More POLENTA ??????????? NO !!!! thanks, but I’ll have another piece of cake.

This week folks I have mostly been working in Arolla Switzerland, where we had a very special guest appearance of the one and only, yes folks Dolly’s best mate Mr Kenny Rogers, oh how we dance along to all his greatest hits, I did find however line dancing to be very tricky with me crampons on. 

Anyway enough of this frivolity, so let’s watch out for Wiggins and the brasso and see what we’ve been up to.


 

Sunday: Got the motor running and headed out on the highway to a not so sunny down town Arolla. I met Paul and dive leader Sarah at the Hotel Glacier, Paul was with me last year for the same trip and luuuurved  it soooooooooo much he just had to do a return visit……….the walk to the Dix hut wasn’t too bad, and we managed to stay dry and the clouds cleared and all was well with the world. Up to the Pas de Chevre, down the ladders and a quick 30 mins (ye right, guide book time) to the hut. All quite snowy and white up there, seems more than over in Cham valley.


Monday: Busy start to the day, every man and his dog heading for la Luette. It was in great condition, good snow cover and firm under foot. A team from ISM were on the right hand ridge; it’s good for skills but quite loose in places, so be careful. You can also access the left hand side ridge and make the ascent to the summit a bit more interesting. We got to just below the summit, when our dive leader Sarah wasn’t feeling too good, so we decided it was better to head back to the hut.

 

Tuesday: Sarah took the opportunity to be a lady of leisure today, so Paul and I headed for the Winter route on Mont Blanc de Chielon, it’s the route you take if you’re doing it on skis. You still head up to the Col de Chielon then keep going and heading up left; it’s an obvious corridor that leads up to the winter summit, today we had it ourselves. It was great - very atmospheric, very windy and cold. We did the final short scramble to the top where we could see other teams arriving at the summer summit in really wild windy conditions. There were some stunning lenticular clouds over most of the peaks, glimpses of the Matterhorn and The Blanc in far distances. Descent back to the hut was down the same way, which we made in good time.

Wednesday was spent in the sun, tying ourselves up and dealing with slippery witches, not an easy thing to do….and the odd French and Classic prussic thrown in for good measure.

The team soon got the hang of things and were doing both assisted and un-assisted crevasse rescue. We returned to the Dix hut for our final night. Over the past few days, folks had been doing the traverse of the Pigne, the A.D. route on the Chielon was done by Ewen Todd, said in good conditions, crampons all the way.

 

Thursday: We said our goodbyes to the Dix Hut and headed for the valley, clouds were building all the way. We stopped part way down, for one final sesh of crevasse rescue and then there we were, back in Arolla. It’s always a bit strange getting back down when you’ve been in the mountains for a few days, the team were chomping at the bit for clean clothes and a shower, so being the generous sort of guy I am, I let them go for it.

Friday was a real non-starter, Stevie Ray Vaughn sprang to mind, “couldn’t stand the weather” so we didn’t get up to much.

So there ends another week in the mountain, and another week closer to seeing my good lady Jo. Would like to say thanks to Paul and Dive Leader Sarah for their company this week. Keep those skills fresh and get out there and do it.

Here is a list of stuff that’s been done over the past few days:

17th July Aig Du Chardonnet Aureille Feutren, sounds at the moment to be in great condition, gear hard to find - you have to dig about, usual descent for the peak.

18th July Cordier Pillar, Grand Charmoz, great route, get on it. It’s long though, and so be quick, watch out for stone/rock fall on Nantillions glacier

18th July Midi Plan Trav, Good track good condition, not much ice just quality snow, return the same way.

We are expecting a bit of storm action in Cham over the next day or so, then clearing up and getting good again. I’m working on a Cham Intro for Adventure Peaks next week, so will get back at ya at the end of next week.