August 05, 2014

Climbing the Aiguille de Peigne and the Gran Paradiso

Joe Stock leading the Climb for Conservation crew Ginna and Walt to the summit of the Gran Paradiso.

Despite the challenging weather and conditions in the Alps this summer, we've managed a few good climbs and summits. Last week, the Climb for Conservation team rolled in to Chamonix under grey and rainy skies. Our plan was to climb Mt. Blanc, but we opted for the Gran Paradiso in Italy after looking at the forecast.

Joe Stock- of huge Alaska fame - made a celebrity guiding appearance for the trip. The last time I worked with Joe was on the Gran Paradiso in 2012. On that trip, Joe encouraged me to paraglide from the summit snowfield, but this time, although I huffed the wing up to the Chabod Refugio, I decided to walk down the mountain. Not sure if that would be called maturity or cowardice?

Joe eating his signature baguette and banana sandwich. 

Libby trying to ignore the burro.

This little kid was running the burro operation.

Margot and Tom on top of the Gran Paradiso.

After spending a day sport climbing at the Church crag and getting rained on in town, Joe and I climbed the Aiguille de Peigne via the Arete de Papillon. We turned around at the base of the beautiful summit pitch - the Lepiney Crack - due to electrical activity.

Low on the route with the Bosson Glacier and Gouter Ridge in the background.

Joe on the ridge.


It was great to be climbing on beautiful granite again.

Looking out at the Aiguilles Rouges.

Joe on the Boite a  Lettres pitch graded a wet 6A. The Midi can be seen in the background.

Nearing the top of the Papillon Arete.

Climbing the ridge of the Peigne above the col de Peigne.

The last few minutes of blue sky.

Naturally, the afternoon forecast held true and we were engulfed in cloud near the top. Electrical activity was predicted and the Aiguille de Peigne would be a peigneful place with lightening crashing down!

Rapping from high on the Peigne.

Coming out of the Papillon gully with the North Face of the Aiguille de Midi in the background.

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