24th May 2012 – Climbing at the Aiguille du Midi
Some awesome weather was to be had today in Chamonix, so we headed up the Aiguille du Midi on the first lift to go and climb Cosmiques Arete/Ridge or whatever you want to call it, a lovely II AD.
Leaving the station was rather scary for me – steep icy snow slope and haven’t been walking in crampons for months, so took us a while to reach the Vallee Blanche basin, but what amazing views!!
|scary snow slope leaving the station (if you slip you will end up in chamonix haha)|
|on approach to the route|
We arrived at the base of the route for Keith to feel the need to strip off down to his boxers as he was so hot! Haha. Off came his powerstretch baselayer bottoms, much to the enjoyment of the two french lads behind us. As much as he would like me to I’m not going to post the disturbing photo!
|base of route|
Once that faff was over and done with, and I sunbathed for a while, we headed up the start of the route. Moved together for the majority of the way but Keith led the ‘crux’ pitch.
|starting snow slopes|
|further along the route|
|Keith at the top of horrid abseil number one|
|abseil in progress|
The abseils were interesting for the second person as they were quite traversey. Keith although unlucky for having to go first was lucky enough to get to clip a bolt on the wall just before the big traverse to keep him semi steady. I on the otherhand had to remove the clip and was left off balance on a knife edge drop. Immediately after the first ab we had the second. This consisted of an off camber granite chimney system, not so pleasant.
More photos of the route:
|more snow slope, more pretty views|
|part of the route|
|Keith leading the crux pitch|
At the top of the crux we had a look at the time and it was 4.40pm (last lift down is at 5.30pm)! Having decided at the start of the route we were going to climb nice and slow, stand around and enjoy the views, we didn’t quite intend on being anywhere near this slow! So we had to climb the final section of the route super fast, I was just throwing myself at holds and axe placements, for once not even thinking about the exposure or fear of falling off! We made it to the ladder up to the station at 5.20pm, with one of the lift staff hurrying us along. The ladder climbing made us feel rather sick, literally a metal ladder up to the terrace with a drop on either side, lovely!
|Aiguille du Midi|
23rd May 2012 – Voie Caline, a big boots route with nice views
Yesterday, as the weather had been stormy the night before, we decided to let the snow settle and climb a route up the valley to near enough Montenevers. This consisted of 19 pitches of bolted rock with some awesome views of the Chamonix valley. The route was very seepy in places, but a nice day out all the same.
Here are a few photos:
|pitch 5 or 6|
|one of the top pitches|
|Keith approaching my belay at the top of pitch 18|
|touristy photo on the way back to the bus stop|
Tomorrow is a rest day as our feet cannot take any more walking, nor can we deal with any more early starts!
Janey and Keith