Saturday, 16 August 2014

Voie Caline & Voie Princesse

With sublime irony, the weather has finally cleared in Cham but only after a huge storm had plastered everything above 2500m with a thick covering of snow. As a result, options are limited but Tom and I weren't too bothered what we got up to today, as long as we got out and saw some sun.

In the end we decided to have a bit of a fitness day and do 2 of the long scrambly routes which go from Les Bois up to the Mottets Buvette, below Montenvers. With no idea how wet things were and only a vague idea of the difficulties involved, we opted to wear rockboots and carry a short rope in case anything looked tricky. As it turned out, the rope never came out of the bag meaning that I needlessly carried it up 2 routes and down 2 descent walks! To be fair to Tom, he did do his bit and carry the enourmous rack that we'd brought.

After a leisurely start (by the time we'd met up, had a nice hot lunch and a drink it was after 2pm before we even reached the parking area) we did the Voie Caline, walked back down and then did the Voie Princesse in what felt like good time, before walking down once more. Both routes had some good climbing, some scrubby, grassy bits and overall provided us with an excellent mileage day.

Tom low down on the Voie Caline, crossing a slab that was about 20 degrees but would have been pretty harrowing if the wet patches had been any wider...

Tom "Ueli Steck" Moores showing the French team below how it's done. Incredibly enough, we passed that team at the foot of the slabs on our first lap, finished the route, walked down, climbed the Voie Princesse and then saw them on the final section of our first route! To get lapped on a grade 3 scramble by 2 unfit Brits must be hard to stomach.

Just to finish, here's my attempt at capturing the beautiful evening light. The photo I got was so bad and covered in sun spots that I had to make it black and white to make it acceptable, but you get the idea.

The forecast is for 2 sunny days now and whilst I'll believe it when I see it, just having a break from the rain is amazing. Is summer getting underway? Stay tuned.