The Giant’s Tooth

Last weeks climb on the Dent du Geant. 4000m at sunset might be the highlight of my summer. Tim captured the sunset with his photographic wizardry

Tim Oliver Alpinist

Earlier this week Joel, Ali and I headed up to attempt one of Chamonix’s classic alpine challenges, the Dent du Géant (or the “Giant’s Tooth” for those who don’t parle français). The Dent is an exceptionally aesthetic peek that soars out of the long ridge line defining the the French-Italian border and is one of Chamonix’s most recognisable and coveted peaks.

Our original plan was to grab a lift up high via the Aiguille du Midi in the mid-afternoon, find ourselves a nice spot to camp beneath the peak that evening then go and attempt to climb the peak the following morning. However, when we met at the Midi at 2pm Ali suggested scrapping this plan and heading over to climb the peak there and then. Joel and I weren’t convinced at first, being more mentally prepared to spend the afternoon eating lots of food and doing bugger all. However, Ali’s persistence paid off and he soon had…

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Pyramide du Tacul East Ridge 250m, 5a, D-

With the relentless baking sun beating down on the glaciers it has become the norm this summer to avoid snow routes. I had not been on the Pyramide before and hearing great things about its east ridge I headed up with Grant for his first Alpine adventure.

Knowing the crux of the day would be finding a good point to get off the glacier and onto the rock we headed up first bin to maximise our time. The glacier has opened up some big holes around the base of the climb and the start looks alot different from the topo i was working from taken just two years ago by Jon Griffith.

We made it onto the rock after a couple of dead ends in the endless crevasses and started up the rock, moving together about 08:30.

The rock is superb and the route finding pretty straight forward, following the odd stuck piece of gear and countless belays. The sun was hot and we were moving fast, just next two another British team of two.

Grant moved quick considering he forgot his rock shoes on his first rock climb off the midi, slabs in Scarpa Nepals are not great at the best of times. After 4 hours of amazing cracks, flakes and slab we hit the top. Rapping straight off the summit down the south face we had one rope jam, that came free after some loud cursing, then made quick work getting back to the Panoramic on the Italian side by 4pm. The traverse was made scary by some very wide, very thin melting snow bridges. Not for the faint of heart. Greeted by some Germans in the small bubbles who offered us some much needed water. A great day up high, and nice to escape the crowds of the high street.

Made it to the panoramic

Made it to the panoramic