I knew I couldn't resist one more route. It had to be done, something inside my head was telling me it wasn't over. I as write this, I know for sure then my winter season is well and truly over. No more ice axes, skis, 4 season sleeping bags. No more 'shiver bivi's', no more hot aches, no more crampons and no more melting snow. I can now look forward to rock climbing, bbq's, sunshine, sea, cold beers, flip flops and scottish weather (oh...well that could be any of the above!? eek!)
This winter season has been fantastic and this alpine trip has been the icing on the cake. Since my last post I spent 3 days in Oltre Finale on the Italian Coast. Nope, I wasn't enjoying the comforts of the beach but enlightening myself as to how strong my fingers are after holding ice axes for several months. Despite not being the strongest they have ever been, I was still happy with what I climbed, both Uisdean and I were climbing exactly the same so had I been much much weaker I would probably have got a wee bitty upset.
After 3 days in Finale, it had stopped snowing int he mountains, so back to Chamonix for one last route. Bearing in mind, the last route I tried in the mountains was the Grande Jorasses, and failed again, (I have history here, when I fail on the Grande Jorasses I succeed elsewhere (Eiger 2010, Matterhorn 2014). This time would I suceed on Les Dru?
I remember first setting eyes on the Dru, back then it was an impossible peak, something that I could only ever look at. Years later coming back as a climber, it cried out as an iconic objective, a mountain which would require all I have to give. It came together for us on this trip. I was teamed up with the youthful Uisdean, a Scottish winter climbing warrior and we climbed the North Couloir Direct (ED2) on the North Face. The route breaks off the Cechinel-Jager route after 300m, which leads to 3 amazing pitches which we thought were in the range of Scottish 8/9. I knew it was going to be hard, i had huge doubts in my mind as to whether this was the right route for me. Could I get up it? Should I even bother leading? 3 hard pitches, 2 climbers, who does what? When did I last climb grade 8? or even grade 9? Oh well....lets give it a shot. I'm just glad it worked out. Definitely the best route I have climbed in the Alps so far and kept me psyched for more!
Spot the fault
I'm back in the UK now after another week down in Finale doing some more rock climbing, some biking, some swimming and plenty of pizza and wine. A great trip away from home and ready to get back to work...well....sort of!