Monday, 6 June 2011

Aiguille de L'M, SE ridge

The weather has been continually unsettled here in Cham so the big challenge has been finding things worth doing whilst dodging the rain. At the weekend Peter and I decided to chance it and see if the traverse of the Escandies, high above Trient, was dry. A 4am start and an hours walk later we looked up and saw the route soaking wet, so we abandoned that idea and went for coffee.

5.45 am in Switzerland and already heading home.

This week I have had mates out from UK and the weather has continued to thwart our efforts at getting into the hills. Sunday was saved by having a crevasse rescue day on the Mer de Glace, which I like to do at least once a year to keep my hand in, and then today we decided to go and have a look at the Aiguille de L'M. The forecast was fairly inconclusive, so we hoped we could just avoid getting wet and bag the summit.

We had wanted to do the NE ridge, but when we finally got to the foot of the mountain we saw that everything looked pretty wet, so opted for the easier SE ridge. The access is simple enough, you just climb the couloir to the left of the NE ridge all the way to the Col Blanc, and then turn right. Route finding is ok, you just need to follow your nose and look for the weaknesses, and after about 100 metres of scrambling you find yourself on the pretty exposed summit of the M. Unfortunately we were in cloud by this stage so there was no view but it is, by all accounts, one of the best spots in the massif.

Heading up the snow towards the Col Blanc

Low on the SE ridge

From the top we abbed most of the way back down to the Col Blanc (on good in situ anchors), with brief bits of downclimbing, and then down the snow back to the foot of the NE ridge. From there it is a simple case of walking back to the Montenvers.

Despite the bad visibility it was really satisfying to actually get up something, and it was good to find out a bit more about the M - it is a perfect option for a short weather window or a slightly damp mountain day.