John and I have been out in the Alps together the last few days.
On Sunday we walked to the Tracuit Hut before climbing the Bishorn on Monday. Conditions on the mountain were good. There are two areas of significant crevasses that need to be crossed. Having a good amount of rope out is important.
Yesterday we visited Servoz crag before making the approach to the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuel. Today we climbed the Gran Paradiso via the classic route. The snout of the glacier is getting icy as is the area around 3600m. Soon it may be better to go by the variation route described in Martin Moran’s 4000m peaks book.
Two new itinerary’s have been added to the ClimbNow website. The first (The Gran Paradiso 4061m) is a summer alpine course based between Chamonix and the Aosta Valley. It is four days long and therefore perfect for those who have less time available but would still like to climb some excellent alpine summits. The level of difficulty can be adjusted to suit many different levels of experience.
The second hew itinerary is a ski touring course based in the Haute Maurienne. The Haute Maurienne is located in France and borders the Vanoise National Park. The course provides some physical days on summits where crampons are often needed on the final ridges. For those with a longer period of time on their hands, this tour can be linked with the Val d’Isere to Aosta Valley traverse to give 10 days of brilliant ski mountaineering!
Further photos and details of these courses can be found on the ClimbNow website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The team and I travellled through the Mont Blanc Tunnel on Thursday to Pont in Italy. From here we made the ascent to the Vittorio Emanuele II Hut. This very friendly hut is located at 2735m, serves good food and gives access to the highest mountain located entirely in Italy, the Gran Paradiso (4061m).
Yesterday, following a 4am breakfast, we had a great day out climbing the Gran Paradiso. Conditions on the mountain are still currently very good. We visited the ‘Madonna’ summit of the mountain and also the cairned summit further along the ridge. The ridge between the two summits gives pleasent rock scrambling. From the summit there is excellent views of the Mont Blanc Massif, the Zermatt peaks and the summits of the Vanoise.