Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Hidden Chimney Direct, Coire an t-Sneachda

We were out in Coire an t-Sneachda today along with quite a few other folk. The weather couldn't have been better - no wind and cold! Our route had lots of fresh snow and the turf we found on our route was not frozen but the climbing was interesting.
Photos here on the Talisman blog

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A very blustery day!

A good day to be indoors as it was so windy that my garden shed windows blew in and my cats sat looking out the cat flap reluctant to go out into such a blustery day!
I was working this afternoon for Tracey and Ian of Active Spirit at Glenmore Lodge climbing wall and glad to be inside!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Cairngorm today

We had such a fun day out exploring just how much snow there is on Cairngorm that I've had to jump the last of the summer stuff but it will be updated soon . Coire an t-Sneachda looked wintry but when we met up with Andy at the top of Pygmy Ridge, it seemed that winter was rather cosmetic. They had a fun day out on the climb all the same.
We walked rather quickly up to the summit of Cairngorm with a strong wind behind us helping us on our way then dropped down to find some great snow drifts in a sheltered location to play with and where we could dig our first snowhole of the season!
We wait with anticipation for our first winter route of the season.
Ron took loads of photos but they downloaded to my pc in a rather weird way so look here for pictures

A' Chailleach and Sgurr Breac 14th September

No photos for this one but we walked up the rather boggy Druim Reidh to Toman Coinich then popped over to A' Chailleach then back round to Sgurr Breac and down the ridge to the stalker's path. The stalkers were out on the hill alongside and we saw and heard many deer on a different slope!
The weather almost stayed dry, a typical Scottish hillwalking day and with a river crossing at the end of the day too.

Kinloss Grooves, Polldubh 23rd September

A day over in Glen Nevis and up to High Crag where I got to climb Kinloss Grooves.

Robin Wood, Grande Floria 9th September

The weather forecast the day before had promised a good and sunny day however we were chatting to a local climber at Les Cheserys who was looking up at the sky and saying otherwise. We looked again at the meteo and it still said "beau temps" but with bad weather coming in the following day. This doubt about the weather combined with the train not running quite as it should be due to work on the line meant we gave up on plans to go back up the valley to climb L'ete indien and instead, we took La Flegere cable car up to the Grande Floria area in the Aiguilles Rouges to climb Robin Wood.

Four lovely pitches, each one harder than the one before so the first two were mine and the second two were Ron's lead. Lovely gneiss and not too busy though we could see there could be a lot of potential for loose rock coming down if there were climbers above.

Our last day out climbing before the journey back home to Aviemore but what a great summer!

Les Cheserys 8th September

Some new routes have been added at Les Cheserys over on Voie Blanche side so we had to go back to do them. The routes are detailed in the new Aiguilles Rouge guide book so perhaps an excuse to buy another guide book!
We think the grades were around 5b, 5c, 6a and all adequately bolted and with abseil descents.

Grindelwald 5th September

A day trip to Grindelwald for a change of scenery!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Tout ca pour ca 2nd September

After another day at Les Cheserys when we climbed Voie Blanche variante (5c) and with the weather forecasting huge storms coming in over the next few days, we headed bacl to Le Passet to climb Tout ca pour ca.
The route starts off at a nice, amenable 5a then gets harder as it gets higher. Lovely climbing again on gneiss and six long pitches. It was interesting that the guide books mentioned that the fourth pitch was meant to be longer than 50m but it wasn't so we could only guess that maybe the belay had been repositioned.
(Route info - 6a+, 6a obl, 300m (?), six abseils in descent)
(Guide book - Schweiz plaisir west)

Le Passet

A view of Le Passet where we climbed Mille et une Pattes and Tout ca pour ca.

