An action packed four days with Aoife, Tom and Dave, along with James guiding as well. It felt like we climbed a pretty chunky route everyday, and some proper classics too.
We’ve been extremely lucky with the weather, with long hot days and no sign of the normal afternoon thunderstorms that typify an alpine summer. We made full use of the stable weather, and climbed long routes from the first lifts of the day rather than stay overnight in huts.
The Papillons ridge was a long day to start the week off, but what a route! I last climbed it in 2003, and it was even better than I remembered, with superb granite cracks, slabs and steep grooves pitch after pitch.
Our “shorter” day on the Petit Verte integral still felt like a lot of climbing, and it also got us breathing some thin air at altitude, ready for the next day. The integral is a nice extension to this popular ridge climb, and quiet as well.
The following morning we headed through the Mont Blanc tunnel nice and early to go and catch the first lift and head over to the Dent du Geant.
It was a very busy day on the route, with a couple of very slow groups ahead of us. Being a team, we didn’t want to split our group and so we took our time and chatted on the belay ledges along the route. It was fairly warm, and although the waiting was frustrating, we got to take a lot of photos and take in the views.
The four am breakfast after that long day was a little brutal, but it put us in front of the crowds for our final route, the East ridge of the Pyramid du Tacul. 250m of high quality granite crack climbing in the middle of the Valley Blanche, mostly in the Fr4a-5a range. The climbing was fun, never too hard and a great way to finish our trip.
Dave and I are off to the Eiger this morning, so we’ll update the blog again early next week.
Conditions remain very good out here in Chamonix, with plenty of people making full use of the weather and conditions. Although the north face type routes are running out of snow and ice, there’s still plenty of big routes getting climbed such as the Grand Montet ridge of the Aiguille Verte, the Kuffner ridge on Mont Maudit and the big routes on the Italian side of Mont Blanc such as the Freney Pillar.