Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Arete des Papillons (Butterflies ridge)

Mel and I went out on the Chamonix Aiguilles, the Papillons Arete which leads eventually to the Aiguille du Peigne. We decided to go home for drinks after doing the arete, which seemed pretty normal. Amazing, sometimes exposed climbing with a few nice scary/interesting sections! Wednesday club going well!

Moving together with Mel on the last sections

Easy ridge scrambling

This shows the true scale, look for the person in red at the bottom of the pic!

Think this is a photo of me about to enter the 'letterbox', from where you just don't want to leave.

Also found this, a cool video of the route from TVMountain

Voie Frison-Roche & Crakoukass

Team 'Mountain Drop Offs' went out today for some hot rock on the Aiguille Rouges. Another route on the must do list was the Frison Roche, so up we went. Great climbing, found the crux tricky! Then amazing and beautiful climbing on the final pitch, I think this is one of my favourtie pitches of climbing! Stunning moves.

After, we had time to get on another route, so we headed for Crakoukass, a relatively new route (2000 ish), halfway down the Charles Bozon piste. Didnt want to walk down so summited the first two pillars then bailed to get the cablecar. Magnificent, exposed 'monolith' climbing!

Straddling the monolith, picture doesnt show it but this is a stand-alone pillar that just got Andy and I sat on top!

Topped out on the Frison Roche

Up the exit corner, beautiful 5c climbing

Andy working his way up to the 6a crux pitch

Andy topping out! 

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Chapelle de la Gliere

Mel on the 'Razer', stunning exposure, wind blowing the ropes all over.

The summit of the Aiguille L'Index, popular as ever!

Was hoping to go for the Papillons Arete and the Peigne today but the weather wasnt looking great. So we headed for the Aiguille Rouge with another Chamonix Classic for Wednesday Club... The Chapelle De Gliere a 400m rock route (10-12 pitches) that mounts the south Shoulder of the Gliere, over the 'Razer' (doesnt sound good with ropes involved) and onto the 'Chapel' of the Gliere. A 20m pinnacle which offers great exposed climbing.

We boshed out 8-10 pitches and moved together a bit before the clash of thunder and rain came... the wind had threatened to blow me off the famous 'Razeur' and by the time we made it to the bottom of the pinnacle the rock was wet and we decided to abseil aroudn the summit. Shame, but the right decision as it rained  for a wee while after. 

Made it back to the Index lift for 1pm....

Some really nice climbing on route. I would love to do this route again or any of the alternatives nearby.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Down a Crevasse

On Purpose...

Went with Jen, Tom and Jules to do some Crevasse Rescue Training up above Le Tour by the Albert Premier Hut. What a great day out. Nice walk up followed by some training setting up the crevasse rescue hoist, prussiking out and looking at ice anchors. 

I decided not to go in the hole for the second year runnning!

Tom went quite deep (to the point where we couldnt actually see him) ... check out the photo!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Summer Snow Sprinkling

It has rained really hard for the last 2 days here and putting snow from 2000m+. Fortunately I have been at work. This has given me the chance to finish off the route list with a few tweeks.... 

Conditions are going to be a bit sketchy for the next day or two until we have found out how much snow has come down. Looking forward to Monday when we might get chance to go up the mountain!

Pic from the balcony coming soon when we can see the mountains!

Any beta on the routes gratefully accepted! Also need to get out cragging as I am so weak right now!

For now here is another picture I found, this is of me at some point on the rock section of the Frendo from earlier this week...




Contamine Route, Point Lachenal

Gervasutti Pillar

Forbes Arete Chardonnet

Kuffner Arete Maudit 

Petit Jorasses West Wall


La Meije Traverse

NW Pillar Cengalo


Cassin Route Piz Badile

Chamonix Aiguilles

Aig du Peigne - Papillons arete

Aig du Blatiere

Charmoz-Grepon Traverse

Cordier Pillar Grand Charmoz

Envers Aiguilles

Dent Crocodile Envers Side

Aig du Plan Envers Side

Easy Jaunts

Petits Charmoz Traverse

N Face of Tete Blanche and Petit Fauche

Aiguille de la Perseverance

Multi Day Trips

Moine East Face combined with Petit Jorasses West Face (2/3 Nights)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Frendo Spur

Well its about time we got on this Chamonix Classic... 

After finding the right combination of someone to climb with, having the days off work, having the right weather and the right conditions and being reasonably fit we decided to head out onto the Frendo Spur after little preperation on Sunday night.

The route is an uber classic 1200+m route up the North Face of The Aiguille d' Midi. Amazing access from the middle station, the route climbs the obvious 4th Spur (Frendo) that tops out on a very sharp snow ridge before steepening up to finish on the famous Midi snow arete before a ride home to Chamonix. An awesome mountain route with no descent! Perfect.

