Thursday, 2 August 2018

Bettemberg de droite TD-5c and electric glacial retreat

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'.