June and July in the Alps

This summer so far I have spent two weeks in the Alps. Last month with Paul we climbed the following; La Rechasse in the Vanoise, Aiguille du Goleon in Les Ecrins and Pigne de la Le in the Moiry valley.

This week with Tina, Scott, Steve and Paul I have climbed the following; Pointe de la Gliere (Matterhorn of the Vanoise), Grand Perron Traverse, Voie Princess and the Pyramide Calcaires in the Val Veny.

Four Varied Days

Guy, Joey, Paul and I have had four varied days in the Alps.

On Tuesday we climbed Aiguilles Marbrees  and traversed Le Petit Flambeau from the Rifugio Torino before overnighting at the hut. The snow ridge on Le Petit Flambeau is currently icy and requires screws.

The next day we traversed the Aiguille d’Entreves in good conditions.

Yesterday we visited the beautiful Vanoise National Park and traversed the stunning Aiguille de la Vanoise which includes a very, very narrow rock ridge.

Today we went multi pitch rock climbing at La Duchere. There is some seepage on the crag after last nights rain.

On the amazing Aiguille de la Vanoise.

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.


First Summits of the Alpine Season

I have just completed the first summits of my alpine season in the company of Amanda and Trevor. These were in the Vanoise.

Following an excellent meal and night at the Refuge Col de la Vanoise, today we climbed Pointe du Dard and La Rechasse. The mountains were both in perfect condition and very quiet.

The summit of Pointe du Dard with a stunning inversion behind the team.

Ski Touring and Mountaineering in the Vanoise

Paul and I have just spent a week in the Vanoise. From Monday to Friday we were ski touring with NOCG (Naval Outdoor Centre Germany) and Infinity Mountain Guides. Some of the highlights were;

  • Rocher du Charvet (2856m) and the Palafour off piste run.
  • Ouille de la Jave (2867m) and Ouille des Tretetes (2948m).
  • Dome de Pramecou (3081m) and the Tour of the Grande Balme off piste run.
  • Ouille Noire (3357m) and the Pays Desert.
  • The Grande Motte (3423m) and the Couloir Petite Balme.

On Saturday, Paul and traversed La Tsanteleina (3601m) by climbing the North Face and descending the South Face and Glacier du Couarts Dessus. We had a great time on what was quite a physically challenging peak that before mid may (when the road opens) involves 1800 metres of ascent and a significant distance.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Amazing Snow Once More in the Vanoise

Robbo, Jon, Mikey and I have just spent two nights at the Refuge Col de la Vanoise. We had a successful trip climbing, Pointe du Dard, Pointe de la Rechasse and the Col de la Grande Casse.

As per last week the snow was excellent for the descents. This week there was more avalanche activity. I watched a team trigger a wet slab release on La  Rechasse as well as some spontaneous releases today following last nights snow.

Jon looking towards the Grande Casse.

Jon looking towards the Grande Casse.

Amazing Snow in the Vanoise

Yesterday Tina, Scott and I toured into the Refuge Roc de la Peche in the Vanoise as snow fell. We overnighted at the hut before climbing the Col du Genepi this morning.

The snow was amazing. A nice layer of powder on a hard base. No other skiers were around.


Chasing the Sun with George and Paul

The weather was a little mixed last week in the Alps. However, by being flexible in our plans, George, Paul and I had a brilliant week climbing amazing mountains away from the crowds.

We began our week by visting the Vanoise. This is one of my favourite alpine regions as it is far from the crowds and very unspoilt once away from the ski lifts on the edge of the region. From thr Refuge Col de la Vanoise we completed the brilliant traverse of Mont Pelve (3261m). Details of this AD- route can be found on the website camptocamp.

As we completed the route late season, ice screws were required to climb over the bergshrund and a 60 metre rope was required for the abseils (unlike the 50 metres suggested by camptocamp).

The next day after returning to Saint Gervais les Bains we completed Aiguille de Toule (3538m) from the Punta Helbronner which is located on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. The conditions were very Scottish e.g. whiteout and deep fresh snow. Needless to say, we did not see any other climbers!

For the last three days of our trip we travelled to Les Ecrins. This is another of my favourite areas in the Alps and it was great to return here to finish the last part of my alpine season.

Following walking in to the Refuge du Soreiller on Wednesday, we had a late start on Thursday to allow the weather to clear before completing Le Voie du Nain and Aiguille Centrale du Soreiller (3338m). This is an excellent rock peak situated behind the iconic Aiguille Dibona which is rarely visited.

On Saturday to finish off our trip we climed the Voie Boell with the Stoffer variation to the summit of the Aiguille DIbona (3130m). This was a great route on a great summit to end another excellent summer in the Alps.

Many more photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

George and Paul near the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

George and Paul near the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Via Ferrata Tour of the Alps

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.

A wire bridge on the Roc du Vent.

A wire bridge on the Roc du Vent.

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.