Jul 15, 2012

Great unsuspected warm up, classic Chamonix

a little bit of everything

With a meteo that beats everything regarding bad, heavy wind, snow slabs and interval rain showers, the focus most be on lower altitude routes.

The 12th of July will in many ways stay as a reminder of this, with one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single accident in Chamonix. A huge avalanche triggered on the way up toward col Mont Maudit on the Cosmique route towards Mont Blanc.

This will for a long time be remembered in the Chamonix valley, really tragic with nine people dead. Both guides, clients and regular "tourist" climbers.

Our thoughts are with their families and relatives!

Only next day an other pair of climbers disappear on the Voi Goutier in bad weather. To be found later frozen to death. The winds during this day reach over 100km/h!

Weather over Dome du Miage

The Arête Mettrier up Dome du Miages north side is a mostly enjoyable route. Never hard, a bit loose here and there. But still a worthwhile climb up the 1100 meter ridge/arête to col du Miage 3367.

The walk up to the route is best done from la Gruvaz via ref. du Miage, one of the refuges on Tour du Mont Blanc, TMB.

Ref. Plan du Glacier 2750

An overnight at Ref. Plan du Glacier is an other nice thing here, a small but charming hut that only takes a small amount of people.

Ref du Plan, it's terrace is one of the best in the Alps, as well as Isabelle's Tartiflette!

Mettrier is easily reached in about 30min from the refuge and the equipment needed is a 30m rope, ice axe and crampons. Maybe, a couple of nuts...

The only difficulties are at the start and then the last bit over the snow cornice. An overall grade of D/D+

Upper part of arête Mettrier

The descent from Miage is made either via the full traverse over Aig. Bèrangére or down the glacier passing ref. Conscrites
But, I most recommend a stop and overnight at ref. Tre la Tête. The chambrés as well as the cousiné are...(y) tip top
An other great day in the mountains

Traversé aig. Du Plan

This is an other classic route in Chamonix. Never difficult but just airy and scenic. A most worthwhile climb, one more!

Traversé Aig' du Plan, with Midi in the background

Start from Midi top station, walk down the snow arête and continue over the ridges overlooking Chamonix valley. With a lightweight equipment of only crampons and ice axe together with a rope and maybe a couple of ice screws and some slings for securing some of the passages. The route is straightforward and never complicated. For the full travers a 50m rope makes it easier, because of one involved rappel.

A nice spot to finish the thermos, Aig du Plan traverse

Exposed terrain on Aig. du Plan traverse, high above Chamonix

Lower goals

When one get tired to slide around in crampons, the choise to go sportclimbing is easy made. And a really nice sportclimbing area to hang out is le Bionnassey. Technical climbing on steep limestone.

The area Biologique has a whole bunch of high star routes, 6b to, mostly, 7b and higher

Since my idea was to take an easy day, actually my plan was to stay low around the sofa and do a bit of reading, but the climbing soul wanted otherwise. So I thought at least, stay on a maximum in the register of 6es. Said an done, a 6c was chosen for warm up, worked well, felt hard but the holds was there. Until I was told from below that, ooh, that's a hard 7b+ your on, go for it!

Ok, at least it feels better if I fall of now!

Turned out i was enjoying Massive Attack 7b+, a great unsuspected warm up. Not only just three but even four ****! A long sustained journey.


Bio-éthique, 6c+, a *** star route on perfect rock, one of many at Bionnassay

The routes up here are quite long so bring a minimum of 60m rope. And at least 12 QD's. The bolts are good in general , but sometimes it's a bit distance between them.

Le arête Index, Flégère

Aig. Rouge, if you seek you...L'index

A very nice, easy and quality route is arête l'index. Which is reached via téléférique Flegere and the top chairlift. Only obstacle is if there is a chance of thunder, then they are pretty quick to close the chairlift. And the walk down in that case looks long...!


The route it self only needs a couple of QD's a few longer slings and a few nuts/cams. But, for the rappel it's nice with 2x50m rope, or better 2x40m.

Since we are on this side. The Brevent area on Aig Rouge, same side as Flegere, has a big number of easy accessed climbs, mostly bolted routes. In the whole register from 5c to 7b. At this time of year the tourist season is on hard, so beware of the Concassage de la Pierre de public...

But if you seek you find! And there is a most enjoyable 7a selfprotected crack climb over four pitches just under the top cabin.

Premiere du Corvée, 160m, 7a is an exception from the bolt lines. Even tough there are some spits, most of it needs a bit of extra gear. Sadly it's a bit unnecessary bolts on it, but still ok. A very nice climb at it's grade. And the approach is more than easy as well as the even easier descent.

Très belle fissure on du Corvée

Reach the base up some fix cordes and start in the big dihedral out left of Frison Rouge, the most classic route around here.

Anna enjoying crack climbing on Aig Rouge

The first pitch is the hardest graded, but the placements are perfect and the friction is there. Overall a sustained route well worth it and not so crowded as its neighbor le Frison


Summit pitch

Top pitch of Premiere du Corvée

Site to French refuges, go here

Equipment for Premiere du Corvée

8QD, Cams: Green to Red Alien, 0,75 to no3 Camalot, a small set of wires, 1x50m rope



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