Sunday, 3 August 2014

A wet week in Chamonix with Paul and Simon

After Ali had left and taken the sunshine with her, I met up with Paul and Simon.  The idea was to complete a few acclimitisation routes in order to prepare for and undertake upon an ascent of Mont Blanc.  The first day was a total write off, heavy persistent rain had forced us to participate in a free wifi pilgrimage of Chamonix.  Day two wasnt much better but we agreed if nothing else we should atleast start the acclimitisation process and took the lift up the Midi.  From the top station, we made our way down the ridge and across the Col du Midi to the Cosmiques hut at the base of the Cosmiques Arete where we had some coffee and a bit of whinging about the weather before the inevitable slog back up to the midi top station to get the lift back down to Cham.  The next day out was a little better and gave us a good 14hr weather window.  Given the uncertain nature of the weather, we decided on a good quick hit on a traverse of the Pointes Lachenal.  This is a great AD route which takes in 3 high points along a short(ish) ridge which the guys managed no problem.  Unfortunately the weather didnt play ball, with a lot of heavy snowfall in the previous days and no real break in the conditions I decided that it was unjustifiably risky to go anywhere near the 3 monts route.  I was saddened to hear on my return to the UK that 2 Italian climbers were killed in an avalanche on this route the day after we had decided not to press on.  What we did do, was to go up to the cosmiques hut and spent the night there, making for a good early start on the Cosmiques Arete the next morning.  Although we were all disappointed not to summit Mont Blanc, the guys did have a good few days out and it was a great introduction to alpine mountaineering.  I'd like to congratulate Paul and Simon on their successes on the Cosmiques and on Pointe Lachenal, the big bastard will still be there next time lads :)

the guys after topping out on Cosmiques Arete

Pea soup on the first day up high

gorgeous view

better weather for Pointe Lachenal!

Paul and Simon with the Aiguille du Midi in the background

making our way to the first Pointe up a snowslope

Paul and Simon on the fist Pointe

Paul, Simon and myself on the last Point of the traverse

Pointe Lachenal with weather closing in from the Italian side

Paul on the 2nd abseil on Cosmiques Arete

Simon and Paul just after the crux

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