Saturday, 5 July 2008

In Chamonix

The summer guiding season has started for Team Ascent in Chamonix and here we are,(Richard, Kathy and Sandy) on a traverse of the Aig. D'Entreve, which borders Italy and France. We did this interesting rock ridge last Monday as an acclimtaisation route before guiding Richard on the N. face of the Tour Ronde. The Tour Ronde is featured in the last photo of this post and takes a line which climbs up the right hand side of the lower triangular ice field and then climbs through "the narrows", which is about three and half ice pitches (rope lengths) at an angle of around 55-60 degrees. This leads on to the upper inverted triangular shaped ice field ice, where the angle kicks back a bit and leads to easier ground and some interesting rock climbing which lead to the summit. The lower sections are climbed in the dark and we left the Torino mountain hut at around 3.00 am and approched the face and climbed by head torch light thus ensuring (one hopes) that the ice and snow slopes remain frozen. This helps to keep the face safe(ish) and any potential rock fall is reduced as everything should be frozen and secured into the ice. As the sun dawns, and strikes the upper part of the face, the warmth thaws the snow and ice fields and falling stones invariably tumble.

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