Tuesday 9 July 2013

Mont Blanc, conditions update, and some very nice photos.

It's been a busy week here in Cham, which for various reasons has seen me not climbing anything hard, but doing quite the tour of some Chamonix classics. I've been on the traverse of the Entreves, the SE ridge on the Index, and finally the Gouter Route of Mont Blanc in the past week, all of which have been amazing, but all of which means that I am now parked on my backside for a few days. 

The Index was with Toby from Seven Twenty Productions, and was in aid of the Chalk and Granite project (Facebook page here), the first episode of which is out in a fortnight. Unfortunately I don't have any photos, but we got some great footage so make sure you watch the series when it comes out, it's going to be epic!

The Entreves was an acclimatisation day for Sharon and I, and we had a great time climbing this classic and exposed ridge.

View from midway along the Entreves

With a whole 7 hours of acclimatisation, we then had a day off before heading up to the newly refurbished Gouter Hut in preparation for a go at Mont Blanc. 

The Gouter Route might not be technical, but it's one of the most scenic snow plods out there, and we made quick work of the route, and were back at the Nid d'Aigle train station in plenty of time for the 12.30 train down. Result! 

Conditions were superb on Mont Blanc, and it seems that all the snow is finally beginning to firm up with the recent good weather having provided some freeze/thaw cycles. General climbing conditions are actually looking much better now, with high altitude snowy routes being covered in firm snow, and mid altitude rock climbs being dry but relatively easily approached. The only summer routes that I think are definitely out right now are rock climbs that are high or north facing, and technical mixed routes which may not have survived the recent heat. Overall, things are looking good though, and there is plenty of sun on the way so get involved.

In the meantime, here's some of the better shots from Mont Blanc. It's not the toughest summit, but it takes you through some incredible scenery whichever route you climb it by. Enjoy -