Sunday, 24 May 2009

To Angleterre

21st- Camping in Saas Grund
24th- Went across the Helbronner today - great to see loads happening up on the vallee - inspirational for the summer to come. For the first time this season we saw a track up the Mont Blanc du Tacul, brave & promising of a safer route up/down here in summer.

Just getting stuff together now to leave Chamonix and an awesome winter behind. Going home now to go climbing and work for a month, then we will be back.

So over the next few weeks I will be based in the Peak District for some gritstone action then North Wales and the Lakes.... just going to bag the great rock routes of the UK that I have missed these last few months!

Post again when something happens.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

The big Bernese Oberland - game over winter

So we waited for a week for some weather! Our lease in Chamonix runs out at the end of the month and so we decided it wasnt quite time to hang up the ski's just yet, but to give it one last go in the high mountains of the Bernese Oberland. On this tour Chris and I started in Bernese village of Grindlewald famous for the Eiger and the view up its North Face...

16th May: Chamonix - Grindlewald - Jungfraujoch - Loutor - Hollandia Hut

A 3am start in Chamonix and a drive round to Grindlewald in time for the first train (the girls were taking New Blue on an adventure to Lake Como in Italy then picking us up at the other side of the mountains a week later). The train up the North Face was amazing.

The Jungfraujoch Mountain Train... here we go through the North Face of the Eiger and the Monch then end up at a col by the Jungfrau at 3454m

To the Louwotor from the Jungfraujoch

With a fantastic skin and over the biggest glacier in Europe (Aletsch) up to the Louwitor through big crevasses to a high point of 3738 we came upon completely fresh powder snow for a descent back down to 2900m...awesome skiing no other traces nobody here! 

We arrived at the Hollandia Hut in the afternoon ... this place is awesome!

17th May Hollandia Hut - Abeni Flue (3962m) - Grosser Aletschfirn - Konkordia Hut

Another awesome day..... an early morning skin up to the summit of the Abeni Flue, a great ski touring peak and more fresh mountain tracks back to the hut!

The route to the Abeni Flue, up left - down right.

Pleasant skiing in great atmosphere from the summit

Summit panorama

On the skin up

On route to the Abeni Flue summit, the hut is out of sight on the left of the crevassed area.

Top timing... what happens when the 'auto timer' on the camera is too quick for Chris. The Abeni Flue is a great skiing summit

After the ski we had a long glide down to the Konkordia Hut where we had 140m of steps to get up to the hut! A reminder of the effects of the glacial recession.

18th May, Konkordia Hut - Grosser Fiescherhorn (4048m) - Finsteraarhorn Hut

The guardian said the weather would be bad in the morning and clearing up at midday, so we decided to go for a small tour, up and over a col and up to the Wysnollen....that was the plan.

Anyway, it was sunny when we woke up so we went to ascend the Grosser Fiescherhorn from the Konkordi Hut then descent down to the Finsteraarhorn Hut. A much bigger, committing and fun outing.

The line of attack, up the valley, round the spur and then up the steepening (about 45 degrees on foot) to the col. From here we had two options, the Grosser or the Hinter, both 400m+

Unfortunately when we got to the col the weather had really come in... really bad news. A whiteout at 4000m generally isnt good news. Especially on ski. Infact we stopped at the col and didnt go for the summit, the extra 50m. We roped up, tapped some points into the GPS and blindly followed the little arrow pointing us to safety. Only once coming a little to close to a monster crevasse. 

Huge crevasses on this descent... fortunately the mist cleared

Coming out of the fog the feeling was amazing, really rewarding, to have worked hard to get out of the mess and have beautiful views of another valley... when many teams had achieved nothing today. This photo shows the hut with the Finsteraarhorn behind, this is another ski touring objective - the biggest peak in the Oberland.

19th May, Finsteraarhorn Hut - Grosser Wannenhorn (3905m) - Finsteraarhorn Hut

The guardian says it is the best ski ascent in the area, from our experience. It was. This massive mountain was great, cut a fresh track into the mountain on the way up - ski'd across the knife edge summit ridge. Took off the skins and just 'had it' all the way down cutting amazing s shapes into the snow!

