Rocky Ridges and Routes

David and I have had a successful weeks climbing together. We have covered lots of excellent ground on limestone and granite. Routes completed;

  • L’Arete a Marion near the Col des Aravis.
  • Aiguille d’Entreves Traverse.
  • Traverese of the Pyramide Calcaire in the Val Veny.
  • The Voie Perroux Brunat on L’ Index above Chamonix.

Tomorrow we are off to La Duchere to look at multi pitch lead climbing skills.

Matterhorn and Eldorado

John and I have had another busy few days. On Friday we walked to the Hörnli Hut before climbing the Matterhorn yesterday.

Today we visited the Eldorado Domes above Les Contamines. This excellent crag is 5/6 pitches high and rarely visited. Even though it is a Sunday in August, we were the only climbers there.

Six Days in the Alps

Tina, Scott, Steve, Paul and I have just had six excellent days mountaineering in the Alps. We climbed the following;

  • Day one. L’Arete Marion on the Pointes de la Blonniere. A beautiful rock ridge.
  • Day two to five. We visited the Vanoise where we traversed Mont Pelve and climbed Dome des Sonnailles. On the way we overnighted at the Refuge entre Deux Eaux, Refuge Col de la Vanoise and Refuge de la Valette. We received great hospitality at all the huts. The mountains were in good condition.
  • Day six. We climbed Eperon de la Cicle on the Tete de la Cicle above Les Contamines.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.


The Mont Blanc Massif

Barry and I have been based from Saint Gervais les Bains the last three days. On Wednesday we climbed a seven pitch route at the excellent La Duchere near Les Contamines before travelling to the Rifugio Torino to overnight.

The view from the end of the Arete des Cosmiques.

Yesterday, we climbed Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m). We also tried to access Le Petit Flambeau traverse and the Aiguille de Toule but both were in terrible condition. Therefore, we dropped down to the Val Ferret and went multi pitch climbing at Mochet.

Today, we climbed the classic Arete des Cosmigues in good conditions.

Mont Blanc from the summit of Les Aiguilles Marbrees.

La Duchere

John and I spent the 18th July at La Duchere crag near Les Contamines. This excellent venue has routes up to six pitches in length and is super well maintained. The photo shows John finishing the classic, ‘Le Nain Jaune Attends’ (‘The Yellow Dwarf Waits’).

La Duchere

Paul, Hector and I have been out climbing on La Duchere crag near Les Contamines. This excellent crag is up to six pitches in height and has grades from F3 to F7B.

Hector and Paul climbing.

Hector and Paul climbing.

Climbing and Walking with Family and Friends

This week I am spending time with family and friends climbing and walking in the Saint Gervais and Les Contamines area of the Alps.

So far we have used the Les Contamines lift system to access the Refuge Nant Borant, rock climb at La Duchere and yesterday Iain and I climbed on the Eldoradomes. This multi pitch venue is accessed from the Refuge Tre-la-Tete (above Les Contamines) and would provide a great second day after a traverse of the Domes de Miage. The rock is perfect glaciated slabs of gneiss.

Iain on the Eldoradomes.

Iain on the Eldoradomes.

Big Days Out in Les Ecrins

Following a few hours rock climbing at La Duchere crag near Les Contamines last Sunday, Paul and I drove down to Les Ecrins on Monday morning to meet Tina, Scott, Steve and Duncan. We then made the long walk into the Refuge Adele Planchard. The walk begins near La Grave and is very scenic.

Our intention was to climb La Grande Ruine (3765m) on Tuesday morning, however a change in forecast prompted a change in plan. As the weather was forecast to deteriorate at 4am the next morning we opted to climb the peak after dinner. We managed to make the summit in difficult snow conditions before returning to the at 2am. We had a long lie the next morning until 8am before walking out and driving to Ailefroide to overnight.

On Wednesday we walked into the Refuge du Pelvoux before climbing Mont Pelvoux (3943m) on Thursday morning via the Coolidge Couloir. The route was in excellent condition and is best climbed at this time of year when the chance of stonefall is minimised by good snow cover. It is also worth having two axes for the couloir.

Following a short rest we made the 1800 metre hut climb to the Refuge de l’Aigle on Friday at 6.30am. This well named hut (the hut of the eagles) is in a simply stunning location and well worth the effort in getting there.

The approach to the hut involves significant amounts of scrambling, via ferrata and glacier work. It should not be made in poor weather or visibility.

On Saturday we climbed La Meije Oriental (3891m) in excellent conditions before returning to the valley and Saint Gervais for a great meal out in the village.

To see more images of this stunning area please visit the climbnow facebook page.

The team on the summit of Mont Pelvoux.

The team on the summit of Mont Pelvoux.

Paul climbing at La Duchere.

Paul climbing at La Duchere.

The Glacier de Tre la Tete Basin

For the past three days, Paul and I have been out in the Mont Blanc Massif. This time we accessed the mountains from Les Contamines. This area will appeal to those who like their mountains quieter and more unspoilt than the main massif. There are no cable cars meaning all the peaks require a sizeable effort.

Near the summit of the Aiguille de la Berangere.

Near the summit of the Aiguille de la Berangere.

On Wednesday, the weather was poor. Therefore, we used this day to complete the long walk to the Refuge des Conscrits. Rather than use the glacier approach as marked on the map we used the new footpath which traverses the hillside high on the north side of the glacier. The path is well equipped with fixed ropes and a large wire bridge. The weather was perfect on Thursday. We made the most of this by climbing the Aiguille de la Berangere (3425m) which can be seen from Saint Gervais where we are based. The mountain gives great views of the Vanoise and Mont Blanc. Conditions were excellent. On Thursday afternoon we descended to the Hotel Tre-la-Tete which is on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Following a very comfortable night here, we had a good day on Friday ice climbing on the Glacier Tre-la-Tete and practicing crevasse rescue.

More photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

Paul descending from the Refuge des Conscrits.

Paul descending from the Refuge des Conscrits.

Alpine Summits and Cragging at Les Contamines

Paul and I are climbing together for a week in the Alps. We are staying in Saint Gervais which is a beautiful alpine town twenty minutes drive from Chamonix.

Yesterday, we travelled through the Mont Blanc Tunnnel to Italy and used the Punta Helbronner lift to quickly gain altitude. From here we climbed the Aiguille de Toule (3534m) before traversing Le Petit Flambeau (3440m) from La Vierge (an excellent PD+ mixed ridge). Conditions on both mountains were excellent.

Today, Paul and I climbed two good multi pitch routes at La Duchere near Les Contamines. These were; Ecole Junior and Les Trois Surplombs. We descended both routes by multi pitch abseils but it is also possible to walk down.

Paul near the summit of the Aiguille de Toule. the Dent de Geant is the obvious rock feature in the background.

Paul near the summit of the Aiguille de Toule. The Dent de Geant is the obvious rock feature in the background.