When I put my skis away in June after skiing the Brenva Spur I was ready for a long summer of Alpine climbing. Looking back three months later it didn’t really feel like I accomplished a great deal.
Although this is a list of classic D grade climbs I am left feeling slightly annoyed that I didn’t make the most of only working 20 hours a week. Last summer and especially over the winter I felt I made the most of my ‘Work Part-Time/ Play Full-Time’ lifestyle that I have somehow managed to attain.
This summer has been different to the last few mainly because of the ridiculous heatwave that hit the Alps. Being from South Wales I’m not used to the sun and cannot function well when the temp is in the high 20’s. Although there is plenty of climbing to be done around Chamonix, I’m not one for ‘crushing’ sport routes down the valley or climbing splitter off the Midi. If I am climbing rock I like it to be an adventurous outing like the Grepon Mer-de-Glace. On routes like this you get the feeling you are out in the mountains away from the crowded routes that the Aiguille du Midi delivers (Climbed the Dent du Geant at 4pm thus no guided groups). The Grepon: Mer-de-Glace has to be the highlight of my summer. On the go for 17hours including the long walk back to Chamonix from the summit of the Grepon is what Alpinism is all about.
Climbing the Epron Cosmiques and the Pyramide du Tacul has also shown me that despite them being short alpine crags I can still have fun in the mountains even when it is 30’c for the whole summer. Leading trad routes in the high 5’s has been my downfall over the last few years. Always opting to climb routes with high 5/low 6 sections with stronger climbers who I will normally nominate to lead the crux sections. However, heading to routes like these being the ‘stronger’ climber has taught me to push myself from time to time and be prepared to take a whipper (thankfully I didn’t) and prove I can develop my rock skills without having to climb more sport routes.
Here are a few photos from the summer. Thanks for visiting and after a two month working holiday I will be back with more skiing related posts! Winter is coming.