Saturday, 16 July 2011

Lux, Aiguille Crochues

I've been back in Cham for 5 days now, and Meteo France have been doing their best to scupper any climbing plans. It all started on Thursday when a sunny afternoon was forecast, followed by a good day on Friday, so we optimistically headed up to bivi by the Nantillons Glacier in preparation to do the Charmoz/Grepon traverse. The route is primarily west facing so should have dried in the afternoon sun. 

The problem was that the sun never arrived, and we got to the bivi site in heavy, damp mist. Finding everything wet and with no sign of the sun we opted to have a bite to eat and then walk down to Cham. Needless to say that after 2.5 hours of knee crunching descent, the weatherman wasn't exactly flavour of the month.

"Fast and Light" is Matt's religion - only the lightest food is considered for bivis.

On Friday we ended up going for the safe option of a route in the Aiguille Rouges and went for "Lux" (6b, TD, 200m) on the Aiguille Crochues. As ever in the Rouges it was scenic, well bolted, great climbing and generally stress free. Makes me wonder why I bother with the other side of the Valley. 

"Lux" is a good route, and massively overgraded, so a good one for the confidence. We didn't think that there was anything harder than 6a, and the "crux" pitch was about 5+. Good route though, and a good option for a half day, we did it in about 4 hours return from the chairlift and that included plenty of stops.

Jerome at the top of Lux.

Meteo France again excelled themselves today (Saturday) by predicting 60% sunshine, when it was in fact sunny all day until 5pm. I only had a half day though so Vicks and I nipped up the Midi and wandered across to the Cosmiques hut to check out conditions high up. The Tacul area looked busy as ever, but there was a surprising amount of snow on the Tacul triangle, and on the East face of the mountain. With more snow forecast I think the big rock routes will need a few sunny days before they are completely dry again. The Gervasutti Pillar etc. all looked whiter than I would expect, as did the Grand Jorasses, so when the weather clears I think lower altitude routes will be the way to go for at least a few days.

At least 2 bad days now forecast but with the form the weatherman is on right now, it will probably be wall to wall blue sky!

Quick snack stop at the Cosmiques hut - another tough day in the mountains.

The Tacul looking moody as the weather turns.