Well folks here it is, the final Cham blog of the season. Doesn't time fly when you're up to no good??
It's been a real mixed week, something for everyone, mainly ducks!!!!! So as you can guess the weather hasn't really been playing ball, there were quite a few frustrated guides up at the Albert Prem hut on Sunday night, most had moved on to plan Z at that point, or just sat there rocking backwards and forwards with their head in their hands......
Anyway enough of my mindless wafflings, lets get on with what we've been up to and what's been done over the last week or so.
Monday: cold day, snow later down to 1700 metres. We did the Tete Blanche, as everyone else was doing the Aig Tour and that was a lot of people going for it. The glacier is very dry and open at the moment, end of season.
Martin and Alex by the Glacier du Tour
Teams on Table de Roc couloir, which was only just in. Jim Kear and team where on the Forbes Arete, which he said was is good condition, and no it wasn't the dude from Simple Minds........
Tuesday was a bit of a wash out.
Wednesday dawned cloudy up in the valley, but we headed down it to a via ferrata just above Passy, check out the pics, we had a fun time just hanging out.
Alex and Martin on via ferrata Passy
Thursday: Joined the masses on the Midi lift, but not at the Cosmiques hut as there were only 25 people, very quiet.
Martin had been suffering all week with some real shocking blisters, so decided not join the Tacul team, method in his madness. We had a few snow showers during the evening, which didn't seem to interfere with the epic game of draughts that was going on, played with bits of scrabble and plasters.
Friday: Alex and I set off at about 5.30 am - still dark, as it's not really getting light now until after 6 am. There was a track of sorts which did help, but the snow was still soft and deep in places - if you stepped off the track, up to your knees.
Alex on Mont Blanc du Tacul - note the depth of snow
The ladder is still in place and another crevasse just above. It's higher up, just below the shoulder where the real fun starts. You have two options, jump down and over a quite wide crevasse then on the descent do a lower, or cross a snow bridge way right on the slope. Neither really appealed, as you can see the depth of the snow bridge from the crevasse jump, and it's not that thick. I wonder just how many people are just blindly following the track over it without a thought for how thick it is, not many from what I saw. We decided to go for the snow bridge, sort of ran/crawled across, the sun was about to hit the face, so I REALLY didn't want to be going over the bridge any later than the time we were on, so we got up to the shoulder, just on 4000 metres and got back down and over the bridge a.s.a.p. Sorry no pics of the crevasse jump or snow bridge, very cold and both our cameras had given up the ghost. The rest of the descent was uneventful.
We then collected Martin from the hut and made our way back up Evil Rob's sting in the tail.
the long and winding road... back to the Midi station
There were teams all over the Triangle du Tacul, on what looked like nearly all the routes, it looked in very good condition.
Triangle du Tacul in great condition (10th Sept)
Here's what's been done over the past week or so in and out of the region.
9/9 - Midi Plan Trav - reported in good condition, fair bit of snow on it.
5/9- Arete du Grand Montets to the Verte - again in good condition
5/9 - Shreckhorn Arete Sud Oest - In good condition
4/9- Grand Pillar d Angle - Bouchard/Boivin- In awesome condition.
2/9- Grand Pillar d Angle - Cechinal/Nomine route again in top condition
1/9- North face of the Dru - Very icy low down, team took 2 days to get to top. The Chappou glacier sounded awful, very dangerous, the team couldn't find a way through so had to be air lifted out.
So folks that it, autumn looks like its going to be a good one out here, just remember short daylight hours, dark by 8.30 pm, the lifts are starting to close or shorten their opening times. Some of the huts are winding down, Trient hut already closed, Cosmiques closes on 9th October. So as per, do your research, have fun and be safe.
Just like to take this opportunity to thank ALL the people who have kept me company this summer on our trips around the mountains, especially thanks to Alex and Martin for their patience and now expert Chamonix shopping advice......To all the folks involved with this blog and involved in getting it to you.
THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL.......See you all soon
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