Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Blog updates

As I've added in so many posts, just a few show up on the first page. To see more from this summer, click on the links on the right for July, August and September.
There are lots of stories still to come and now I am back home with a slightly more reliable internet connection, I hope to get all my climbing diary on my blog soon.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Logique Flue and Briancon – Friday 14th August

This was to be the last route of our trip to Ailefroide and it was the one I fell off! I clipped the last bolt on the first pitch and the next point was the belay but my left foot slipped, I fell and oops, my ankle hit off an edge as I came to a halt. No way was I going up again so down was the only option. Ron and the French guys climbing alongside helped out getting me back down and they were really good in collecting all our extenders and handing them into the guides bureau so we could collect them later. Big thanks to them for that and for their help in getting me back down to the road.
So we had a trip to Briancon and an experience of French hospitals and I ended up with crutches and a splint for my ankle and no prospect of climbing for the next wee while!
Though I must add that Chamonix is such a great place to hobble about in as I was able to do the walking up bits and enjoy cable car descents!
We ended our trip with the climb of the Via Corda Alpina which I wasn't too sure my ankle would be up to but it was and it was a good positive thing to end our summer trip on after what had happened in Ailefroide.
Spain next!

Ailefroide to Chamonix – Monday 17th August

Cascades Blues – Wednesday 12th August

Climbing with the added enjoyment of a shower or two! Great fun on a hot day!

A Tire d’Ailefroide – Thursday 13th August

This was my most enojoyable route of our whole visit to Ailefroide. We had abseiled down alongside this route and had seen other climbers on it and it looked tricky! So we set off and the climbing was just lovely....slabs, little tricky bits but with good holds. I guess if you don't like slab climbing, then this is probably not a good route to do but if you like slabs, then it it such fun!

Cragging at Secteur Chlorophylle – Sunday 9th August

Tete de la draye – Saturday 8th August

Et on tuera sous les affreux – Thursday 6th August

Two Hot Men – Wednesday 5th August

Cragging at Le Poire – Monday 3rd August

A cool and cloudy morning with some showers but dry enough form some cragging so we walked up to the Poire to climb the lower two picthes of Et on tuera tous les affreux (5c+ and 5c) and the first pitch of Gloire a satan (5c).

Riviere Kwai – Tuesday 4th August

Argentiere la Bessee – Saturday 1st August

A lift down the valley from John and Jim for some shopping and a look at a rather large ice axe!
Also a chance to try out a bonfire and some burnt sausages!
The whole area has a ban on bonfires however certain areas are authorised as being ok for fires to be lit, apparently something to do with the closeness of a river keeping the gound damp. Certainly some groups had the campfire bit down to a fine art with piles of wood and perhaps the smoke kept the mosquitoes away!

Cantilenes en gelee – Friday 31st July

Ecrins Total – Thursday 30th July

Ron and I went back to Ecrins Total with Chris as he was keen to climb it too so we had an enjoyable day seconding whilst Chris put in all the effort!
A route well worth doing twice!

La Snoopy – Wednesday 29th July

We met up with Chris and had a great day out on Snoopy, probably the most controversial route of the area as it was originally traditionally protected but it's now bolted in quite an amenable way.
There is a great mix of climbing, steep at the bottom then some broken ground to reach a lovely corner then the difficult bit follows, a 6b move on a blank slab. Luckily it can be climbed at A0 too! There's another lovely pitch above then a long traverse to reach the upeer slabs.
We chose to abseil rather than walk down and even spotted some edelwiess on the descent.
Grade TD-, 280m, 6b+max, 5c oblig

Orage d’etoiles – Monday 27th July

Back to Orage d'etoiles on another pefectly sunny day and this time we ignored both the 6a and the 5a starts and climbed through and under the boulders to reach the main pitches!
The lower pitches are a bit vegetated and felt very exposed as the valley appears far below but higher up, the exposure lessens, the angle eases a bit and there are some good ledges for belays. There was also some loose rock around and the approach gully was probably not a place to hang around.
Overall, this is climbing a most fantastic situation and it is also one of the most visible routes from the village.
Grade D+, 300m, 5b/5c

La Cocarde – Saturday 25th July

Another beautiful, sunny day so back to La Poire.
The first pitch of La Cocarde has a tricky move to start with and the first bolt is quite high up but a nifty little nut placed in a convenient crack made all the difference to me! Above the steep start, there is a slab to traverse, a tree to climb around and a gully to step across to reach the belay. I led the next pitch too, stepping back over the gully and up to reach another travers with an airy step down then lovely steep climbing with excellent holds to the next belay.
The third pitch, Ron's, is all on the feet with very few holds but good friction and a litle steep wall to climb to reach the belay. This is followed by a walkable slab then two more pitches which Ron leads and each has its difficulties to keep us thinking.
Grade D+, 200m, 5c

We found some interesting anomalies between our two guidebooks - Escalades autour d'Ailefroide and Suisse Plaisir Sud. These differences seem to have come about as the most recent edition of Suisse Plaisir takes its grades from the original local Escalades autour d'Ailefroide guide book. Quite often the grades, number of pitches and belay locations were different as routes had been rebolted.
We learned that it was best to stick with the 2007 edition of the local guide book.

Ecrins Total – Friday 24th July

We didn't discover the climbing area of La Poire d'Ailefroide last year so it was great to find a whole new area of clean, slabby rock to climb on. The great thing about Ailefroide is the accessibility of the climbs as most can be reached from the campsite in under half an hour's walk. One of the classic and most popular routes is Ecrins Total, seven pitches mostly on slabs but with one or two steeper sections with harder moves and a tricky traverse on the third pitch.
Five abseils down a waterworn gully took us back to our sacks. The abseil line is shared with many of the routes that reach the top of the Poire and follows a line mostly well away from the climbs.
Grade D+, 200m, 5c

Orage d’etoiles – Wednesday 22nd July

We climbed up as far as the first belay experimenting with the direct and hardest start before opting for the slightly easier start. Once at the first belay, the spots of rain made us think again about continuing up the next ten pitches.
We abseiled off as the rain shower got heavier and the other groups higher on the route all retreated too.