Friday, November 30, 2007

North Face of Les Droites..

The weather has been good in Chamonix for the last few days, allowing Andy Keith and I to get out on the hill.

Unfortunately most of the lifts are not running at the moment, resulting in some big walks from the valley. We opted to head up to the Argentiere hut (using snowshoes) before climbing the North Face of Les Droites via the 'Ginat' route.

The initial ice slope was in good condition with good neve/snow ice. However, higher up the crux pitch was too thin to climb resulting in a difficult and time consuming mixed pitch.

It appears that more snow is forecast in the next few days, which may mean the end of the good autumn climbing conditions...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Skiing in Saas Fee..

Keith, Andy and myself headed over to Saas Fee (Switzerland) yesterday to sample some fresh powder.

Conditions were good despite limited visibility, the vast majority of the ski area being open. Back in Chamonix the weather appears to be improving in the next couple of days.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

La Fayet dry tooling and early Cogne ice!...

The weather had been changeable over the last few days in the Mont Blanc massif. On Tuesday we decided to visit the drytooling venue referred to as the 'Dry Spa' in La Fayet.

Under the recommendation of local Mountain Guide Jonny Baird, we quickly managed to get desperately pumped arms on some of the easier routes. Normally climbed with rock boots, these routes are given French sport grades, using small drilled holes for your axes. Definately worth while for a bit of a work out.

Yesterday, we opted for a slightly more traditional day and decided to head through the tunnel into Italy. It was snowing steadily all day with the temperature hovering around minus 2. The ice is building fast in Cogne, and although many routes are sill incomplete, we managed to climb about 250-300m of Scottish III style ice.

More snow is forecast this afternoon and this evening, and as such it might mean a return to skiing for the next few days..

Monday, November 19, 2007


Andy, Keith and myself skinned up to Tete de Balme from La Tour today to stretch the legs. The snow was good high up after the last few days snow fall.

It looks like the weather here is set to be unstable in the Chamonix Valley for the next few days unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Excellent ice in the Alps...

Dan Heywood and John Watts have been out in Chamonix over the weekend; where conditions have been good for some time.

They climbed the Migot spur on the Chardonnet (pictured) and noticed other teams on the Forbes arete, and many of the goulottes on the right hand side of the face. The summit also gives a good view into the Argentiere basin, Dan describing the conditions as "looking good" from a distance.

Other teams have also been active with Mark Ryle doing the North Face of Les Droites with the Ginat finish and Andy and Ross climbing the uber classic Colton-MacIntyre.

Hopefully things will remain the same until the first major snow falls arrive yeilding some chest deep powder!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Single Pitch Award Training (part 2)..

Dave Hollinger and myself visited Stanage High Neb area today for the second part of Adventure Unlimited's Single Pitch Award Training course.

The day consisted of various technical 'rigging' scenarios for groups including top and bottom rope belay systems, group abseils as well as dealing with potential problems.

The weather has been cool and clear, with many people out enjoying the excellent conditions. Stanage as a whole was busy, most of the car parks being full.

It looks like this fine weather may well continue after some light showers on Monday..

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Single Pitch Award Training..

Dave Hollinger, Mal Creasey and myself have been out at Burbage North today to deliver Adventure Unlimited's Single Pitch Award (SPA) Training course.

The conditions were excellent with crisp grit and clear skies. We spent the day looking at personal climbing skills, belays, anchor selection, fixed abseils as well as the remit of the SPA scheme.

Following this we made a brief visit to The Edge Climbing Centre to look at the use of walls, bouldering and 'peer to peer' belaying techniques. The course is due to continue tomorrow, looking at essential group skills.