Saturday 17 March 2012

Aiguille du Genepi Granite

 Winter 2012 seems to be falling into some sort of a pattern now, as for the second time this season a cold snap has been followed by incredibly warm temperatures. No sign of settled, average temperatures, it is feast or famine this year! 

For various reasons I ended up without a partner for Thursday, and so after a morning of admin I forced myself out of the door for a solo lap of the classic Crochues Berrard ski tour in the Aiguilles Rouges. Conditions are pretty good right now and whilst there's no powder left, there's some good cold snow high up and some really enjoyable spring snow low down. Best of all, the track into Le Buet is fully formed and easy to ski. 1hr 13mins from drag lift at Flegere to Le Buet for those who like timings, but no doubt the rando-men of the Valley do it in half that!

Friday was forecast to be baking hot so Peter, Jerome and I went up to climb on the Aiguille du Genepi above the Argentiere Hut. Damien and Martin had the same idea and it was great fun to climb 2 adjacent routes, making for a day of excellent patter. We went for "Mort de Rire", a 5 pitch 6b, and it was absolutely stunning. For a skier like myself, it takes a good route to make me think that rock climbing in March is a better idea than sliding round on the planks, but I was in no doubt that we made a good call today. As with so many routes in Cham, the belays are bolted, and the pitches have bolts where you can't get gear in, so there is pretty much zero stress. The skin up is about an hour (at a very leisurely pace), and the rock is the most perfect granite. The day was just topped off by the fact that we were bathed in sun from start to finish. Me like.All Photos Peter Riley.

Me awash in a sea of granite

Damien on the adjacent route

Jerome, Me, Martin & Damien on the summit

Happiness is a good belay

Jerome Seconding

The best and easiest form of descent