Mille et une pattes 28th August

A train journey to Vallorcine and a walk up to Le Passet, a huge gneiss wall with some great routes. We went to climb mille et une pattes which, if my French translation is correct, means a thousand and one paws.
We climbed twelve very varied pitches - easy slabs, steep slabby walls, corners and all with bolts just where they felt they should be. The five abseils to get down were quite fun too down a large water-worn gully.
(Route info - 6a, 5c obl, 340m, abseil descent)
(Guide book - Scwiez plaisir west, Chamonix cragging)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Les Cheserys 26th August

Cragging on the beautiful, granite slabs at Les Cheserys. Ron, Diana and I climbed Voie Bleue on a lovely, sunny day with the fantastic backdrop of the Mont Blanc massif to enjoy as we waited at the belays.
At the end of the day, a little bouquetin popped up to have a look at us the promptly ran nimbly across some 5b and 5c slabs!
(Route info - 5c, 150m, abseil descent)
(Guide book - Schweiz plaisir west, Chamonix cragging)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Tre-les-Eaux & Cheval Blanc 21st & 22nd August

After a restful, rainy day, we were off again with Daniel and Bryony for our second two day trip.
We chose to take the train to Le Buet so that we could escape the crowds and explore the area around Vallorcine and Emosson.
Our trek took us up the Tre-les-Eaux valley on good paths with some short scrambly sections with cables and chains where appropriate. The valley opened up as we went higher and by late afternoon we were at the Col des Corbeaux, planning our camp for the night and encountering a family of very curious bouquetin. These are strange beasts which seem to be a bit of a mix of horse, deer and goat!
We found a beautiful spot to lay out our sleeping mats and bivvi bags and after a hot drink, we set off to explore some more with a climb up the steep, grey scree slope to the summit of Cheval Blanc (2831m).
After a peaceful night with no disturbances from the bouquetins family, we trekked back over the Col de la Terrasse and down to the Refuge de Loriaz and back to Vallorcine.
See Ron's video clip of the bouquetins here

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Fenetre d'Arpette 18th & 19th August

Back in Chamonix, we are joined by Daniel and Bryony for the first week of their Mont Blanc holiday. We plan to do a couple of two day trips with them before they join up with Jonathan for the high mountain week of their trip.
For our first trip, we started from Champex in Switzerland so we could walk back to Chamonix using a section of the Tour du Mont Blanc. We walked through gentle Alpine scenery past gentle faced cows, through carpets of myrtilles then some scrambling over boulders, gaining height, to reach the high col of the Fenetre d'Arpette. The descent on the other side was steep but we were soon down in the valley following the stream to a point where we could cross just below the Chalet du Glacier.
The Tour du Mont Blanc has various alternatives and rather than continue down to Trient, we climbed back up through the forest to the little Refuge des Grands, our camp for the night. Just below the refuge, the path goes up the side of the cliff on an interesting, paved ramp. The refuge was locked although there was a shed that was left open but it was already occupied. We found a sheltered grassy spot nearby for our bivouac but went back along to the refuge to make use of the table and chairs! Supper was fun with Daniel and Bryony brewing up myrtille soup with the berries we had picked earlier.
The weather had been sunny with clear skies overnight so we could lie in the bivvi bags and look up at the stars and the full moon. The following morning wa s a bit more cloudy and windier too so some kind of change was happening in the weather.
We contoured round the hillside and back into France at the Col du Balme. The views over the Chamonix valley and Mont Blanc were amazing.
There are so many pictures from this trip it has been hard to pick just a few!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Via Felici 10th August

Via Felici - we found out that this means "happy way" and it was! We had watched people climbing on this route when we climbed on Dente par Dente and it looked awesome! A pitch with a fantasticly steep flake which just looked so improbable to climb so we had to go back to Albinga. The day was also to be the last sunny day for a while and possibly our last chance to climb before we had to head back to Chamonix.
The first pitch was mine - a lovely slab with a few tricky moves to reach the belay. Ron took on the harder steep pitches but made the moves look smooth and straightforward. When it came to my turn on the third steep flake pitch, I found the holds more positive than I expected and the climbing was really enjoyable. And so it continued
The descent was quite interesting as we found the abseil point for the first section down but then after a bit of a walk, we came across two very old pegs that really are an accident waiting to happen. We used them but with caution as they really are not good and I watched as the pegs wobbled as Ron downclimbed.

Vergine 9th August

We joined up with Laura and Robin again for the morning at Vergine, the rocky peak just above the Albigna Dam. We did the steep first pitch and then the interesting and tricky corner before abseiling off and heading back down for an afternoon of cragging at Chiavenna.