Saturday 23 July 2011

Where's summer gone?

Answers on a postcard!

Well, summer doesn't really seem to be happening just yet, and I have even resorted to working to pass the time. There was talk of a trip down to the Ecrins tomorrow, but it seemed a long way to go for a short and uncertain weather window, so a big Chamonix crew is heading for the Orco Valley in Italy instead. 

Today we were determined just to get out in the mountains to do anything, but driving rain put us off our first idea of a training run up the Aiguille du Tour. In the end we headed up the Midi to do a quick lap of the Cosmiques Arete, but the Arete leading down to the Vallee Blanche had a huge amount of fresh, soft and unconsolidated snow on it and we weren't too keen on risking our necks just to do a route we'd all done dozens of times before.With disaster imminent I suggested we wandered over to the viewing platform at the end of the Cosmiques, and have a look at the Passarelle Gully. This is the steep line down to the left when climbing the Cosmiques ladder, and looks quite interesting, particularly under such heavy snow. We quickly got a top rope set up on the railing of the viewing platform and I was lowered in. As it turned out, the route provided a fun 60 metre pitch, albeit quite tenuous and covered in powder snow. 

Tom emerging from a snowy Passarelle Gully

Having all had a quick burn on the route we headed down to get ready (hopefully) for a sunny trip to Italy. The good weather has to arrive at some stage, so hopefully it won't be too long until it gets here.

Top roping an ice climb - not what I had in mind for summer!