Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Mont Blanc and Zermatt 4000s

~ Sunday 29th June 2008

A great week with - at last - settled weather. We started in Zermatt, staying at the excellent Alpenhof hotel http://www.alpenhofhotel.com/ , and climbed the Breithorn, Castor and Pollux.

Reaching the top of Castor

Mark climbing the chains on Pullux

                                

Feeling fit and acclimatised, we moved over to Chamonix and climbed the Cosmiques route on Mont Blanc - a great end to the week. Conditions are good now on Mont Blanc, with the recent snow consolidated into good firm surface.

Mont Blanc summit

Aiguille du Midi

~ Friday 20th June 2008

There is still a huge amount of snow above 3000m. Pics here of the Grandes Jorasses and Tacul from the Aiguille du Midi.

Grandes Jorasses from Midi

Mont Blanc du Tacul from Midi

               

While this means the high mountains are in poor condition, we found great conditions on Pointe Lachenal,

Pointe Lachenal traverse

                                  

We then went over to the Cosmiques Arete, and arrived just as the Spanish Army took over!

Spanish army exercise on the Cosmiques Arete!

                      

This is the first abseil. After the second, there are plenty over options for overtaking. Here's British guide Jonny Baird following us up the chimney left of the normal aid pitch.

Cosmiques variation

Mont Blanc

~ Saturday 14th June 2008

Just back from a Mont Blanc week with very snowy conditions. Only five teams left the hut, and we were trail breaking through fresh snow right from the door. A couple of teams reached the top earlier this week, but we turned back at the Vallot hut in deep snow and cold winds - still a great day out, with so few people on the mountain.

Tete Rousse hut

 

Tim and Mark acclimatising on "Arete a Laurence", below the Cosmiques hut

 

              

In snowy conditions the ridge below the Cosmiques hut is a good climb, finishing on the hut terrace. Worth doing as a start to the Cosmiques arete.

Mont Blanc from Dome de Gouter, Vallot hut bottom left

 

"Scottish" weather...

~ Tuesday 3rd June 2008

The unsettled spell continues with strong winds and more snow above 3000m. The Foehn wind is carrying Saharan sand, so there's a strange layer of brown snow, and sandy rime on the Cosmique Arete yesterday.

Looking up the abseil on the Cosmiques Arete

This is climbable in most conditions, but felt more Aviemore than Alpine yesterday - rime, thick clouds and 80km/hour gusts - but no-one else on the route!

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