Thursday, June 23, 2022

Mini Italian trip.

Reuben on final pitch of Athena.

 I had four very interesting days climbing  with Reuben Berg.  Three of them in Italy and our first day in Chamonix.

On our first day we took the cable car from La Flegere and walked over to climb a route called Athena.  Despite it being a Sunday and not a cloud in the sky, we were the only people on the crag. Why ? It was impossible to say, but we weren't complaining. The only thing we did complain about was the heat.  The alps is experiencing another unwelcome "canicule."

On the Monday we headed off on our mini Italian trip, driving through Switzerland and over col de Gd St Bernard and climbing on a crag called the "Petit Cervin" [Little Matterhorn]. We climbed the route" La Charlie". The first ascent was made by the brilliant Chamonix climber Terry Renault and Raymond Gay - a monk at the Monastery.  It is a wonderful 8 pitch climb in an equally wonderful setting.  The only downside was the noise from the wankers who ride their obnoxiously noisy motor bikes up and down the road.

Le Petit Cervin.

After climbing stayed in the Hotel Albergo Italia which is situated at the Col du Gd St Bernard just over the border.  It is an incredible hotel.  It also has the advantage of being at 2470 meters which makes it a good place to acclimatise.

Hotel Albergo Italia

After an excellent breakfast 

beautifully presented breakfast.

We had a leisurely drive down in the direction of  Aosta  before turning off the road and heading up Vallpelline valley towards the village of Dzovennoz. From here the plan was to head up to the Refugio  Crete Seche.  

We were given dispensation to drive up the track which cut a good hour and half off the walk which was a relief in the oppresive heat.

Refugio Crete Seche

The Refugio Crete Seche is wonderfully positioned, with a delightfully welcoming guardian.  We were the only guests. 

Breakfast was at 5.00hrs and we were away at 6.00hrs. There was no need for head torches because we were setting out on mid summers day.  Our goal was the traverse of the Crete Seche ridge which runs directly along the Swiss /Italian border.

These Ibex were only signs of life we saw all day 

We walked up the long wild valley until we arrived at the col de Crete Seche.  This took an hour and a half.  We stopped to eat and put the rope on before setting off up the ridge.  There were a few spots of rain and some ominous black clouds, but we judged we would be okay.  We arrived on the summit of the Dent d'Oyace an hour and a half later, still dry.

Reuben on the arete.

A further picnic stop and a drink  it was then  back down to the Refugio, a quick Cappuccino,  down to the car and a return to Chamonix via the Mt Blanc tunnel.

1 comment:

Alan Kimber said...

Sounds like a good plan. Keeping away from the crowds and avoiding piles of glacial choss tumbling down. Have you fitted a silencer on that little yellow car?