Friday 10 September 2010

Aiguille Crochues

We’d originally planned to head up to the Aiguille du Peigne today but woke up to find the Aiguilles plastered in snow. In need of a change of plan we got out the Aiguilles Rouges guidebook and had a quick scan for something quick drying and not too hard so we could manage it in what was left of the day.

I spotted the Ravanel route on the south side of the Aiguille Crochues, 400metres, sustained 5/5+ and a nice summit so we headed up. The route follows the red line to the ridge then the right hand skyline to the summit, and the descent is the left skyline.

Top of pitch 7 - "like a big version of Jenga!"
The walk in is pretty brief, 30 minutes or so, and the route is simple enough to find. The first seven pitches are sustained and superb, albeit with the occasional loose block higher up. The whole route is bolted but fairly sparsely in places so it’s best to have a few grades in hand.

Once on the ridge it is pretty easy climbing with 2 short steep steps, so we moved together from the top of pitch 7 to the summit. There are occasional bolts even on the scrambling bits so you don’t need a rack and can move pretty fast.


From the summit we ditched the rope and down climbed the normal route and then made a hash of finding the correct descent and ended up on some horrible loose terrain, so keep your eyes peeled!


Eventually made it back to the Index chairlift in 6 hours round trip, which felt like good time, and were down for ice creams in the sun not long after! Great day, great route.