Tuesday 29 June 2010

M and Crochue

After the Frendo Peter and I were keen to get straight onto something else big but the weather looked like it might be a bit shaky on Tuesday so we opted for 2 day routes. First up we headed over to the Aiguille de L’M for a shot at the Couzy route. The face takes a long time to dry but with a week of good weather behind us we were confident it would be fine. Tom and Dave had similar thoughts as they were keen for the Menegaux on the same face.

Peter seconding - a rare sight on the M!

The walk in is pretty snowy right now, so crampons and an axe are a good idea for the approach and a necessity if going over the top and descending the far side (as we planned to do). Having reached the crag we began up our route and found it pretty damp, but carried on in the hope for better conditions higher up. The route is supposed to be mainly Severe standard, with a couple of pitches maybe a bit harder, so I climbed in big boots to try and get a bit of mileage. This seemed like quite a good idea until I actually began climbing, when it became apparent that all but the biggest footholds were too greasy to be of any use. Luckily Peter is a bit brighter than me and he brought rock boots and ended up leading all but 15 metres of the route!

It might be summer but you can still ski!

As it turned out, the route just got wetter and greasier so we bailed from half way and got down in 3 pretty awkward diagonal abs. I guess it would take a long spell of very good weather to dry it out as the face received no sun whatsoever all day. Tom and Dave meanwhile got up the Menegaux but also found it pretty greasy. They abbed the route, which is probably the best option given the difficulty of the climbing.

Today we opted for the Aiguilles Rouges and climbed the Tour des Crochues via a fantastic 5 pitch 6b called "Atome Crochue". Well bolted, really sustained and with incredible views, it doesn’t get much better. We had intended to do another route but the gathering black cloud sent us scurrying back to the Index chairlift.

Tour des Crochues. Atome is to the right, where the sun is hitting the rock.

Peter seconding the steep 3rd pitch. "Do you need some slack mate?" "Do I F**k!"

Found this at the bottom of the crag - how's this for organisation!

Weather now seems “settled” into a pattern of good mornings and then rain so we’re hoping for a thunderstorm of biblical proportions to get rid of all the bad weather in one go!