Saturday 22 May 2010

Variety is the spice of life

Quite the week just gone by, starting with rock climbing in Provence and ending on the summit of Mont Blanc!

With the bad weather lasting into it’s 3rd week, Peter and I headed down to Provence and had 3 superb days clipping bolts in the sun around Les Dentelles and Malaucene.

Well you can't go to Provence and not have a few drinks!

Peter latching the "thank God" hold on Mad Max, 6b.

Having got back we were both super keen for alpinism but there was a huge amount of snow, so having tried the Le Tour basin (woke up in the hut to find the wind howling across the glacier) and the Midi (just too much snow all round), we decided that the only way to salvage the week would be to ski Mont Blanc.

Acclimatisation was, to put it mildly, limited but we were both pretty confident that we could bash it out, so took the last bin up the midi and got settled in for the night.

Incredible sunset from the Midi.

The next day dawned clear as we made our way up the 3 Monts route, and after some fairly intense suffering (made worse by the glue on both Peter’s skins failing 300 metres from the top and him having to crampon it in deep snow) we somehow found ourselves on top. A quick change and we were off, skiing down the way we had come then down the Corridor, onto the Bossons Glacier and finally the Plan de l’Aiguille lift station.

Skiing away from the summit.

The track up and the ski down are currently really good, although the good snow ends at around 3300 metres and becomes slush, but it is nearly June so I musn’t grumble. There are still a few days of good weather left so I’d recommend getting on it.

Mont Blanc from near the top of the Bossons Glacier - not a place to linger!

As for alpinism there is a vast amount of snow everywhere making life pretty tough, but the classics such as the Cosmiques Arete and Pointes Lachenal have good tracks to them, so there’s still things to go at. Also, Tom has been out a lot recently and thinks the north faces should be really good. He’s also been skiing all the silly steep stuff, so plenty for the steep ski nutters to go at too.

Good weather is supposed to last until Tuesday afternoon so get out there!