We decided part of this trip would be the bivi, Chris having recently had Jack (son) needed to get some sleep so what better place to do this but 2000m above Chamonix on a lovely little rock ledge. And Chris really did come packed for the bivi with a very thick (old school style) thermarest.... I packed for the 'light, fast and stupid' and managed with a bit of suffering on a roll mat I have ad for about 15 years (about 4mm thick!)...

The climbing was great, lovely easy terrain with short sections of difficulty which provided nice sections of climbing when you were about ready for them. 

We took a 60m single rope which meant we could just run out huge pitches, rock shoes also meant the climbing was a complete pleasure and we could free the upper crux (the lower crux is actually quite easy) - which was also a lovely bit of climbing. Higher up brought another crux  which was defiently an aid section so we stepped in the sling and up we went. This can be avoided by taking lower ramps.

With the first midi lift bringing us to the Plan d'Aiguille by 6.45, we made the bottom of the route for 8.30am and got to the bivi about 2.30pm...this meant we could achieve a good 15 hours of chilling out on the bivi! Magnificent.

A point for reference, this bivi spot can receive 3G signal for those wanting to piss friends at work off on facebook.

The morning and a bit of a sleep-in meant we were on out way by a lazy 7am. The snow arete was very exposed and at this point we were glad to of had the rest we did. Up we went and the traversing started, Icy sections and rotten snow... the condition was not excellent but we could move safely with Ice Screw protection until things eased and we finished up the snow ramps to the Midi mid station (we took the right option). 

A quick tourist dodge got us onto the first lift we could get on (about 11am) and we made the Petit Kitchen by 11.30. Espresso, Espresso, Coke, Heineken, Steak, Chips, Egg followed..... Perfect.

Awesome route.... get it done before the snow goes on that last section and you are left with quite brittle and sketchy Ice.

Cheers Chris for not falling off when we were moving together, and for the most chilled out relaxed Alpine Route I have ever done!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Broken Legs.. A reminder that it hurts

Think back to a post I did in may :

Where Chris was pretending to have broken both of his legs as I rescued him from a crag....

Well he has actually broken both of his ankle/feet... Bugger

Get well soon Chris. 

Lets hope for no more climbing accidents and maybe we can remember that it hurts when you hit the floor..... ouch

Aiguille L'M NNE Ridge

In the process of getting back in the swing - took advantage of the overcast weather and went for some middle mountain action on the L'M. Great because we get an ideal view of this peak from the balcony and it is the leftmost Aiguille on the list! Frendo next up then its just a case of getting all of the routes inbetween!

Went with Mel who is currently on climbing rehab after Chris's accident, some cheeky pitches (namely the offwidth one) but otherwise a real nice day out.

First train up the Montenvers and then back before the last train. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Midi Plan Traverse

7th July

Went out with Chris and a few of his friends for a trip on the Midi-Plan traverse, I havent done this before so was pleased to go out for a nice 'dangerous walk'. Looking forward to going climbing. Have just bought the english versions of the Aiguille Rouge Piola guide and the Envers des Aiguilles english version Piola guide, look like there is another few lifetimes worth of climbing to be done!

Hoping to go for a jolly on the Aiguille L'M tomorrow to get back in the swing of things!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Summer Plans

Ok, so this isnt quite the view from the balcony.... but I am looking at the same view (but from lower down).

On the right we have the Aiguille du Midi and the left is the Grand Charmoz. Further left still brings the Aiguille l'M.

So here brings the Summer challenge. Climb all of the Aiguilles I can see from the balcony. Maybe not all of them, but all which have great lines on them. Including some Whillans/Brown specialities and some awesome looking traverses.

Things I fancy.... (get these rock routes out before the winter comes)

Contamine Route, Point Lachenal

Cassin Route Piz Badile

Gervasutti Pillar, Tacul

Frendo Spur, Midi

NW Pillar Cengalo

Forbes Arete Chardonnet

Kuffner Arete Maudit

Aig du Peigne via?

Aig du Blatiere via?

Cordier Pillar Grand Charmoz

Dent Crocodile Envers Side

Aig du Plan Envers Side

NNE Ridge, Aiguille L'M

Couturier Coulouir, Verte (or maybe save until Winter)

Working 4 days a week here which leaves a good window of opportunity before committing to Alpinism for September!

end of the UK tour and Chamonix

So I ended up the tour of the UK with 'Avalanche' and 'Red Wall and Longlands Continuation' with Paulo on Lliwidd, then I met up with Mark and had a good old jolly on the classic 'The Cracks' on Dinas Mot.

Then a quick trip up to the Lakes and then back to the Peak and here we are.... a long drive brings me back to Chamonix!