Friday 1 April 2011

Chere Couloir

With my mate Neil just having finished a 3 month stint in Scotland, I was keen to show him this thing that appears in the sky above Cham most days, and which provides light and warmth. As if the sun wasn't amazing enough to a hardened Scottish climber I also wanted to show him skiing, and climbing routes without spindrift pouring down your neck.

Needless to say, he was pretty psyched so we decided to have a go at the uber classic "Gabarrou Albinoni" on the Tacul. However, in keeping with tradition the Midi opened late (as it always does when it has snowed) and as we stood in the queue watching time tick by, we decided to go for a safer bet which wouldn't require walking down the Montenvers train tracks having missed the last train.

I'd done the Chere Couloir (II, 4, 350 m) years ago but was happy to do it again, as I hadn't climbed for a few weeks and was happy just to get some fitness and good views. The route was pretty busy but we managed to get ahead of the crowds by moving together from the bergschrund and all the way up the route. In fact we were going so well that having not seen Neil since the bergschrund I realised that there was only one pitch of half decent climbing left, so I generously pulled over so that he'd get a lead. He shot up that and it was back down for sandwiches in the sun (which was still a novelty for Neil).

The snow on the VB wasn't great and time was pressing, so we decided to go back up to the Midi, which was fairly character building unacclimatised.

The route is pretty thin right now compared to the last time I did it, but perfect ice all the way and much more interesting than when it is really fat, so get on it - if you can beat the queues.

Neil loving sunshine and good ice - he's not had much of either recently.