Sunday, 3 August 2014

A wet week in Chamonix with Paul and Simon

After Ali had left and taken the sunshine with her, I met up with Paul and Simon.  The idea was to complete a few acclimitisation routes in order to prepare for and undertake upon an ascent of Mont Blanc.  The first day was a total write off, heavy persistent rain had forced us to participate in a free wifi pilgrimage of Chamonix.  Day two wasnt much better but we agreed if nothing else we should atleast start the acclimitisation process and took the lift up the Midi.  From the top station, we made our way down the ridge and across the Col du Midi to the Cosmiques hut at the base of the Cosmiques Arete where we had some coffee and a bit of whinging about the weather before the inevitable slog back up to the midi top station to get the lift back down to Cham.  The next day out was a little better and gave us a good 14hr weather window.  Given the uncertain nature of the weather, we decided on a good quick hit on a traverse of the Pointes Lachenal.  This is a great AD route which takes in 3 high points along a short(ish) ridge which the guys managed no problem.  Unfortunately the weather didnt play ball, with a lot of heavy snowfall in the previous days and no real break in the conditions I decided that it was unjustifiably risky to go anywhere near the 3 monts route.  I was saddened to hear on my return to the UK that 2 Italian climbers were killed in an avalanche on this route the day after we had decided not to press on.  What we did do, was to go up to the cosmiques hut and spent the night there, making for a good early start on the Cosmiques Arete the next morning.  Although we were all disappointed not to summit Mont Blanc, the guys did have a good few days out and it was a great introduction to alpine mountaineering.  I'd like to congratulate Paul and Simon on their successes on the Cosmiques and on Pointe Lachenal, the big bastard will still be there next time lads :)

the guys after topping out on Cosmiques Arete

Pea soup on the first day up high

gorgeous view

better weather for Pointe Lachenal!

Paul and Simon with the Aiguille du Midi in the background

making our way to the first Pointe up a snowslope

Paul and Simon on the fist Pointe

Paul, Simon and myself on the last Point of the traverse

Pointe Lachenal with weather closing in from the Italian side

Paul on the 2nd abseil on Cosmiques Arete

Simon and Paul just after the crux

Ali in the Alps!

I have been horrendously busy the past few weeks and the old Blog is always the first to suffer!  After my last day guiding Christine on the Ben, Ali and I left and headed for Chamonix to get some climbing done and have a bit of a busmans holiday.  We got to Cham after a horrendous bus journey thanks to National Express being to bus journeys what Brian Blessed is to libraries.  Anyway, we got there and we spent the first day trying to forget the journey, the second day we headed to the Gaillands climbing area which was (and always is) absolutely mobbed, after bagging a few routes we had decided it was infact too hot to climb.  The next day we got the but to Argentiere and climbed the Aiguilette d'Argentiere.  This is a great route and a very pleasant day out, offering great views of the valley and the odd charmoz or two.  After this it was time for Ali to bag her first ever alpine route and Cosmiques Arete was the natural choice.  A great AD route, with a short walk in and no walk out that can be done in as little as 3-5hrs depending on the traffic jams in all the usual places.  The weather was perfect, the rock was dry and the day was very enjoyable indeed (even meeting Ali's strict criteria for a good day out!).  After we topped out, a quick 40 euros later and we were enjoying tea (as negotiated by Ali before we had even left the UK) and some chips at the cafe in the Midi.  2 days later Ali left Chamonix and took all the good weather, much to the disappointment of Paul, Simon and myself who stayed on another week.

Ali chilling at Lac Bleu

The Midi from Lac Bleu

Ali on the sharp end in the Gaillands 

too hot to climb!

cheeky Charmoz in the Aiguilles Rouge 

Ali and the Aiguilette d'Argentiere

Me on P1 of the Aiguilette

Ali at the top looking toward Mont Blanc

job done!

Ali happy on the Cosmiques

Ali enjoying the view

Beautiful girlfriend, beautiful view = Happy days

me on the 'crux' crack

Ali seconds the crack

knackered and hot!