Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Donkey Has Eaten My Underpants

Well the news was not good as the Hut Guardian broke the news at Dinner. Needless to say he couldn't keep a straight face. [The underpants had been washed and hung out to dry but not out of reach of said donkey.]
Peter Little and I had discovered a gem of a Mountain Hut the Crete Seche which has some spectacular very long rock climbs on very good grannit. We climbed the classic Brontolo-Bakalov which leads to the summit of Punta Charrey.

For the second half of the week we switched our attention to snow and big secluded 4000er's. We choose to target the Dirruhorn. We drove over to St Nicolas near Zermatt and walked to up the beautiful Bordier Hutte in about 4 hours.

Breakfast the next morning was at the grim time of 2.30am. Peter and I headed off up the moraine eventually reaching the glacier in about an hour. We then headed up the left side of the glacier avoiding some very big holes. After about three hours we arrived at the couloir which leads up to the Dirrujoch. This was steep and unfortuanetly the sun was now beaming down on us and loosening rocks which started coming down the couloir. We tried climbing the rocks at the side , but this was very slow. Being slow is not a luxury you can afford while alpine climbing and mindful that the glacier would be a soggy nightmare if we were too late, we reluctantly decided to retreat. A shame not to make the summit but still a wonderful wild place and we vowed to return.

Mt Blanc? Not this time

I met up with Gareth Peaple and we decided to try and defy the forecast by heading up to the Tete Rousse Hut. The next day we moved up to the Gouter Hut because the weather forecast improved slightly. Other groups arrived too hoping the weather forecast would be okay. Although you can see the wind blowing the clouds in the photo
Breakfast at 2.00 am and everyone set off and we plodded up in indifferent weather. We made it to the summit of the Dome de Gouter 4200 meters but once there I decided it was hopeless cause. We decided to turn round . As we did everyone else turned round too.
Gareth was pretty positive about the experience and vowed to be back!

Marc Le Guide

Met up with Marc Le Guide translator Christophe Jaquet and climbed the spectacular Poeme a Lou high up on the Brevent. It was made even better by beating the rain.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Calm before the storm

I'm not talking about the weather but the calm before the French school holidays when the whole world descends on Chamonix.
Francis Bridgeman started our week together on the normally packed Index high above Les Praz. We had the place to ourselves coupled with wonderful weather.
The next day we visited the Mer de Glace for some preparatory work with the Ice axe and crampons.
After that we drove through the Mt Blanc tunnel and climbed the wonderfully secluded Aiguille du Toule.
We then traversed the aiguille du Crochue again it was wonderfully quiet.
On our final day we had a bit of a contrast in terms of seclusion. We climbed the Petite Aiguille Verte , which was in fantastic condition , but was ridiculously busy, with lots of potential work for the Mountain Rescue.