September 15, 2014

Climbing and Flying the Frendo Spur, Chamonix

Joe Stock never misses a burro shot. The Frendo Spur climbs the rock buttress just left of the beast's left ear.

For many years, I felt like the only person in Chamonix who hadn't climbed the Frendo Spur. Between work and flying and utter laziness, it just never worked out. But this year, the ducks rowed up enough for Joe and I to climb the classic route. I did a fair bit of internet trolling before getting on the climb. Afterall, the lift hours are short at this time of year and we didn't want to lose the route and suffer the indignity of not making it back to town. What I found was that most of the route descriptions were useless but that the photos were invaluable. The route was climbed in the 40's so if you follow your nose, look at some photos and take the obvious weaknesses, the route finding should work out. Unless it doesn't. In which case, call for a rescue.

The route was dry when we did it on September 11 and we climbed it in rock shoes with not more then 25 meters of rope between us. A single rack to Camalot #3 worked well with a few ice screws for the upper slopes. The most heads up section was probably crossing the bergschrund at the start of the climb. 

Photo from the camp to camp website.

I cheated and scoped the route from the air the previous day. The transition from rock to snow is in the sunshine at bottom right.

Close-up of the bivy sites and the start of the snow arete.

Low down on the initial low angle ramp.

Somewhere on the buttress.

Climbing the crux pitch just above the exposed col.

Going for the snow.

Finally on the snow arete.

Hey wait for me!

When we got to the snow, Joe took off like a weasel!

Putting those BD picks to good use.

Second to last pitch.

Joe on the second to last pitch before the steepish ice.

The Aiguille de Midi needle in atmospheric conditions.

Trying to pull the ice cave down.

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