Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Blue skies in Arolla

~ Thursday 30th July 2009

 Yes, perfect weather here this week - no wind, warm sunny days and clear cold nights, ideal alpine conditions.

After a night at the DIx hut we warmed up on the Luette (good effort to the 2 who reached the top just after us having started from Arolla!) and then traversed the Pigne d'Arolla the next day. The Pigne was in good condition - firm nevé meaning fast progress - but there  are some BIG crevasses opening up now, demanding respect and a long rope. Still plenty of "one in all in" ropework going on though, plus a team of 3 having lunch on an obvious snowbridge beneath the Mur de la Serpentine serac...

View from the top was amazing, from the Écrins to the Oberland, Mont blanc to Mont Rose.

Near the top of La luette

Short rope, big holes...

top of Pigne d'Arolla

Zermatt Breithorn

~ Saturday 25th July 2009

 A nice gentle end to the week yesterday with a quick ascent of the Breithorn. Cold and windy on top, but stunning views and some inspiration for next year!

breithorn summit and the Matterhorn

Looking the other way!

Arolla climbing

~ Thursday 23rd July 2009

Pictures from the Couronne de Bréona on Monday. This is a great low level rocky ridge traverse, ideal for acclimatising, or for days of dodgy weather. Approachable by a steep drive on a rough track from Forclaz, or walk in from the Moiry car park.

Couronne de Breona, climbing up to the Clocher

                               

  The long walk back from the Eveque, after turning round due to illness, tiredness, weather....excusesCrossing the glacier to the Vignettes hut from l'Eveque

Via Ferrata, Evolene

                                 

                           Today on the Evolene via ferrata, rushing to beat the imminent rain!

Arolla Climbing

~ Friday 17th July 2009

Great conditions here in Arolla for this week's Intro Alpine Climbing course. 

On the ridge above the Pas de Chevre

                                

                                    

                               After a glacier day and a rock day at the Pas de Chevre, we climbed the Mont Blanc de Cheilon from the Dix hut. Conditions are great here - we climbed the snow right of the rocky ridge that is the usual start to the normal route, traversed the "winter" summit and descended the spectacular winter ski route. 

Mont Blanc de Cheilon

Descending the winter route

                                  

                               Next day we climbed la Luette in some very  changeable weather, then went back down to Arolla. 

Another good glacier session on the way to the Vignettes hut on Thursday, but unfortunately the weather "window" closed for Friday! Big thunderstorms forced a retreat to the valley. A slightly disappointing way to end the week, but it really isn't worth taking chances in thunderstorms...

Mont Blanc Information

~ Saturday 11th July 2009

This year the St Gervais commune is again running the Mont Blanc Info scheme. All summer 2 "wardens " will be stationed at Nid d'Aigle and at the Tete Rousse. Their role is to inform, not to police, and they are both friendly guys who are happy to chat. They are also gathering information on numbers of climbers, success rates, problems, rescues, hut overcrowding, etc.

The warden tent at Tete Rousse

                                            

              There is also an excellent website here with all the info you need on hut prices, opening times, contact details, etc. 

This seems to be a pretty positive move by the commune. They have a serious issue with crowding on Mont Blanc - there are over 30 000 attempts every year!-  which causes safety and environmental problems, and this seems like a very reasonable way to deal with it and plan for the future.

Mont Blanc Success - Again!

~ Saturday 11th July 2009

 Yes, another successful Mont Blanc ascent with 4 out of 5 clients reaching top makes it 3 out of 3 this year.

We started the week with training and acclimatising at the Albert Premier and Trient huts, climbing the Aiguille du Tour and Petite Fourche. The weather was from from ideal with a mix of rain, snow, and sunny spells - on Tuesday there was 45cm of new snow at the Gouter hut. The forecast was promising better,  so on Wednesday we headed up to the Tete Rousse hut. 

Thursday brought perfect weather - cold and clear with no wind. Some teams left at 1.30am then turned back because of the cold. We left at 4.30am, reaching Gouter at 7.00, so were in the sun for the rest of the route, reaching the top above a great inversion.

10 minutes to the top!

Summit hug!

Descending the cables below the Gouter hut

 

Evolene Climbing Festival

~ Saturday 4th July 2009

 Party atmosphere today at Evolene Falaise du Pont. The crag has been tidied up and rebolted, with lots of new routes, and today there was a small "festival" to raise funds for more work. 

This is the crag visible from the road before Evolene. It's bigger than it looks, with routes up to 5 pitches and grades up to 8a. There's also plenty of good single pitch climbing as well as some aid routes, and today there were slack lines and zip lines rigged in the trees. 

Thanks to Jean-Marie and Stéphane for their efforts. 

Evolene Fakaise du Pont

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