Back in Britain Britain Britain

After gluing up my split finger Euan and I had two more days sport climbing in the French Alps. We both got to finnish off the routes we had been trying over the last week and after looking at the up and coming weather forcast we decided to head home a few days earlier. No one was going into the mountains to climb because of the amount of snow that had fallen over the last few days and it was forcast to rain in the valley for the duration so we packed up our kit and headed for the ferry to Britain.

Now that we’re back we are both psyched to contiue to make the most of the scottish good weather befor the winter conditions close in and the mixed season rolls into action.

Splittage of the Tippage

Over the last 2 days Euan and I have been sport climbing in the valley. The weather in the mountains is not looking good for the rest of the trip, so it looks like its the single pitch stuff for the duration. Today I fell off the last move of a 7b due to a pretty bad split tip. I’ve glued it up and hope to be back climbing on Wednesday to finnish off some projects befor I head home.

Petit Clocher Du Portalet

10/9/09

After a nights bivi in the mountains, (which I enjoyed and slept very well, Euan on the other hand hardly slept at all because of the cold). My alarm went off at 6am, we ate our breakfast which consisted of granola with yoghurt (a favourite of the trip) and then headed off towards our next route. This was on the Petit Clocher Du Portalet (2823m). We did the route called “Arete Sud-Est’’ ED- (E3, 6a) 220m. It was a spectacular route on an amazing piece of rock. Every pitch was as good as the last and it took us through some very varied ground, everything from long pumpy granite finger cracks to technical balancy slab pitches, which can make you feel very exposed when you’re 4 pitches from the ground. The route was one of the best climbs I have done in the Alps and I’m looking forward to getting on more like this one in the future.

Sleep under the stars

9/9/09

On Wednesday morning Euan and I headed back to sector Thermes at Le Fayet. I did a really enjoyable 6b called Tostaky, this route was not to hard but had some really nice moves. We both then went on to try a new 7b which also involved some nice climbing with a fairly powerful crux. It should go on our next venture to that crag.
In the afternoon we drove over to Switzerland and headed back up into the mountains to bivi overnight, ready for another big rock route on Thursday. We slept under a big overhanging boulder near the refuge d’Orney (hut).

Le Contamine

7/9/09
After a successful days climbing the day before and a well earned sleep where the only sound that could be heard was the sound of giant seracs falling down in the distance every so often which is slightly relaxing when you know you are no were near them. We set off to get the first lift up to the top Midi station. We then put our crampons on and headed down the well trampled Midi arête to the base of the South East Pillar. After swapping big boots and crampons for rock shoes we started up the Contamine Route which went at 190m of TD+ (VI , A1). The route is very sustained with a very strenuous crux pitch that goes at (VIII-) if climbed free. Euan put in a great effort on the crux pitch, he freed as much as he could but had to aid a few of the hardest moves. After a few more easier pitches we finished on the top of the pillar and rappelled into the Midi station which was very welcoming after 6 days of climbing 3 of which were spent in the mountains.All in all it has been an awesome week and I’m looking forward to some more climbing after a well needed rest day.

Aiguille L’M

6/9/09

On Sunday Euan and I walked over to Aiguille L’M from Lac Bleu. We did the Menegaux Route on the North Face of the L’M. The route is a 200m TD (VI, A0). It was home to a very different type of climbing. There was a massive detached flake on pitch 3 which involved some mega laybacking, (this definitely got the juices flowing) then into some balancey face climbing to traverse back to the corner were the next gear was. Then pitched 4 involved some aid climbing, but Euan and I freed all but 2 moves of this. On the second last pitch we had to make our way up a great overhanging corner chocked full of downward pointing rock teeth, the climbing involved to do this will not be forgotten any time soon.
After 3 rappels off the summit there is a long gully to scramble down towards the glacier bellow. At the bottom of the gully there are some very suspect ladders to descend that were overhanging in places. Once back down to the glacier it was an hour’s steady walk back to Lac Bleu were we had stashed our tent in the large boulder field.
After we had had boiled up some water and refilled our bottles for the next day’s escapades. We then ate our filled tortellini pasta and gazed at the surrounding mountains while making up mental route lists from our well thumbed guide books.

Into the mountains

5/9/09
On Saturday Euan and I went to have a look at a crag we had not been to before called “Bionnasey’’. This crag has something for everyone, whether you prefer 20m 6a’s or 40m 8b’s. I had a play around on a short route but we did not have much time because we were heading up to Lac Bleu on the Midi Plan that night to camp ready for an early start on Sunday. We got the last lift up to the Plan that night and headed over to Lac Bleu just in time to catch the sunset over the Chamonix Massif.

Sector Therm

Top Pic: Me on 7c

4/9/09 Le Fayet

Today Euan, Paul and I went back to sector Therm in Le Fayet. I started by trying the 7c that I had been on previously. Euan and Paul started by doing a 6b to warm up. Then Euan got back on the 7b called “Peril Jaune’’ that he had been trying the day before, the moves looked really good so I also had a go. I got this route on my second go and then Euan also got this route soon after. I then went back to have another go on the 7c but decided to call it a day once the skin on my hands couldn’t take any more climbing.

44 hours of traveling

After a 44 hour long epic journey, which involved our car breaking down and some very broken French comunicating to try and get it back on the road, we are finaly back in the amazing French Alps.

Yesterday we went to a very good sport crag in Le Fayet. Euan and I both did a good little 7a and then we moved on to some harder steeper routes, 7c and 7b. Both routes should get dispatched soon. Because of the bad weather forcast we are sceptical to head into the mountains until it gets better so overhanging sport crags will have to surfice for the now.