Friday 21 March 2014

Weekend Alpinism

There had been a big high pressure sitting over the Alps for the last week and spending the weekend in Chamonix I was pretty excited at the prospect of good weather and getting up high in the mountains again.

Starting off the weekend with a skin up the Les Houches pistes on Friday evening with Josie and Emily
As usual the ease of access to the high mountains in Chamonix made for a really good two days.  Josie and I took the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi on Saturday and headed off to the Breche Puiseux.  

Josie skiing below the East face of Mont Blanc du Tacul on the way to the Breche Puiseux

Josie heading up the couloir to the Breche Puiseux - from the Breche two 30m abseils lead to the Leschaux Glacier
I've done this a few times now but I never get disappointed by the ski down under the Grandes Jorasses North Face (which is looking very dry at the moment).  The actually skiing was pretty crap, there hadn't been enough sun to soften up the snow so the day was definitely about the mountain experience rather than skiing lovely spring snow!

Trying to get psyched for the refrozen crud we're about to ski!

Josie skiing down the Leschaux Glacier below the North face of the Grandes Jorasses
Fancying a more relaxed day on Sunday and wanting to blow the dust off the ice axes I headed back up the Midi with Jack and Maury to climb the classic Vent du Dragon.  This is one of the routes that climbs out of the Cunningham Couloir to the Cosmiques ArĂȘte and is easily accessed by 5 abseil from the Aiguille du Midi bridge, the first being pretty atmospheric.

Jack heading off the Aiguille du Midi bridge into the depths of the Cunningham Couloir
The day started off cold, windy and with a distinct lack of psyche.  But the sun soon came out and I remembered I actually enjoyed this and it was just great to be out climbing some alpine ground again.  A lack of topo and a slight misunderstanding of where to go meant we didn't actually do Vent du Dragon but ended up on the Profit/Perroux Goulotte which although pretty dry was good fun.  It was the sort of day where it didn't matter what we ended up doing, just nice to be out and enjoying it.

Maury neither on Vent du Dragon nor the Profit/Perroux, we should have been way to the left for Vent du Dragon or just to the right in the hidden ice chimney for the Profit/Perroux - sorry Maury!
Jack high up on the Profit/Perroux
Andy on the final pitch of the Profit/Perroux (photo - Jack Geldard)
Jack topping out onto the Cosmiques Arete and into the warm sun
Cold goulotte to sun soaked granite on the Cosmiques Arete
Finishing up the Cosmiques Arete (photo - Jack Geldard)
A view I never get tired of

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