Besso, Grand Mountet

~ Sunday 1st September 2013

 We dodged showers and managed some good rock climbing on Tuesday - 6 pitches of Terry at Miéville, finshing just as it started raining, then some good single pitches at Dorénaz (It never rains at Dorénaz)

On Wednesday the forecast at last gave some hope, and we made the long ascent to the lovely Grand Mountet hut. This hut sits in one of the most impressive spots in the Alps, with stunning views of the Zinal 4000m peaks, and a fine herd of friendly Ibex. As the cloud cleared it was obvious that there was a lot of snow high up, so we changed plans for the lower Besso, which promised excellent technical ground on good rock. We weren't disappointed! After a bit of a slog up rough ground on the approach, the route quickly gains a fine position on the ridge with great climbing on solid red rock. The route is pretty obvious ( for once the AC guidebook is useful!) and is liberally marked with red paint dots! 

Early morning low on the Besso SW ridge

Tiny climbers on Besso

From the Besso summit you can retrace steps, but we continued on the the fine ridge to the Blanc de Moming. Seen from Besso it looks like an hour's scrambling but in fact it's a long and complex ridge with several pinnacles to deal with, a fair bit of "a cheval" shuffling, and huge exposure!

The airy edge of the first pinnacle

Looking back to Besso and climbers on the "a cheval" descent"

The snow ridge to Blanc de Moming

After a "proper" day on Thursday we opted for a shorter morning route on Friday - the excellent Mammouth traverse. This starts 10 minute from the hut and would hopefully leave time and legs for the long afternoon walk-out. 

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