Oct 3, 2015

Balme - Vallée d´Arve - Chamonix

Balme - Vallée d´Arve - Chamonix

Climbing on Balme is one of my favorite climbing areas in d´Arve. Its south facing wall keeps warm enough do be climbable all year round. Well, it might be a bit to warm during july-august. 
But I have had some great days there in december as well as february, in between skiing days.
The approach is nothing but short and quick. La vieux de la montagne might be one of the most complicated to get to…and it is still super easy. So if you have the effort of a max 15min approach, it might be a good choice.

Expect anything on Balme...

The climbing
The limestone is overall steep and crimpy. But a bit of friction on slabs as well. 

The only issue is the effect of parking the car. This fall it was a big rockfall which took out a car completely. That ”pocket” is nowadays closed. But the grass field between the road bend isn’t super safe either.

Last week I took some days off and climbed some off, in my opinon best routes.
First out was the classic ”Punk not dead”. A straight forward 5 pitch route at 6b max. Some loose holds at the start but after it just gets better and better. The 4th 6a+ pitch is close to perfect. And now there is both new bolts and re-equipped anchors.

Anna on the crux section of la vieux de la Montagne

An other great climb is its neighbor ”Zébra” A 6c max route which has a couple of boulder crux sections at the top pitches. But again at this date at least, very good bolts and not to far between them. The first and fifth pitch is amazing. But except the 6th rope length it is a very uniformed route.

Steep climbing on Zébra

A little shorter but still well worth the effort of climbing is ”les parapluies de Cherbourg”. A 7a+ Piola route. Steep and crimpy!

Then ”les Jardins de Neptune”, a 7a classic. With a very smooth 3rd pitch and a close to desperate 4th one. Three 6c rope lengths in a row that keeps the focus up.

Cruxing at one of the 6c pitches of Zébra

An other nice climb is "La vieux de la Montagne” 6c max. Very good climbing on compact and steep rock. Pay attention on the start of the 3rd pitch, if you like me aim for the bolts going out to the right you will end up on a 7b instead…

Airy rappelling of "de la Montagne" 

How to get there.
Between Cluses and Magland. Follow route D1205 and take the road towards Araches at the roundabout close to the Super U. From the highway, take junction Cluses.

Classic routes
Punk not dead 6b, 130m
Les Jardins de Neptune 7a, 190m

Must do
de Cherbourg 7a+, 90m
La vieux de la montagne 6c, 170m

Not to be missed
Réalité non ordinaire 7a+, 180m
Zébra 6c, 160m

2x50m rope, 13-14 QD´s
Most of the bolts are 10 or 12mm, But some routes still holds old 8mm, like l´Urgo dans l´air!!
Bring some extra slings in case of needing to re-equippning of the anchors. 
Rappel of the routes or take the long walk back via the road.

//Livet är en kamp mot tiden. Måltider är en kamp mot kroppen...

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