Monday, October 16, 2006

North Face Eiger Storms

Charles Sherwood and I went round to the North Face of the Eiger with a perfect five day forecast.
We set off in good conditions and climbed really quickly. But as we got to the top of "The Difficult Crack" it started to snow. The weather came from nowhere.Thinking it was just a passing shower We pushed on and then it just dumped and dumped snow as if someone was emptying bags of flower over our heads.
We had really sketchy climbing to get to the Hinterstoisser Traverse where we just got hit by monster spindrift avalanches.We managed to get to the Swallows Nest bivy which is sheltered from above and slept the night there.During the night the weather cleared and the helicopter came in and took two groups off who were below and who were caught in "no-mans land" and had fallen off.
The helicopter reluctantly offered to pick us off at about 10.00pm and they were relieved when we said we were okay and intended to carry on in the morning. However when morning came it was clear that we were not going up.Going back looked like a Guides worse nightmare so we got a REGA helicopter to pull us off at about 9.00am.Sunday morning.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Perfect October climbing conditions

We now have perfect anticyclonic autumn weather with beautiful clear and warm days. Yesterday Mike Woolford Stephen Yates , Steve Trantum and I climbed Point Lachenal 3613m. To day we drove upto to the barrage du Emosson from where we climbed the imposing Aiguille du Van 2572m.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Introduction to Alpine Mountaineering

Roger Brookes and Martyn Read came to Chamonix with the aim of getting to grips with Alpine climbing. On our first day went to the Mer de Glace where we spent the day learning everything there is to know about ice axes and crampons What to do with them and what NOT to do with them. We finished the day climbing vertical ice out of a crevasse.
Next day we went through the Mt Blanc Tunnel to Italy and up the Helbronner cable car. From there we traversed the Aiguille du Marbrees 3389m in perfect super clear autumn weather.
On our third day we climbed one of the most spectacular routes in Chamonix the Cosmiques Spur. The climb finishes by climbing over the railings onto the viewing platform at the top of the Aiguille du Midi 3842m.
Our final day was frustrated by a change in the weather which meant we couldn't climb Mt Blanc du Tacul4248m. Instead we did one of my favorite routes the very long Via Cordia, a 600m multi pitch rock climb. Some how we completed it without getting wet. Just as we got back to the Land Rover the heavens opened.