Sometimes the weather really isn’t that helpful. After a promising start to our early June Mont Blanc week the weather across Europe went a little “biblical” with thunderstorms and some serious precipitation.

The decision to head elsewhere rather than our planned Mont Blanc was taken. And the result was ice climbing, rock routes, via ferrata and some stormy ascents and attempts on some small ridges near the lifts. Pretty wild weather and quite the adventure at times.

After some initial disappointment on not trying our plan A / everyone could soon see how bad the weather was. Much easier than when the weather is iffy and we play it cautious. Quite often other teams continue to attempt a summit and succeed, when we have turned around. Who was right? It doesn’t matter really, better to play it cautious and return to climb another day.

There was a time early in my alpine career when I’d turned around on more routes than I’d completed. Probably a direct result of climbing difficult (for me) routes, as well as making all the mistakes common to new alpinists. But these are the trips where you learn the most. And for the first time alpinists we often have climbing with us it’s a valuable lesson too. The summits are not guaranteed no matter how much money, time or training you have put into the trip.

Anyway, despite the weather we had a great week climbing a real variety of routes and styles around the Chamonix valley. They’ll be back for the big white one again for sure.

A rare break in the weather, with the Marbrees in the background.

Practicing down climbing on steeper snow.

Descending from the Aiguille du Midi in the cloud.

Descending the Aiguille Entreves.

Approaching the Aiguille Toule

Travering the Aiguille Toule, Dent du Geant in the background.

Climbing the arete Lawrence in the storm.

Big boot climbing at Les Gaillands

The exposed Via Ferrata in Le Fayet, a short drive from Chamonix.


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Sometimes it’s good to go and have a look. And then run away to the cafe.

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