General Update - 19th October

Posted by Jon Griffith
Thursday 23rd October 2008

High temps keep prevailing and whilst it is definitely getting colder at night it is also getting warmer during the day. It still feels like a hot summer's day even in the morning off the Midi. We have been up at the Abri Simond on and off now for a while and here is what we have heard and seen: Anything that takes the sun even for part of the day is either bone dry or about to be. General ice conditions on anything that isnt north facing is pretty poor with either crumbling snow ontop of rock or very wet/ soggy ice. So anything in the alpine grade 5 or above range is very dicey for the moment. Climbs in the 4 and below grade are manageable. Basically anything that involves 90 degrees or thin sections just arent in for the moment as the quality of the ice just wont hold at that 'level'. We headed up to do Pinnochio 2 days ago but on the approach thought that Slave to the Rhythm looked better. Just climbing up to both of them proved a nightmare with loose snow and running ice ontop of slabs. Whilst from far away they look good upon closer inspection they are a bit of a death trap for the moment as the ice itself just isnt firm enough to hold a pick properly at that steepness. Yesterday we tried Tentation (Mixed route on the Lachenal that Bracey and Bullock put up a couple of years ago). Whilst it looks awesome as a line once again we encountered loose snow instead of ice in the cracks so bailed half way up the fourth pitch. A shame as it is a great line with some awesome climbing but in reality all we were doing was clearing the rock of snow and then dry tooling up it. Otherwise on the plus side Filo D'Arriana has been done by Gavin Pike and partner yesterday who reported not ideal conditions but at least they made it to the top so well done them. The Tacul Triangle seems to be attracting an aweful lot of attention so plenty to be done there. A party headed up the Cosmiques couloir at 10 today and wisely turned back. The Tour Ronde is also seeing alot of traffic on both the north face and the Rebuffat couloir ( "trip report here":http://www.alpineexposures.com/pages/rebuffat-gully-ii-4-tour-ronde-photo-trip-report ). I dont really want to comment on the state of the North faces as personally I think it is still too warm but others differ in their opinions on that. If you do have your eye on them then all I can say is that all the classic lines look great for the moment- I just have no idea how safe they are right now. Finally there were climbers on the Rebuffat on the Midi today enjoying the sun and granite and one guy climbing on the Eperon du Midi in shorts- it really is that hot up there for the moment. If I wasnt so hell-bent on climbing mixed i'd be out in my rock boots right now....

 

Will Sim on Tentation
Read more blog entries by Jon Griffith

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