Thursday, 12 July 2012

Epic Alps trip ...


30 June 2012





This years Alps trip was a bit of a mixed bag with unsettled stormy weather across Europe. We arrived in hot sunny weather and raced up to the Midi station in the hope of getting a route done but had to contend with (due to cable car times) a quick walk on the Vallee Blanche. The weather report was spot on and it rained for 48 hrs leaving many teams stranded in high huts. We were lucky enough to beat a retreat to Annecy for coffee and cake.


Craig on the upper Vallee Blanche





With a short weather window we climbed the uber-classic Cosmic arête arriving on the midi viewing platform to the applause of the surprised Japanese tourists. Lots of pictures were taken and we felt like conquering hero's with one man telling his companions that we climbed Mont Blanc and another Everest. We spent the afternoon at the 'guides crag' climbing 3 pitch bolted routes, fantastic. 

Mark with the walk of death behind... its steeper than it looks ....
Midi Plan traverse stretching out in front of us
Low down on the Cosmic Arete




Rigging the abseil
Abseiling the Great tower






The difficult crack

The piton Sud


Looking across to Italy and the Dent du Geant



With high winds the following day the Midi cable car was closed so we headed up La Flégère-Index to climb la Chapelle de la Gliere on the Aiguilles Rouges. We managed 4 pitches before the rain and wind caught us up. We rethreaded a found peg with some 6mm cord, backed this up and Craig was lowered into the mist to see where it went. It went and we continued to abseil to the base and back to the valley for more cake and coffee.




Another bail...









The next day with an am weather window we decided to climb the Chevalier Couloir on Petite Aiguille Verte. The bergschrund was difficult and by the time we established ourselves on pitch one the sun was working its magic on the upper slopes and we were in the firing line for small stones and rocks whizzing past us like bullets. We bailed and headed for home. This was not without its dangers as the snow was now soft on the glacier ...





Chevalier Couloir

Argentiere glacier 


The CLAG in the Chamonix Valley was just above the tree’s for the remaining days so we contented ourselves checking out other climbing and biking venues in the Haute Savoie.





Good to meet Bill (simply Epic team mate) and Eileen in the happy bus on our last evening for dinner, beer and stories...





























1 comment:

  1. Sounds epic indeed. Lowering into the mist is very scary, rather you than me. I think for that couloir you need to make an Alpine start and be well established before sunrise. Still it could be worse after hearing the news of at least six dead and two missing on Mont Maudit this morning. Keep up the good work.

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