For the past couple of days I have been out with St. James School and www.frostguiding.co.uk. On Sunday we completed an Ecole de Glace session on the Moiry Glacier before overnighting at the hut. Yesterday, we climbed the Pigne de la Le via the Voie Normale.
The Voie Normale is pretty ice at the moment (although this may change over the next few days) and I would recommend sharp crampons.
Today we tried to get to the Cabane Bertol but had to turn back above the Plan de Bertol due to torrential rain but more importantly, thunder and lightning.
This past week I have been over in Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering. Helen, Jos and I had a successful week climbing lots of great terrain. We began our week on Sunday with an Ecole de Glace session on the Ferpecle Glacier before an early start on Monday morning allowed us to complete the Petits Dent de Veisivi (3184m). This is an excellent rock peak and provides routes of PD+ and AD-. It is never busy though due to the steep walk in.
With a good forecast for Wednesday, we travelled to Cabane DIx on Tuesday. On the way, we traversed Point 2940m which is a very pleasant rock ridge. The weather was excellent on Wednesday which allowed us to traverse Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m). The AD ridge was in great condition. However, the Voie Normal which we descended is in difficult condition at the moment due to there being no track and the large amounts of snow this summer creating steep cornices on the ridge.
On Thursday we travelled to the Moiry Hut and on the way traversed the Clocher de la Couronne (3101m). This is an excellent rock peak which can easily be climbed on the way to or from the hut. The weather on Friday was again good. This allowed us to traverse the Aiguille de la Le (3179m). This AD rock ridge is usually quiet and gives continual interest. The British guidebook suggests it is short which is incorrect. From the Moiry Hut to the car park will take around 6 to 7 hours, not 3 as suggested by the guidebook.
Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.
For the past three days Matt and I have been in Switzerland. On Monday morning we drove from Saint Gervais to Saas Grund before using the Hosaas lift system to quickly gain height. This gave us access to the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn (3206m). The route is 350 metres long on excellent gneiss. We finished the route a couple of minutes before the hail arrived, perfect timing. Once in waterproofs we continued our day by ascending to the Hosaas Hut to overnight.
The next morning we climbed the normal route on the Lagginhorn (4010m). The route was in good condition with lots of firm snow. On the descent we pitched one rope length using an ice screw belay to safeguard the most steep and exposed traverse.
After a fast descent to the hut and a quick drink we continued our day by practising crevasse rescue on the Triftgletscher. Normally, at this time of year the glacier is fairly dry and the crevasses are obvious. However, due to the large amounts of snow this past winter the glacier is still very wet and great care is required when practising skills.
Following our descent to the valley we drove round to the Moiry Dam. Our aim for this morning was to traverse the Couronne de Breona but as the alarm went off at 4.40am we could still hear heavy rain. Following a long lie until 7am we walked up and onto the Glacier de Moiry. We then had a great day practising lots of essential skills; prusiking, prusiking past knots, hoist systems, ice climbing skills for steep ground and building ice climbing anchors. The glacier was dry making it a good venue for practising these skills.