Sunday 7 March 2010

Another attempt at alpinism

Pure suffering. Taken shortly before my cheeks and nose turned white. Note frozen Bogie.
Hot aches on the VB!
Looking up at a very windy VB.
Why bother suffering when you can ski!?!?

With a forecast for sun on friday and Nick keen to climb, we got the Midi up hoping to do the uber classic Gabarrou Albinoni on the Tacul, but the weather had other ideas.

We headed across to the route along with a french guide who had the same plan as us and found it looking in perfect condition. However, it was clear even from a distance that getting to the main pitches would involve some major wading, and we didn't really fancy swimming to the route. Niether did the guide, who also decided not to bother, no doubt coming up with a decent excuse when his client asked for his reasons.

Undeterred we decided to try the Valeria gully on the Petit Capucin. However, having skinned up under some nasty looking seracs, we found ourselves at the foot of the route wearing 2 belay jackets each and shivering uncontrollably. The thought of standing still long enough to get the ropes out, let alone belay each other, made me wince, so we legged it. I've no idea how cold it was, suffice to say it felt a lot colder than the minus 40 I had in Nepal over Crimbo.

There are definitely routes in right now, so if the weather clears up it could be amazing. Also, my mate Damien reckons someone did the Shroud on the Jorasses recently and apparently they found 90% perfect neve (god knows what the other 10% is!). Generally looking up though, so hopefully the weather will pick up for the first time this winter.

Anyway, having skiied down to the Requin we chatted to a few British guides, general consensus being that with all the recent wind and unstable weather, it's pretty tough to tell what is safe and isn't as there is very little pattern to the weather. As a result, touring is possible right now but you need to be mega cautious.

Basically, routes are in and there's plenty of snow, so we just need this f**king weather to stabilise!!!