Snow in the Alps

~ Saturday 21st August 2010

The bad weather over last weekend has left a lot of snow in the Alps. We warmed up on the excellent via ferratas in Nax and Evolene, then headed south to the Grand Paradiso in search of better weather and proper coffee...

Nax via ferrata

After a night at the Vittorio Emmanuel hut we climbed Ciarforon - great snowy mixed climbing and a bit of "northern corries" feel!


loneliness of the long distance trailbreaker

 After a second night in the Chabod hut we set off for the Grand Paradiso and just reached the top before the bad weather arrived. Luckily there was a good track all the way - thanks! Another team found good conditions on the North West face, but took 3 hours to reach the start!

After lots of snowy mountaineering we chose something rocky to finish the week - the brilliant west ridge of the Dent de Tsalion. Even at "only" 3500m this was still plastered with snow, meaning some tricky climbing and a time consuming descent down the ramp back to the Tsa hut. 

Last year I had a rant about the new bolts on this route, placed by the local guides (not fat and old as I guessed at the time - sorry) There have been accidents on the exposed bits of grade IV climbing, and many people take a long time on this route, so it was decided to put bolts on the bold sections of this 110 year old climb. Here are 2 of them...both within 20cm of big holds and perfect runners. There is quite a lot of technical and delicate climbing on this route, so if you're not confident at grade IV in boots, perhaps take a pair of climbing shoes and a set of nuts just in case...

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