Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Quick hit in the Alps

We couldn't decide who's idea it was to come to the Alps at this time of the year, I had once had a trip in October and it was fantastic conditions and we did some pretty cool routes.  Now this trip was a little different.  On the drive out we were psyched, we had Philippe Batoux's finest routes guidebook and were inspired and ready to get some 'Batoux' points.  On arrival to Chamonix there was talk of snow, not only in the coming weeks but it had already fallen.  With hundreds of objectives running through our heads we settled on the brilliant Vent du Dragon on Aiguille du Midi.  Easy approach (4/5 abseils) and only 4 pitches....
I get to go first as I'm the 'youngest'!

...now, where is the next abseil station..?

Donald leading up to the crux pitch

Me leading up the crux pitch.  Bit of everything further up!

Pffftt!!  It was a complete body workout, a fight for survival, a swim, a wade, a thrutch, a scratch, a hook, a pull up, several more pull ups, a squeeze, a scream, a cry, a wimper, a snotty sniff and a bloody cold ordeal!  Everything was hard as we had alot of snow clearing to do.  Progress was slow for Donald, Guy and I (yes another Guy!), body temperatures plummeted as we waited on belays, limbs didn't function well after been threaded with strands of sub zero temperatures.  On member of the team said we should ware soft shells but I'm not going to name names...!

Guy showing us the way on the Cosmiques Arete
We battled on, having to do the route in 5 pitches which felt like Scottish 6.  A bit of a shock to the system after a brilliant summer of rock climbing!  As we missed the last lift down, a cold and uncomfortable night was spent in the Aigille du Midi (3842m) lift station until we could get a lift down to Chamonix the next morning.  We had an 'all you can eat' breakfast when we got down, there wasn't much left.
Nice to be back in the sun

With the forecast for more snow and only short weather windows we decided to head out and go sport climbing.  Next stop Ceuse!

Happy to be at the top

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