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Month: June 2016

Matterhorn training – and summer has arrived at last

I’ve just had a good couple of days climbing with Sarah, who’s back in a months time for a Matterhorn trip. We climbed up and around the Aiguille du Midi for a day, ticking off three good classics – The traverse of pointe Lachenel, the arete Laurent leading to the Cosmiques hut (coffee stop) and finally up the Cosmiques arete to a very busy lift station, where it took us an hour and a half to get back down, due to the number of tourists up there at the moment. Yesterday it was pretty stormy, and we just about...

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Arcteryx Alpine Academy 2016

For the second year in a row I worked on the Arcteryx Alpine Academy here in Chamonix. It’s a great event and involves many guides including a strong contingent of British Mountain Guides. So it turns into a good mini guides social too! I did two days this year, starting off with “Advanced Technical Alpinism” where we headed up to the Aiguille du Midi and climbed and practiced various alpine techniques such as short roping, short pitching and moving together. We were followed around the hill by an Arcteryx photographer, and so now I have some good photos of...

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Epic early summer snow levels – Chamonix climbing conditions report

Summer hasn’t quite arrived in the Western Alps quite yet, but as I write this the weather forecast is changing and it does look like it will warm up next week. Here in Chamonix we have truly epic summer levels of snow, it’s been another stormy week and the mountains have been getting plastered once again. At the Gouter refuge on Mont Blanc they had a meter of fresh snow, burying the ropes from the refuge to the start of the ridge, which are normally waist high! Heavy snow fall combined with wind has seen some snow accumulating and...

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Chamonix climbing conditions report – mixed weather

Super unstable weather here still. We’ve had a few days of rain in the valley and slow on the high mountains, probably around 15-25cm of new snow at 3000m. Needless to say that the higher peaks haven’t been getting climbed much in the last few days. Easily accessible routes from the lifts are OK, and people have been trail breaking and climbing routes like the Cosmiques Arete from the Aiguille du Midi, the Tour Ronde normal route and the Marbraees from the Helbronner lift. The lifts are now (mostly) open in Chamonix, so getting to the Aiguille Rouge is...

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The first Mont Blanc of the season – conditions update

We have had some unstable weather out here in the alps over the past few days, with some big clouds brewing in the afternoon with potential thunderstorms over the mountains. I was a bit apprehensive about the amount of snow that might be on Mont Blanc, mainly worried about the amount of trail breaking I might have to do to get to the summit. It turned out to be some of the best conditions that I’ve climbed the mountain in! The snow was covering almost everything, and was solid enough to avoid much of the scrambling on the Gouter...

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