I would be a liar if I said it was Beau temps all week............
Dix hut - Wednesday morning
Well folks, they were all here this week, Gene Kelly, Marti and his Pellow, the dude with the beard, and the big wooden boat full of animals, and even the Quo, who are incidentally playing the greatest biker fest ever in August, Bulldog Bash 25th Anniversary.
Sunday did not in any way shape or form dawn bright; it did however dawn very, very wet. Jenna, Mark, Doug, and I donned our waterproofs, snorkel and goggles, and headed for the Dix hut. After a wrestle with the ladders at the Pass de Chevre and a lost pair of sun glasses, we dripped our way into the hut, to smiles and the more than usual welcome from the team there. The boiler room was turned into a sauna as other groups arrived in a similar state.
Dix hut - Monday
With many a plan afoot we headed of up to bag la Luette, which we did in good time, very dry up there, a few small crevasses to cross, summit ridge at that point was clear of snow, that was about to change......
Lower rock ridge, Mont Blanc de Cheillon with Mark, Jenna and Doug
Afternoon was spent doing rope work and getting to grips with Mark's "possessed" prussik loops, mind of their own....
Dix hut - Tuesday
Set off with a plan of sorts, but with the oncoming storm it was going to be cut short. The team headed up to the Col du Cheillon with a few debates along the way, crampons or not to crampons.....oh the dilemma of it all.
We did get a good way up the rock ridge before it just got too much - snow and high winds. The team swung leads of the ridge and on the way down back to the col, good effort in challenging conditions. Crampons on and then we ran away back to the hut, and more tea and cakes......
Looking back to Dix hut - Wednesday
Now then, now then guys and gals if we'd had our skis we would have used em, not half ...........Good all over snow cover, and some sun made the place a winter wonderland. Several teams did a runner for the valley; the rest stayed and hung on in there. We spent a mammoth day of crevasse rescue; Mark now had to contend with both a possessed prussik and gloves, not a good combo, but good on him, he stuck with it. Having now got the hang of the dark art, and with Mark's prussiks and gloves temporarily under control we headed back to the hut. Well after many a snow bridge, multiple crevasses and much levitation the team finally got to safety.
Thursday: To combat the hut fever, we did a runner to the valley; we thought we'd made it down in the dry until the heavens opened. Snow, mid July at 2300 metres.
It could be Scotland!
We ducked and dived, Mark once more wrestled with the still possessed items, and Doug got really good at tying an Italian hitch. Jenna just got on with it.. no worries...
Friday: Now then guys and gals, Friday did dawn bright and sunny, we headed for the Via Ferrata at Evolene.
Doug, Jenna and Mark on the via ferrata at Evolene
After much pulling, tugging, moaning and groaning, we hit the summit cargo net and the top. It's a great trip, just above the Co Op, with access just up the road opposite the Parapente landing field. Last bit of rope work, and a Q and A sesh, and as quick as a blink of an eye the week was over. A pain in the butt week weather wise, but made all the much better by some great company, a few items in need of exorcism and a great hut. Thanks to all.
Look mum - no hands!
I'm in Cham all next week, so it will be interesting to see how all this new snow has affected things.
The Brenva Spur was done on the 16th, sounded good and the upper seracs as stable as they can be - that will be all changed now though.
All the usual valley and mid mountain rock routes have been done, but since this weather patern kicked in not much has been reported done so sorry to say not much info on latest routes. Looking out from balcony there is snow down to the Plan de l'Aiguille, but only just and it's going as I type. And there are even forecasts for snow down to Arolla on Sunday!!!!!
Take care and stay safe
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