Friday, 10 February 2012

Cascade de Bellevue

With it getting tough to find good and safe skiing, we decided today to cave in and see what this ice climbing lark is all about. The original plan was the Col des Montets but when we arrived there wasn’t any ice so after some deliberation we decided to head down to Les Houches and do the Cascade de Bellevue. I’d done the route years ago but with it already being early afternoon (you can’t rush breakfast when going ice climbing) we were short of alternatives and so headed off.

Although “only” WI3, the route rarely forms, and can be quite sporting unless it is really well frozen. As it turned out the first pitch was pretty solid, and the second pitch looked to be similar but turned out to be hollow, insecure and a good reminder of why winter is for skiing. Still, the route is in a stunning, peaceful little gorge (“Une ambiance tranquile” as the guidebook puts it) and in good nick is a really fun climb, but I think it’s probably best left until next winter given current conditions.

I’m back in Marrakech now and will be here for 2 weeks, so no blogging for me a fortnight or so. Spring is always my favourite time of year in Cham though so when I get back this blog will hopefully be full of tales of epic spring skiing, the odd alpine route, early season BBQs, and maybe even some rock climbing. Bring it on.

Looking up at the 2nd pitch.

With water running just under the surface of the ice on the direct finish I scurried out right. Nez is seen here carrying on straight up and maybe living to regret it (?)