Saturday, July 02, 2016

How to become a very good mountaineer :Quickly.

Sacha Kamp and Brett Ansley turned up with the brief that they wanted to learn the key skills of mountaineering. They were both fit and strong but had no alpine mountaineering experience.

We started on the Mer de Glace in order to show them how to use an ice axe and crampons properly. The next day I showed them the principle of moving quickly and efficiently along an alpine ridge. We did the traverse of the Crochue high above La Flegere

On the Wednesday we drove through the Mt Blanc tunnel and took the Sky way lift [which we shared with a wedding party] and did the traverse of the Aiguille du Marbree.

Thursday the weather was indifferent and it was difficult to know what was the best choice of route. Fortunately there is just the route for the these sort of days : The South Ridge of Les Glieres. It is a great rocky scramble leading to the summit of Les Glieres just behind the famous Index climb at Flegere.

The weather forecast for our final day together was very good and I was keen to choose a route which would challenge Sacha and Brett and allow them to put all the skills they acquired into practice. I choose the traverse of the Entreves. So it was back through the Mt Blanc tunnel [no wedding party this time]. The Entreves is not for the faint hearted , there is a lot of exposure , even for seasoned mountaineers and its not with out its "moments." Neither Sacha nor Brett were phased by the climb. On the contrary they were so quick and efficient that from the start of the climb to the end of the difficulties took just one hour. I was amazed. Fast learners.

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