Well folks this is my 3rd or 4th attempt at this today. I’ve tried to come up with witty and banter full quips but seem to be lacking in that department at the moment. The valley seems a sad and sombre place at the moment, for all the obvious reasons. There is a church service at 2pm in Chamonix to remember the people, friends, fellow human beings lost on Maudit. Keep them, and all their family and friends in your thoughts, even if it’s for just a second or two.

 

Right then lets rock and roll, this week I have mainly been working on a Chamonix Intro course for Adventure Peaks with father and son team Shane and Niall, we had, despite a bit of mixed weather and the incident, a great week. Here’s how it went

  Sunday: Well for those of you used to my blog, you will understand this, We had a bit of Marti Pellow action early on, no sign of Eric Morecambe…. this did thankfully stop and the day got its finger out and brightened up. It’s the usual stroll up to the Albert Prem hut, which STILL has yet to be renovated, even though they say every year it will be. I cant hold my breath for that long. Getting dryer up there, with more of the bivi spots clearing out,and the glacier starting to get grey and dirty and also dryer i.e. not so much a wet glacier. We had a good sesh of tying on, crampon work and walking around as a team of three, this was made all the more easier by the fact they had been on a winter skills type course, with Adventure Peaks.

 

Monday: We headed out into the wild blue yonder, cold and windy day, quite hard underfoot on the trail but awful if you stepped too far off it. We chatted about route choice at various point along the way to Tete Blanche, and watched a couple of team progress on the Chardonnet, Arete Forbes and also Migot Route, both of which looked in great condition. We topped out, had a look down the North face which looked in awful condition, then headed  back down and round to the Col Sup du Tour, good track up there and, as per, super windy as you scramble through the rocks at the col. The team then headed over to the Trient Hut, passing North face of Tete Blanche which can be a great little snow/ice climb, but not today or for the rest of the season, same went for Col Copt, lots of debris at the bottom of it, so don’t do what a couple of folks did and think its going to look like it does in the guide book, do your research, phone the huts and ask em what it’s like out there. Got to below the hut and went into the dark art of taking coils and crevasse rescue, have to say the guys did a great job.

Tuesday: Up and at em and across to Aig Tour along with the masses, as per busy day on the peak, quite hoar frosted, some folks were doing crampons all the way to top, some not, we went part way. We got to the summit in cloud and wind, but for a brief moment it cleared away, got the summit shot, and Shane lead the way down, both of the guys doing a sterling job at protecting the team with the rope on the descent. We then got back down to a sunny and warm valley later in the day.

Wednesday: My fave and old faithful, Traverse of the Crochues, no snow until the last few metres to the col itself, we had ice axe and cramps, but more for the descent. Not too many people on it, I know a few sneaky ways round, so we made the summit and then got the boys to get out in front themselves for the rest of the ridge and right down to the final snow section on the descent. Great job, lots of communication and thinking. The descent down to Lac Blanc is fast with all the snow up there, your choice if you use cramps for upper part………..

Thursday: Up to Aig Midi, I was thinking of going up the day before, but changed my mind. We were going to do M.B. du Tacul as the forecast for Friday was a shocker. We did a very very icy Point Lachenal, placing ice screws for both the up and down.

Then headed back to Cozzy Hut and used the wind scoop below the hut for more crevasse rescue. The hut that night was…….well you all know the score, many many phone calls and txt messages were being exchanged. THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL FOR YOUR CONCERN.

Friday we bailed early as the weather was a shocker; viz was about 20- 30 metres,very high winds and light snow showers, so an interesting journey back up to the Midi, we didn’t think we were going to get down for a while but after a few non-starts they finally said this is it go go go. We then spent the rest of the day along with many others at the Gaillands honing the skills to the nth degree.

I’d like to thank both Shane and Niall for there company this week and their understanding at the latter part of the week. Thank you both.

Routes that have been done,

12th July this is a beauty….Schmit Route on the North face of Matterhorn. Bit thin, cramps all the way.

12th July Wiessmies Arête North, great condition, and a great route,did it on guides assessment.

10th July Chardonnet both Forbes and Migot routes, and reports suggest good conditions.

9th July Traverse of the Courtes reports says excellent condition

Bear in mind these conditions can change and it’s just rained for past 12 hr overnight here in Cham valley; lower rocks on Frendo have light dusting, but will burn off; higher up though folks that snow has got to go somewhere, but very careful.

I’m off to Arolla, Switzerland, tomorrow for the week, so will get back to you all next weekend with many a tale……..thank you all very much, good night and thanks for the fish…….