Graham Frost, Katya, Simon, John and Clinton.
The week began last Sunday with an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier Ferpecle. This allowed us to cover lots of skills before making the ascent to the Cabane Bertol on Monday. Behind the Cabane is a large pinnacle of good rock which we climbed in the afternoon.
The weather was perfect on Tuesday and a good freeze overnight gave perfect conditions for our approach to the Aiguille de la Tsa (3668m). We climbed this brilliant pinnacle before descending using multi pitch abseil skills and returning to the valley. Two ropes are required for the descent. The rock was dry and warm.
With a perfect forecast for Thursday we made the ascent to the Cabane Vignettes on Wednesday. Following a very early breakfast we completed the traverse of the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) and Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m) to the Cabane Dix. This gives a top class AD traverse which was in excellent condition. We returned to the valley via the Col de Reidmatten as the Pas de Chevre is currently closed.
Today, we travelled to Saas Grund and climbed Panorama on the Jegihorn (3206m). This gave a great 350 metre rock climb on excellent rock.