Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Welcome to the"Scoff-a-lot club"

Well, how often do you hear adults saying negative things about our younger folks? They are of course quite wrong and it's a pity that sometimes our ambitions and dreams for our futures can be put on the back burner! But stop that negative behaviour and please just look at the photos here of these outstanding samples of European youth! Alex and James have been climbing in Chamonix yet again. We were up at five this morning and after a breakfast of stale bread (adults give you that to eat you know!) We climbed this wonderful arete. We finished at the Aig du Midi and in the distance you can see the summit of Mont Blanc which is their objective for the following couple of days. Right now, as I post this blog we are back in Chamonix, the lads are probably laying in the sun, exercising their thumbs on some computer game and earning their well deserved membership to the "scoff a lot club"!

Classic rock climbs

We spent night at the Torino Mountain Refuge and then did a traverse of the Aig Entreves.. Amazingly I met my new neighbour from the bunk house in Newtonmore..... We hardy have time to chat when we are at home so it was good to see him here in the mountains.

Preperations for an ascent of Mont Blanc

Here are photos of Alex and James Ausden. They are here for a week with me in and around Chamonix. They have not climbed before but are really amazing and want to climb Mont Blanc and we are spending our days doing just that. They are fit young guys and rather than snow plod around the easier summits they are keen to try climbs which are a bit more technical but still at altitude, so that while testing themselves on some interesting climbs they are still acclimtiasing and getting ready for the Mont Blanc summit attempt.
The photos shown here are of Point Lachenal and then climbing a ridge overlooking Italy.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Italy rocks!

The weather has been quite wild here the high mountains around Chamonix and last night it rained so much in the valley that everything was soaking wet this morning. It must also have put down quite a bit of snow at altitude.
Rather than hang around waiting for better weather Lisa , Neal and I drove through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy and rock climbed in the peaceful Valley di Champorcher above the Val D'Aosta.
We have had a superb day of technical rock climbing in glorious sunshine. Returning to Chamonix this evening we had to endure about an hours wait in the traffic ques at the tunnel. As we popped out of the tunnel the weather was still not so good in France. The mist is still down low but the air is cooler right now as I sit outside the Chamonix tourist office posting this blog. It's forecast to be a good sunny day tomorrow. Rock on!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Technical Rock Climbing Skills day: Chamonix

It has been an interesting weather day as a front passed over the mountain range today We awoke to mares tails and a mackerel sky then lenticular clouds were on the higher summits, now the clouds are down and it's all very grey! Rather than venture high onto the snow and endure the high winds we decided to remian in the valley and climbed several rock routes instead. While we climbed we reviewed some basic rock climbing skills such as belaying and rope work and then focused on climbing technique, stance organisation for multi- pitched routes, abseiling and even hauling systems for crevasse rescue! It been an ace day and the rain stayed away until we completed our final multi- pitched climb at Vallorcine.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Awesome climbing

What a fantastic day we have had in Chamonix. Here are Lisa and Neal on the Arete du Midi and then having a good time on theArete des Cosmiques....

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Sure footed around Chamonix

The girls are back in town and enjoying some day walks around the valley. Lots of wildlife they said!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Tour des Dents du Midi

Our Tour des Dents du Midi trip has just finished and the ladies are now heading for their flights in Geneva. We were very lucky with the weather and views were stunning from meadows full of flowers to grand mountain scenary. The photos below are of the Michelle, Kathy, Kim, Anette, Sara and Andrea chilling at the Bonavau hut after a long day and us arriving at the final Col de Susanfe before descending back down to the valley.

Stunning views of the sheer cliffs of the Dents du Midi range.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Industrial Rope Access

" Is that a hellicopter below me?"
Yes, it certaily was.. We were working high today....

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Alpine walks and free Tibet

The weather in the Alps has been stunning recently with occasional thunder storms to clear the air. Kathy is heading off tomorrow morning to start the 4 day Tour Du Dents Du Midi trek with 6 lovely ladies from the Lake District. The walk circuits this mountain range taking in views over the Rhone valley and lake Geneva. They will be staying in Gites overnight and the whole walk is in Switzerland. For more details on this walk see the Team Ascent website under Alpine walks. Kathy and Michelle spent 3 days previously on part of the Tour du Mont Blanc walking the section between Les Houches and Courmayeur. Above and left are views looking from the Italian side over towards the Mont Blanc range.

In the meantime back in chamonix Free Tibet demonstrations are going on and the group of protesters are planning to circuit the Tour du Mont Blanc, already many of the huts are flying the Free Tibet flag.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Traverse of the Gran Paridiso, Italy

From the Chabod refuge we went to the summit and came down by the Victor Emmanuel refuge... It was an ace day with great views from the summit. Only the summit of Mont Blanc was shrouded in stormy dark grey cloud, so all of us who made the last minute change of plan were deligted to have sneaked in this fantastic summit. By the time we returned to the valley large rain drops began to pour down....

Gran Paridiso

The Gran Paridiso is the highest mountain in Italy, some may argue, but it really is. There are higher ones but they border with Switzerland The Gran Parisdso is the only on ethat sits totaly in Italy. Last Thursday and Friday the conditions were really poor on Mont Blanc with fresh snow and eletrical storms where unfortunatley some groups were struck. So, no one made the summit over those few days, so James, Jon and I decided to cut our losses and turned back at the top of the Bellevue cable car after speaking to some retretaing Mont Blanc guides and their clients. Instead we headed away throught the Mont Blanc tunnel to the famed Paridiso national park and spent the night in the Refuge Chabod and climbed the Gran Paridiso on Friday

The Mountain Guides who did the first ascent of the Gran paridiso.