|The Iconic Arête de Rochfort.|
Peter Collins and `I have been climbing together for well over 20 years . Nowadays not so regularly as we did in the past, but when he turns up we generally manage to do something interesting and he leaves feeling "well climbed." This short trip was no exception.
His brief was he wanted to feel well challanged and climb something of significance. He invited a friend along too. Matt.
My suggestion was to firstly traverse the Aiguille Entreves, then stay the night in the Torino Refugio inorder to get an early start for the Aiguille de Rochfort.
We rode the Sky Way lift up to Pointe Helbronner and then traveresed the ridge in complete solitude and perfect weather.
|Matt & Pete on the narrow bit.|
After a night in the Torino we left at about 5.00am and headed up the glacier which gets progressively steeper at which point you have to transition to broken rocky ground. It is imperative that you can find the right route, which is not simple especially in the dark. The ground is made up of lots of loose blocks.
Eventually day light appeared revealing marvellous views of Mt Blanc behind us.
|Mt Blanc at sunrise.|
Now the thing about climbing the Aiguille de Rochfort is not the actual summit , but the knife edge, corniced ridge which proceeds it. Once you have negociated the ridge the summit is comparitively simple to conquer.
We found the ridge in good condition apart from a short icy section which I had to lower Pete and Matt down. Then on the way back we had to front point up bolier plate ice. Added to which it was cold and windy.
We arrived on the top at about 9.00hrs. Huddled behind a rock out of the wind and eat some food and took the obligatory photos.
|The summit of Aiguille de Rochfort looking towards Monte Rosa|
From there we elected to make 3 short rappels back to the arête. Rappelling is not always the best solution because it is significantly slower than down climbing , but in the conditions we found it was a better option. We then retraced our steps along the ridge before down climbing the broken ground and then back across the glacier to the Torino Refugio. A fabulous two days.