Saturday, July 27, 2013

Perfect Conditions for an ascent of Mt Blanc via the Cosmiques

Its never great when you go to bed and then have to get up the same day. We were in our beds at 8.30 pm then up at 12.50pm, breakfast at 1.00am and away from the Cosmiques at 1.40am.
The reason for the super early start was that it was the freezing level was due to rise to 4500m and traveling at night is the safest option. Plus there was virtually a full moon.

The clients were super psyched and had gambled that traveling all the way from Austin, Texas just to climb Mt Blanc would be worth it. Brian Roark was on my rope and his very good friend David O Chambers was on the rope of Hannah Burrows Smith, the other Guide I had asked to join us.

Brian and reached the top in a fast time of 5 and half hours, the other two were about 40 mins behind us. The track and conditions were perfect. The only issue was the summit of Mt Blanc was in cloud, and so the summit shots were a little under whelming . Yet a couple of hundred meters below I got this fantastic sunrise.

We choose to go the same way back and again due to perfect conditions we were back at he Aiguille du Midi at 11.30am.

Which just goes to show the saying " You never regret getting up early" is true.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stand Out climb of the season so far..

Peter Little turned up for a weeks climbing. Peter, having climbed everything in the Alps that its practically possible to climb is always looking for the thinking climbers climb . With this in mind we headed of to climb the classic ridge the Arrete de Saille on the Grand Muveran , high above the Rhone just before Sion.

We walked up to the Cabanne Rambert from the top chair lift of Ovronnaz. The hut isn't great primarily because it is run for the sole convenience of the Hut Guardian and not the customers. For example he insisted in cramming everyone in the same dormitory where it was hot and stuffy and I was very pleased when it was time to get going in the morning.

The climb its self is truly fantastic . It consist of 7 pitches of spectacular climbing in a stunning setting , with the added bonus of seeing no one all day. However when the climb was over , there was a very very long ridge to reach the summit, which quite frankly could have done with being shorter.

The reason we had headed off for such a big route without warming up on some easier routes was because the forecast for the week had been indifferent for later in the week. Although the actual weather was never that poor , the forecast had always been bad and so we couldn't plan for another big route. We therefore did a lot of different rock climbing the second standout route of the week being "Missing a Meter" at the Col de la Colombiere.

World Record

I don't normally write about our family holidays unless there is a mountain related incident or event. We had a trip to Zip World - The longest zip wire in Europe high above Bethesda,North Wales. There are two zip wires , a warm up one and the full mile long one , which we were told you can hit speeds of 100mph.

The whole family went on the zip wire including Grandpa Seaton. We therefore held the record for the youngest and oldest people to travel down the zip wire. Sophie is 7 years old and Grandpa is 83 years old. Sophie was too light to go on her own [ there was the issue of not having enough momentum to reach the end] The solution was to strap Mum and Sophie together and for them to go down in Tandem