Monday, August 29, 2016

40th Birthday celebration traverse of the Vallee Blanche.

In 2015 Ben Noakes and his wife Becca visited the Chamonix valley and went up the Aguille du Midi. It was at the top that Ben became determined that he wanted to cross the Vallee Blanche with his friends as part of a week long birthday party for a group of eight to ten people Ben contacted me and asked me if I could organise such a trip. I immediately said No.

I did however say that if the group reduced its size to six or less and we had a day of preparation then it might work. This is what happened.

So Ben Becca Karen and Mark and I took the Grands Montets cable car to the top and the team ventured onto the glacier. This was their first experince of wearing crampons carrying ice axes etc etc. We spent the morning learning the basics and gaining confidence. In the afternoon we descended onto the glacier des Rognons before climbing to the summit of Les Aiguille Grands Montets 3400meters.

Everyone was buoyed with confidence but there was the inevitable nerves as we walked out onto the arete du Aiguille du Midi the next morning.

Everyone was delighted to have conquered the descent of the ridge. The issue was the weather was looking far from perfect on the Italian side where there was huge cloud building and we weren't sure the "Eggs" would be working for the return journey. It was not an easy decision to make. Clearly it was left to me to make the call. Fortunatly I have a friend who works for the Aiguille du Midi and was able to get real time information on the weather and so I decided to go for it.

We enjoyed a memorable traverse through some jaw dropping glacial terrain.

No comments: