Well folks here we go again, after a few days of Mr Marti Pellow action, the clouds have finally parted to reveal a rather snowy Chamonix valley. We have fresh snow on both sides of the valley, more so on the Cham Aiguilles side.
Sunday 12th June was a hut walk up to the Albert Premier - from the valley as the bin wasn't open yet. The afternoon was spent catching up on some rope work with Richie and Dave.
Monday: Well it sort of dawned, but definitely not bright and early, bit murky out there, so we went for the Mexican stand off. Which would have been a hoot if it had involved some tequila, salt and a scene from Dusk till Dawn......Any road the boys and I eventually hit the road, reaching the Trient hut later that day. Oh the Ikea show room hasn't changed. Love it.
Richie and Dave on the Col Superior du Tour
Tuesday: Did dawn bright and early, as you can see by the pics, we got a bit of a boogie on across the plateau and we were the second team up to the summit of Aiguille du Tour.
Aiguille du Tour summit - Richie and Dave
Check out the the merry throng we encountered on the way down. The plateau was in good conditions very little in the way of crevasse action, and access onto the peak was a dream.
A bit crowded on Aiguille du Tour
We then trod a merry road back to the valley, in time for tea and cakes at Mrs Miggins pie shop.
Wednesday: Traverse of the Crochues, I love this route and so did Dave and Richie. Only one other team on it, there is snow up to the col and some hard pack snow on the north side, we had crampons and axes and to be honest found them real useful.
Col du Crochues
The guys got out in front with me grooving along......
Traverse of Crochues
The descent went real easy as the snow line is almost up to the ridge, so down to Lac Blanc in minutes.
Heading down to Lac Blanc with Grandes Jorasses behind
Thursday: We took the first bin up to the Midi, the afternoon forecast being for a near pan-galactic gargle blasting end of the universe type of thing, so with that in mind we got on down with some hard core crevasse rescue action. And after many a fall into the abyss the boys got the hang of the dark art. We then ran away to the hut, to watch white fluffy stuff falling from the sky.
There were a few teams on the South face of the Midi rock routes, and also on Point Lachenal, Chere Couloir, Left Edge.
Triangle du Tacul / Chere Couloir
The normal route up the Tacul looks very interesting, the bergschrund from last year hasn't really filled in so you actually walk along it for some distance, through some questionable terrain. I have looked through some binos and chatted to a few guides who have done it, hmm move quickly and get through it, or avoid for the moment, see what it does......
Mont Blanc du Tacul - bergschrund problems
Friday: We did the ridge that heads towards the Col Du Midi from the Cozzy Hut, well worth doing, short, bolted, and has a bit of everything in it.
Dave and Richie on the ridge from Cosmiques Hut to Col du Midi
The boys did a great job of the route, Richie especially as he was wearing a pair of Sportiva Spantiks in readiness for his next trip, which is Denali, and then one or two other peaks. I wish him all the best on all of them. We then had one last session of crevasse rescue, before heading up the sting in the tale snow arête up to the ice cave and finally the Midi.
As a footnote to this, there was a team on the Cosmiques Couloir, it did look in good nick, but in saying that also had loads of rock fall debris at the base of it, so be careful as you do have the Cozzy arête above you as well.
Well there you go, I had a great week with Dave and Richie, and one of the best starts to the seasons I could ask for.
Richie and Dave on ridge from Cozzy Hut to Col du Midi
There will be more reports from the Cham valley, Arolla and Zermatt over the next few months. So you know the score folks, check the forecast, do your research and be safe.
Rob Wills I.F.M.G.A. / U.I.A.G.M. International Mountain and Ski Guide at your service.
For more details of Rob's Guiding services check out http://www.alpinerob.com/alpine-climbing.php
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