Wednesday 13 April 2011

Aiguille du Refuge & Barberine

After such a good day on the Midi S face, Peter and I were really keen for some more mountain rock and so we took the Grand Montets up to have a look at the Aiguille du Refuge, a 200 metre crag right behind the Argentiere hut. Matt joined us too, so as to keep the belayer awake.

I knew it was a good idea when we went into the OHM to do some research and the woman behind the desk declared it an "excellent idea". Like most Brits I'm used to having fingers wagged and shoulders shrugged everytime I suggest something in there so being congratulated on my route choice felt like a milestone in my climbing career.

Skinning up from the refuge after a quick coffee stop.

The topo we had was useless so we popped into the refuge to get a better one, but were distracted by coffee and ended up just using our original one. It was pretty difficult to work out where the route went but we just followed our nose and got 4 really good pitches straight up the face. In the end, Matt was stopped in his tracks by a horrific looking chimney, so we abbed off with still no idea what route we'd done but pleased that we'd had a good day of climbing and discovered a new, and quiet, crag.

Matt leading the first pitch

I thought I was being so clever by hanging off this bolt to change back into my ski boots, until I began to wonder how I was going to get off the bolt and back onto the ground...

There was talk on sunday of a big mountain day but I was pretty feeling knackered and the others not much better, so we went to Barberine and had a really good day doing multi pitch sport routes. Emma and I picked a slabby route (Vipere au Pied) whilst Matt and Peter did "Bon Voyage" which is a bit steeper and harder. Barberine is completely dry and always gives a good day out. It really felt like summer though - I climbed the whole day in just a pair of shorts!

I've had my headcam out over the weekend so when I get a chance I'll put a video together.