Chamonix day tripping and the magic mountain...
This week I've been working for Stuart Macdonald around Chamonix with three delightfull gentlemen. I was a last minute substitute for a French Guide who couldn't continue with the work due to an injury. It's only the second period of work for me in Chamonix since most of my work has been in Switzerland this year. We spent a wonderfull three days starting with a traverse of the Entreves, and then an ascent of the Tour Rond by the SE Ridge (a route in much drier conditions now since our training course in June) and finally the East Ridge of the Triangle de Tacul. These are all routes that I have done before and know well, but the relaxed and enjoyable company of my client made for three great days in the mountains.
Thank you Dan, and I hope to get to share some cross country skiing with you this winter!
After that I teamed up with a girl from Thailand now working in Germany (and with an impressive flair for languages!) to make a day trip to Gastlossen with a plan to complete the famous traverse. Tatcha is pictured here right after most of the climbing section and well into the scrambling over the final towers. Excellent training ground for short pitching, short roping and moving together. Great preparation for my exam in September!
After a short rest I had my final work before my planned week off with Roeland. I teamed up with German guide to work with him on the normal route, West Ridge of the Bietschhorn. Now this is a mountain that you can identify on the skyline from many other summits around the Alps. It is quite distinctive in shape and isolated from other peaks. At almost 4000m, but not quite, it isn't as frequented as you might expect and is considered a 'connaisseurs' mountains. The peak may be beautifull, and we climbed it in great company but the normal route has a little too much lose rock for my taste. On my return Roeland told me that the other classic ridges on the mountain are much more solid and really quite enjoyable... next time I'll do one of those. The rock was only really solid right on the very crest, and then it was very exposed. For a 'warm-up' tour before doing the spaghetti tour around Monta Rosa Sandra has certainly picked a challenge!
The climb from the hut is about 1500m so it's a big day by anyones reckoning... and then combine it with the steep descent to the valley.... Phew! The two day hit was made special by sharing it with a really nice and friendly group of people. My client, a lovely lady who is also a highly talented paraglider at competition level- very impressive lady in her own right. Sandra- seen above powering up for the rest of the ascent of jumbled rubble.
On the right Till and Sandra can be seen walking back from the West Ridge of the Beitschhorn. Now I have a few days off to share with Roeland before I start work for the military on my units big summer Expedition to the Bernina and Bregaglia. Better recharge those batterieis!