Saturday, August 06, 2011

A good foundation of skills is the key to becoming a safe mountaineer

So this was the idea behind last week. 5 friends : Their organiser Katie Cranlegh Swash, Fern Adams, Chris White, Richard Lewis and Chris Doman decided to come to Chamonix and get to grips with the basic skills that would hopefully underpin anything they choose to attempt in the future.

We started above La Flegere with some snow climbing skills coupled with some lessons in case the snow climbing didn't work as planned - Ice axe arrest. We finished the day with an ascent of the Aiguille de Glieres.

The next day we went to the Mer de Glace where we learnt the key skills of proper crampon technique and finished up with some steep ice climbing by climbing out of a crevasse.

On our 3rd day we put what we learnt into practise by traversing the Valley Blanche and negociated some daunting crevasses and spectacular snow bidges.

On Our fourth day we were hit by bad weather and had to retreat to the valley where we spent the day looking at rope techniques for crevasse rescue and alpine abseil techniques.

On our final day the weather came good again and we headed up the Grands Montets for a real live practice at crevasse rescue. We finished the day by climbing the Aguille des Grands Momtets and finished up its spectacular rocky ridge.

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