September 08, 2014

Ten Days Guiding in France, Switzerland and Italy

Day 3. Mike A climbing the Entreves Traverse , Italy.

After a summer of wet and stormy weather, the sun finally decided to come out. I'd say that Mike A brought the clear skies with him from Texas, but after climbing with him in Canada over the past few years, I can say that Mike and good weather do not always go hand in hand. In 2012, we fought our way up Mt Assiniboine and then got pummeled at the Abbot Pass Hut. The following year, Mike and I took the beats on Mt. Athabasca. So I suppose we were due for a little sunshine.

Over the past ten days, we climbed a great assortment of rock, snow and ice routes between France, Italy and Switzerland. Mike's main objectives were to a) climb as much snow as possible because they don't have snow in Texas! b) photograph the flowers and c) never trod on the actual summit of any peak. 

Many thanks to Mike for being a great climbing partner over the past ten days! 

Day 1. Quiet day on the Arete de Cosmiques. The moody weather kept the crowds away.

Day 2. There were six parties on the Chere Couloir so we turned our attention to Pointe Lachenal.

Day 3. Taking the Helbronner to Italy with Mt. Blanc de Tacul, The Grand Capucin and the Tour Ronde in the background.

The Aiguille Noire as seen from the Torino Hut.

Day 3. Entreves Traverse.

Still on the Entreves.

Day 4. One night at the Torino Hut (3375 meters) was too much for us to handle so we walked down the 228 steps to the cable car and returned to Chamonix via Courmayeur and the Mt. Blanc Tunnel.

Day 5. A mellow climb on the Index at Flegere,

Day 6. Looking back at the Aiguille de Midi from the Midi Plan Traverse. 

The Midi Plan Traverse was much steeper and icier than when I did it one month ago! In this section, heading down to the Col de Plan, Mike and I dropped on to the steeper north and south faces in order to have the ridge act as protection between us.

We opted to climb the steeper but more secure rock whenever we could.

Avoiding the icy slopes just past the Col de Plan.

Climbing back up the steep, exposed ridge with the North Face of the Midi below.

Day 7. Buddy tries to fly his speed wing into the open door of the Brevent Cable Car.

Day 7. Mike and I climb the Frisson-Roche (6a) on the Brevent.

Still day 7. We top out the Frisson Roche to behold this holy spectacle.

Day 8. I don't always take pictures of food, but when I do, I make sure to post them on the internet. After seven train transfers, we arrive at the Monch Hut in Switzerland.

The Swiss take their signs seriously.

I never knew that Pissoir was a word. 

Day 9. Climbing the Monch!

Day 10. The Monch and Eiger as seen from the Jungfrau.

Mike A as close to the summit of the Jungfrau without actually touching the summit of the Jungfrau. We topped out at 9 am and, seven train transfers later, made it back to Chamonix by 7:30 that evening.

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