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~ Wednesday 14th September 2011

 The beautiful Chabod hut has an excellent webcam which has been showing a very white North West face of the Gran Paradiso for a few days now despite some warm weather - a promising sign that it's actually well covered and not just a dusting. From close up the face still looked good...

Reaching the bergschrund from the hut takes longer than you'd think - a good 3 hours of moonlit moraine-stumbling and some huge crevasses. It was a relief when the first axe placement at the bergchrund was perfect...and the next...and the next. The whole face turned out to be covered in 5-10cm of squeaky snow-ice, 500m of first-time placements.

Radek can't believe how good the snow is...

The mini-Madonna has gone!