In search of acclimatisation and fitness, Peter and I went up the Grand Montets today hoping to get a couple of routes done. We started off by soloing up and back down the NW ridge on the Petite Verte, and then retired for coffee to consider our options.
Conditions were extremely snowy, and it felt very wintery. That said, we knew that were some single pitch rocks just below the Col des Montets so we wandered off down the Argentiere Glacier to look for them. We didn't find them but did notice the very pleasant looking ridge leading back up to the cable car station, and so opted to climb that. We had no idea about the difficulty but it looked reasonable, and so it proved. The bottom section was a bit loose, but after that there was some really enjoyable scrambling and snow plodding. The one fault with the ridge was that it was escapable pretty much the whole way, but that is a pretty small quibble. To find the route you just walk as if going to the Argentiere Hut and the ridge is on the left - a hidden gem!
It looks like the weather may finally be improving, but in the meantime here are some shots from the day to show the current conditions up high.
A peaceful day in the mountains! The Petite Verte is always pretty busy, but today was something else.
Dru north face
A Guide hard at work with the Aiguilles de Chardonnay & Argentiere behind.
Peter making the most of a quiet spell to nip down the crux of the NW ridge
Me leading on the second route of the day
Looking down the ridge we climbed, from the cable car station.