Monday, 9 September 2013

25.8.13 - 3.9.13 Chamonix Classics

On the 25th August, Ethan and I headed to Chamonix.  During our short trip, we managed to get a trio of routes done consisting of Cosmiques Arete AD, the Chere Couloir D and Voie Frision Roche TD-.  Cosmique Arete was the first route on the list and very enjoyable.  The route itself was a great introductory route and although holding a lot of fresh snow, still provided some pristine Chamonix granite making for good climbing and some spectacular views of Chamonix and over the glacier.  The crux of the route is a short slab section with a slanting finger crack.  It is not bolted however it does take nuts very well and is slightly chizzled out so that your crampon front points will gain a positive foot placement.  after the crux the route moves out towards the North Face of the Midi on the Chamonix side and rejoins the viewing platform on the Midi via the shakiest ladder ever made.  The Chere Couloir had been on my ticklist for some time and we were super psyched to get on this well known classic.  starting at 0500hrs ensured we were first on the route which was one of our main objectives.  The route starts off steep and gets ever steeper in its first three pitches.  There are insitu bolted (mostly) belays, but be advised, they are a whole 60m pitch apart.  I wouldnt like to try this with 50's.  Pitches 1 - 3 provide the main difficulties with P3 being the crux, 55m of 80-85 degrees with a short section of 90.  By the time we had reached the end of the 5th pitch a french team had caught up with us due to the fact we had to re jig things at belays as I lead every pitch.  The French team wasted no time in keeping up the tradition of nearly killing others on the route by way of dislodging a massive block while level with me on the lead.  The block missed my ropes by about a foot and missed Ethans head by about a meter.  Enough said.  Once we had topped out, the French team joined us at the belay and asked if we wanted to abseil the route first.   A "not on your fucking life" reply saw them abseil first and we followed after a short period of time, returning to out tent on the glacier.  Our final route was another Cham classic, Voie Frision Roche on the Brevent.  In poor visibility but with good rock under our feet we climbed, swinging leads and soon came to the crux pitch, a 6a+/5.10a overhanging (only slightly) corner crack.  I lead the crux and found it quite tricky and thanks to some 'encouragement' from Ethan soon made the belay.  The next pitch was a very chossy traverse to the bottom of one of the finest looking lines anywhere in the Cham valley.  Happy with my crux lead and not wanting to hog all the good leads, I let Ethan take this superb looking line, which he dispatched quickly.
Ethan gets ready to go 

quick brew!

great climbing on Cosmiques Arete AD

Cosmiques Arete AD

Ethan approaching the crux of Cosmiques Arete AD

myself tackling the crux of Cosmiques Arete AD

after topping out on Cosmiques Arete AD

the Chere Couloir, D

Me heading off up P2 of the Chere Couloir, D

looking back down P2 on the Chere Couloir, D

getting steeper on the Chere Couloir, D

Ethan pulls over the crux of P3 on the Chere Couloir, D

Myself heading up P5, with our French friends to the right on the Chere Couloir, D

topped out, Chere Couloir, D

Ethan, happy with the route, if not international relations!

waiting to ab

Ethan leads off on P3 of Frison Roche TD-

Ethan on the superb last pitch of Frison Roche TD-

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