Monday 13 April 2015

Salluard route, Pic Adolphe Rey

This long spell of good weather is now into a second week so although there is spring snow to be had, it was decided that yesterday was going to be a climbing day. The Salluard route had long been on the list as a good option in spring so we headed for the Midi bright and early to get the jump on the crowds.

Needless to say, Compagnie du Mont Blanc didn't make life easy and couldn't quite decide whether you needed a reservation or not, the result being that (after much unnecessary confusion) we only managed to get the third bin, despite having been at the front of the queue.

With the Compagnie du Mont Blanc having set the tone of general incompetence, we continued it for the first couple of hours, with Tom realising he'd forgotten his sunglasses (thankfully they sell them at the top of the Midi), me dropping my lift pass on the first pitch, and Peter reaching the first belay ledge and ranting about how there was no bolted belay....

Peter and the "missing" belay that he'd failed to spot. I think here he's politely suggesting to Tom that he shouldn't forget his sunglasses if he's going to criticise!

Having all had a bad start to the day, things picked up significantly and we ended up having a brilliant time on a true Chamonix classic. I think we did the route in 8 pitches and finished off by topping out on a small pinnacle below the summit of the Pic Adolphe Rey. It is possible to carry on to the summit proper via some scrambling and a short pitch but it would mean that you can't abseil back to your kit at the foot of the route and would have to walk back along the glacier in rockboots.

All photos Peter Riley (and well done Peter for mastering and getting them to me!!!)

Tom and me on the crux.

The "Diedre Lisse" (slippery groove) is the nickname given to this pitch by the Chamonix guides. Much to mine and Peter's delight, Tom offered to lead it and had "fun" thrutching his way up cold, snow filled cracks while Peter and I took in the view.

The stunning upper wall.

Me on the last move of the route.

Abbing down. The route climbs the crack to the right of me and then heads left to just below the summit tower and then climbs this via a corner which is just out of sight.

The ski down the VB was great and conditions are still good up there. The long sunny spell has meant that it's all pretty moguled but after a lean winter, I was impressed how much fun the skiing still is up there.

An uber classic route ticked, plenty of banter and a quick ski down the World's most famous off piste run; just another day in Chamonix.