Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cabane Velan is the best Hut ever

Here is a photo of the Gd St Bernard Monastery taken form the summit of Mt Velan at 9.20 am

From the other direction we could see the mighty Grand Combin

This was the perfect start to the week. The whole Donovan family, Nicola, Jason, Lewis and Lloyd all walked up to the hut together where we had an exceptional BBQ cooked by the Guardian. Despite it being the busiest week of the summer in Chamonix, over in the Valais it was quiet and there was only one other family and a Verbier Guide.

The plan was for Lloyd and I to climb while the rest of the family were going to descend and visit the Gd St Bernard Monastery.
Delicious and Breakfast are not normally phases that go together in Mountain Huts but this was the exception. We were away by 4.45am with just the other Guide and his client. We choose to climb Mt Velan via the Arete Gouille, we had perfect conditions and a wonderful solitude. The aesthetics of the trip were as good as they can possibly get.

The rest of the Donovan family left Lloyd with me and they headed off to Zermatt. Having climbed Mt Blanc together last year I decided that Lloyd needed to get to grips with some "real" mountaineering and so I devised a four day plan to show him what Chamonix had to offer , while avoiding the crowds. The best place to achieve this is the Aiguille Rouge and so we headed up to climb Asia on the Grande Floria high above La Flegere.

The next day we decided to attack the snow and ice with an ascent of the North Face of the petit Aiguille Verte which was in perfect condition steep snow that was like climbing polystyrene it was so grippy. This gave Lloyd a taste of what is involved in climbing the big famous route North face of the Alps.

Then it was back to the Aiguille Rouge for a traverse of one of its most famous rock climbs the Clocher Clochotons with its world famous tyrolean traverse.

It was then followed by some complicated rappels

Finally on the Saturday we chose the delightful climb Aiguille de la Charlanon: Éperon SSE de droite which was a wonderful place for Lloyd to recap on all he had learnt during the week where he was able to set up the rappels and deal with the rope work.

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