Category Archives: Rock
On Friday myself and Tom Grant headed up from the Montenvers for the Dru North couloir, along with Ben and Ally who were off for another route on the same mountain. The walk in to the bivi was a little arduous due to some unconsolidated snow and heavy packs!
We got an early start and made good progress up the initial couloir and climbed the two pitches which are normally mixed up to the Nomine crack without knowing, as they were covered in good neve. In the dark we didn’t realise we were only meters from the start of the Nomine and continued straight up a long pitch of mixed. Above loomed a steep and scary looking chimney corner, and i presumed we had wondered into the direct, so we rapped off and headed left to mixed gully we could just make out far off left.
As we arrived to its base it got light and we soon realised our mistake and made the traverse back to the Nomine crack. We had wasted alot of time but decided to continue hoping to climb the rock section quickly. Its no push over and took longer than we had hoped so at 2pm at the top of the off- width pitch we decided we weren’t up for a descent in the dark and turned around. A good decision as it was nice to be in our own beds that night!
The route is in very good condition and with our new knowledge of the route hopefully we will nip back up for a quick ascent in the next couple of weeks. I forgot my camera but Tom got some nice photos.
A couple of weeks ago i was climbing granite with rock shoes and a chalk bag on the Cordier pillar but the weather has completely changed since then and this weekend it was nice to get back on the ice axes with some great mixed climbing on the Triangle du Tacul. Autumn is definitely here and some of the big north faces look like they are quickly coming into condition.
Unfortunately myself and Luca didn’t get top top out on the Grands Charmoz, it was a case of too much haste,less speed, rushing and not checking the topo meant we climbed several pitches off route not leaving us time to finish. I will definitely go back as the climbing is great, moderate but sustained on lovely rock(other than the first sandy pitch).
This weekend Tom and i hatched a plan for a bit of mixed on the Triangle and his friend Davide came over from Switzerland to join us. At the midi we bumped into another friend Dave who was going for a solo due to a partner bailing and he joined us too, so we ended up climbing as a four! this meant we didn’t cover a lot of ground but we had a laugh and the climbing was great, good training for bigger things and some much needed acclimatisation.
If the words : slabs, traverse, roof are frightening to you. beyond reason: you should go there. It will be fun. 250 meter of slabs. open by Piola. and if it is too easy add some wet-ness into the equation . The rock is so good that if you can give it up, if you can balance your all life on that one little coffee spoon dish or crystal or what ever they call a hold then you will realize it is holding you and start to commit to the next move.
It is very luxurious to wake up-ride a train up 1000 meters and then walk on a sea of ice surrounded by huge mountains to the base of perfect granit crack and slab climbing. watch the moine crumble (hopefully noone was on the trail or climbing) and then walk back on the sea of ice, ride the train back to town and have a glass of wine at home.
As skiing conditions were poor Tom Grant and i decided to see if a route we had wanted to climb for a while was in condition. We got the second bin to the top of Grands Montets with Late to say im sorry as our target.
Leaving our skis at the bottom of the couturier couloir we make quick progress moving together up the calf burning 50 degree romp and intial two easy mixed pitches untill we reached the crux. It looked pretty tricky and was initally given a grade of A2 5c, but we had heard from other partys the roof can be drytooled at M6 and then an iced corner a few meters left of the origional peged up crack climbed at M5 for a free ascent.
I headed off on lead and managed to free the roof after spending a bit of time fiddling gear in, as i pulled round the bulge i saw above that the corner had no ice in so i would have to climb the origional crack which had also been freed but at M7, a little hard for me with no bolts! I tried to free this but got a little scared and pumped and had to rest on gear a couple of times.
The following pitch was pretty thin and had some tricky mixed climbing to but Tom dispatched of it easily, which just left us with three beautiful thin ice gully pitches to the top. Once we topped out we decied to rap off and not go to the summit which is bad style but a good call as an avalanche had come down the Couturier as we were climbing so as the light had gone by the time we reached the bottom finding our skis took a while!
I havnt blogged in a while because my computer has been broken, but the last few months in chamonix have been good ones. Myself and Luca Pandolfi skied the Rabbit Ears which is a cool little line i hadnt skied before, check out Lucas report- http://www.lucapandolfi.com/2012/03/rabbit-ears-10-03-2012/
After that we had a long period of sunny warm weather but no snow so i took the oportunity to do some climbing, some sunny perfect granite on Mort de Rire on the aiguille du genipi with Luca and a mixed climb on the aiguille Verte north face called Late to say im sorry with Tom Grant. This was a great route with some of the best climbing in the mountains i have done, we got a lot of cool pictures so i will put them up in another post.
Pic of the Rabbit Ears
Now we are getting loads of snow and have been making quick hits on the rond, cosmiques ect. Hopefully the mountains will be coming into steep sking condition because of it and we can ski some big lines when the sun comes back!
Summer is well and truly here in Chamonix and its been really hot over the last couple of weeks. With such a high isotherm and a lot of previous snow fall the snow conditions have been a little dangerous, so i have been out on some of the brilliant rock climbs that are on offer.
Last weekend i headed over to the Pointe Lachenal with Luca Pandolfi and climbed the perfect granite on the Contamine route.
Yesterday i climbed another great route with Hugh, this time a multi pitch sport climb called La fin de Babylone. This is on the other side of the valley in the Aiguilles Rouges, the gneiss rock here is very different but equally brilliant to the large crystal granite on the Chamonix aiguilles side. This route takes a line on the south face of Brevent under the cable car and is reasonably sustained although i felt the two 6c pitches were probably soft for the grade. The climbing is varied and excellent throughout and i would highly recommend it! Now the temperature has dropped a little and things are a bit safer hopefully i can get on a big route soon. We didn’t take any photos but the topo is below.