Great views on the ascent, the busiest day for us in this rage with a whopping 3 parties on the same route... this place is nothing like Chamonix!

The best mountain snow I have ski'd, made life so easy

Chris with the perfect tracks, we could see these from the hut. Huge serac out of sight to the right

We returned to the same hut because they served good Rosti.

20th May, Finsteraarhorn - Galmihorn (3517m) - Reckingen (in the Valley)

We heard this ski descent was still in condition (in May!)so we went for it, from the hut we had an early start, up to the impressive snow whaleback of the Galmihorn, down a Col and down the most avalanche prone valley to the Swiss village of Reckingen.

More of the same really, no storied to tell, just amazing skinning (feeling fit now) amazing skiing and fantastic travel through the beautiful Bernese Mountains.

The view of the route from the top of yesterdays summit. The route goes from the Finsteraarhorn Hut (left) to the Galmihorn (right) and down the col to Reckingen.

 On the summit, thanks Chris for a great tour and some great photos.

This is the end of winter for us here in the Alps, time to pack away the skis and boots, dig out the rock climbing gear and get stuck in some more.

For now, we are all heading back to the UK for a little while, a month for me. I will be running lots of courses with and hopefully some time to get out cragging.

The Bernese Oberland Haute Route is a great place and this is a great place to be in May, when everywhere else is not in condition!

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Getting quite frustrated

11th- Rain 
12th- Rain
13th- Rain
14th- Rain

So have finished off the web design! 

have a look and let me know ......

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Broken Legs

Nobody has broken their legs thankfully. 

But Chris decided to pretend to break them both today. So I rescued him from the crag.... More MIA preparation and a bit of climbing today. 

The weather is really unsettled (in the afternoons) still preventing anything actually happening here in the wee world of Taconnaz.

Have spent a lot of time developing the new website.. have a look!

9th: Climbing with Jen at Chavants
10th: Climbing and rescue training at Chavants

Friday, 8 May 2009

First storms of summer

Went shopping today as it was realllllly gloomy. Anyway, Jen bought some Rock Shoes so we went to test them out down the local crag (looks great for practicing rescues and a bit of climbing!) soon as we got to the bottom of the crag, it pissed it down.

Jen made cookies. She is a genius. Going climbing tomorrow.

It thundered today, the signs of a stormy unsettled patch so not much going on high up :(

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Cosmiques Arete

7th: Cosmiques Arete

The last super sunny day before the weekend so we decided to head out and go for a jolly on the Cosmiques Arete as we have not been up here this year. Here are the snaps!

Cinque Terre

Skiing and Climbing Recovery

4th May
Jen & I took Blue down to the coast! Here we are in the Cinque Terre, a fantastic place down by the Mediterranean. The home of good pizza, ice cream, coffee and some good wandering by the coast!

Camping by the sea

We stayed here until Wednesday 6th. Ready for some more mountain action now!

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Its not gritstone and I don't like it.

2nd - worked around the house in the morning, went 'mouldering' in the afternoon.... we headed out to go do some bouldering up the road at coupeau, only to find that since the winter there had been no traffic at this venue. Lots of moss, mould, pine needles and dampness made the top outs pretty scary!

3rd - Freeride Day at Grand Montets.... went skiing and beer drinking!

Going on a van holiday to the Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy tomorrow, can't wait - maybe go for 2/3/4 days.. loads more adventures planned on our return.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Aiguille d'Argentiere - Glacier d Milieu Ski

1st May 

So...May has arrived! Still lots of Mountaineering to be had here! Today I went with Chris to Ski Mountaineer the Aig d'Argentiere - and what a day! I have been up this summit before, in summer, really good news to now be able to take ski's, shuffle up to the bergschrund and then hike up to the summit. 

4.5 hours from Grand Montets lift to Summit, 2 Hours down to Chamonix.

Chris on the summit

Soloing up to the top (bags left at bergschrund!)

Skiers going the whole hog

Batteries died on the camera for the descent, the skiing was AMAZING!