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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

OK, skiing is fun. Now back to climbing ;-)

Easy goulotte climbing?  My favorite!

Normally a fat. full body width 70 degree ice tongue.  Today the crux.  Dry tooling and pure rock climbing in monos up a scruffy off width crack @ M5+.  Character building.
The "in" version, same pitch, on easy ice.
photo courtesy of

Always my favorite here, steep frozen gravel and asphalt hard, dry winter ice. Give me some wind, -15C temps and put me at almost 4K meters. Easy to forget how much fun (or not) you can have out and about :-)

If  you aspire to climb bigger routes in the Mtn Blanc range the North side of the Midi offers a great place to acclimatize.   It is high, 3777m, cold and generally the snow/ice conditions are poor when I have been here.  But hard to beat the Midi tram for access...up and down as long as you make the last lift down.  Bivy in the loo is still a right of passage but also rather dismal.

 Alpine climbing is nothing if not about the conditions.  Dry ice routes can be slow and demanding.  Climbing steep frozen gravel trying.  Below is a picture of the normal crux's chimney bed  in dry conditions of the Goulotte Profit / Perroux III 4, M5.  A bit harder in dry conditions. Still the P/P,  one of the easier routes, of half dozen or so, climbing out of the Cunningham Gully under the bridge to finish on the upper half of the Cosmic Arete.



But not all our efforts were in vain there was "some" ice to be found eventually!
Some cold powder snow, and even the occasional bit of elusive neve hidden in there as well. 
Alpine climbing?  Always a learning experience, always some mistakes, even on the good days.  Always, always wanting to go faster and be stronger.  Easy to forget just how trying even the "easy"routes can be.  All best truly appreciated with a smile on your face no matter how miserable you are at the moment or how slow your partner is!
Same climb, with more ice, 2 years ago in April.


Bruno Schull said...

Hi Dane. Love the pictures. I've climbed that route twice; once with a guide, once with a partner. When my partner and I climbed that pitch, it was a thin ice ramp, and the crux was the usual mixed move in the chimney above. I agree, it's a straight-forward route and felt completely comfortable to climb. On the other's all relative. Sure, compared to the bigger routes, it's easy, and the approach does not get any easier, but it is the full package: high, cold, rock, ice, dry tooling, placing protection, ridge climbing, rappels. I guess that's why it's so compelling. Aside from the fact that it's so close to the station, it's one of my favorite routes :)

Dane said...

JC, lots of good ice being climbed here. We just made a bad choice for ice but didn't really care one way or the other on conditions. Just wanted a short moderate climb with and easy on and off.