Sunday, 4 November 2018
Stayed at Coetmor Bunkhouse Bethesda with Sam and Ollie. Sam opened the bullying agenda by soaping Ollie's toothbrush; being alone for 5 mins aroused insecurity over what the other 2 were up to with your equipment in your absence.
Day one had the best forecast so we headed straight to Gogarth and jumped on Lighthouse Arête, followed by Sam leading Stairs on Holyhead Mountain.
Friday, 17 August 2018
Got the telecabine to the top of the Brevent and did 2 routes near the col but was too busy/noisy/misty/cold - Jenny led Le quatrième tiers 5a and I led Rève de cornichon 5c.
Headed down the jeep track and did La tartiflette D+5c, Jenny leading the first 5a pitch (a bit sparse).
Wild camped in same spot as last time but couldn't get water. Jenny went an hour down a ravine to no avail and I found no feed for the chamois' wallow. Luckily 2 guys possibly up to no good appeared further down the track in a 4x4 and after I chased them for a few yards seemed pleased to give me a new 1.5l bottle of evian.
Next day did La Raclette TD-6b (the 5c/A0 crux goes at 6b free).
All in all 2 fun routes among bilberries, pine trees, caterpillars and ants.
Had plâte du jour at Hotel Le Buet which was comfortingly exactly like a refuge dinner.
Sunday, 12 August 2018
Montenvers train up to Mer de Glace then 4 1/2 hours up 2 glaciers and ladder systems to Refuge Couvercle (smack in the heart of the massif).
Up at 05:00 for a 13hr day from the hut. Small glacier approach and bergschrund then 8 'pitches'.
Leisurely descent back to Montenvers after another night in the hut.
Words and pics insufficient.
..but for the record:
1. Mer de Glace approach
2. Dent du Requin to Aiguille du Grépon
7. North Face of The Grandes Jorasses, Dent du Géant, Mt Blanc
8. Jenny vs bergschrund
9. 10 mins from dinner after 4 hrs of down climbing and multiple abseils from the summit
14. Sussing crossing of river in middle of Mer de Glace
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
Made this up using the map and didn't know if full circuit would work as middle section had no paths marked on map. Route seemed popular with runners.
From campsite up through Les Granges (buying it) and Val de Tré les Eaux (exercising caution on snow-bridges over water courses) to camp at 2600m on Col de la Terrasse in a thunder storm. Saw a Bearded Vulture. Water bed puddle under the tent made for a damp night.
Traversed under Pointe a Corbeaux with views down Lac du Vieux Émosson to climb le Cheval Blanc from Col du Vieux.
Traversed crumbling Crête de la Montagne des Eves and equally crumbling and chained Arête du Buet to Mt Buet summit. Then down to Refuge Pierre à Bérard for coffee and soup.
Then walked down the river to restaurant for Raclette - massive chunk of cheese grilling itself (and us) on a metal thing full of charcoal; and a plate of meats - 'do you like to see the desert menu?' - 'nope, get us a doggy bag.'
Saturday, 4 August 2018
Robin Wood TD6a; after searching for Jenny's phone that took a dive off the chairlift she led the first pitch at 5a.
Then played badminton with the French kids, very funny - 'un, deux, trois, zut,' and 'premier, deuxième, troisième - à madame.' (Little one trying to serve, older one - three goes now give it to the lady). Nice chats with Bertrand and Julie.
Sport crag 10 mins walk from campsite.
Le Plantigrade magnésophage 5c and Jenny led Retour aux ours 4c.
Oh and you get free tickets for that train and the bus for the duration of your stay when you book onto any campsite in the Chamonix valley.
Peeled 456 pages of wet climbing guide apart.
Washed the glacier grit out of the ropes.
Shopped to replace krab, hms & reverso that went the distance yesterday (imagine a view like that waiting for the train).
Went for a meal & thanked lady that gave us a lift.
Thursday, 2 August 2018
Petite dejeuner at 06:00 for another day on immaculate granite.
115m of sustained 5c sport, with a 40m 4a breather (trad with bolt belays and the odd peg or bolt). Jenny called time as I started pitch 5 because:
a) I was now a bit spanked
b) the thunder had started (sounds different to the constant volley of couloir debris from the withering hanging glaciers) so forecast storm was imminent
c) we had 3 raps to get off, me on an Italian as my belay plate and 2 krabs had descended without me (Jenny had retrieved them the first time)
1st ab returned us to the belay of pain, semi-hanging in a chimney where Jenny claims to have shivered and shifted for 2 hrs whilst I yo-yoed the cracks recycling cams.
Jenny's fear that our shit line of descent risked ropes jamming in the cracks when pulled (best exit was down yesterday's slabs), was unfounded as we (I) didn't jam them until the final length; necessitating a 60m prussik pour moi.
The 4hr (1600m) descent via crevassed dry-glacier, iron ladders in a thunderstorm (4 seconds flash-lightning) and 700m (height) of toe-stubbingly steep dirt-track certainly developed Jenny's sense of humour; the choice to ride the telepherique removed by the last one having departed 3 hours earlier. Oh yeah and we missed last train to Le Buet by approximately the time taken to prussik 60m.
So 2 wet rats were very grateful when the lady in the bar in Argentière drove us back to the campsite, as apparently the taxi would be 'astronomique'.