Dec 17, 2018

Grandes Suites - Annecy - L´Or du Temps

 Les Grandes Suites, above Lac d´Annecy, is a big cliff with a good number of nice high quality routes, between 5c-8a. the rock is always on solid gray limestone with good friction.
And because it is south facing it dries up very quick after rain. And also a good place to climb most of the year, even in the winter months.
In summer the lake makes it a nice combo of swimming and climbing. And around Verier-du-lac/Talloires you can find a couple of really nice restaurants. "Cafe de la Place" i Tailloires is super cool resto, not to be missed!

That together with the long enjoyable routes, the easy approach, some 20min once you found the right parking, makes it a cool place to spend a couple of days.
There is a couple of classics on Grandes Suites, which ones to be the best, well its hard to say but some favorits are "Harmonie" 6a/150m, "L´Or du temps" 6c+/220m and "Extase" 7a/180m.
Grandes Suites / L´Or du Temps and the "Gouttes d´eau"
L´Or du Temps was put up by - Daniel Chauchefoin &Vincent Sprungli in 1980. 
The bolts has been updated and are in good shape, with a nice distans between them.

"We took a 2 day trip to get a few last autumn climbing days in the Haute Savoie, enjoying a few days around Annecy with all the tourist long gone. Still ok temp for an evening swim in the lake and not to cold nights, since we planned to camp in the Ford.
In the middle of the week there is even less people so as always we could find the route for our self, just one early team a couple of pitches higher up.
Some of the pitches has the classic gouts d'eau, finger tip holes, which I find most enjoyable. And with a little bit of sun shining over the cliff the solid grey limestone is just tip top friction class. Until it starts to rain that is, which reminded us to never completely trust the meteo. Because 3 pitches up something started to fall that was very equal to rain, at least it was water and coming from above. Luckily Anna just started the traverse, and protected by the roofs above it didn't effect us to much, but it did the section "gazeux" even more interesting. But, the other team decided to rappel of so it left us alone on the rest of the route. And as often if you believe in luck, it stopped dripping.
The pitch after the traverse is a bit awkward, with a couple of quite hard 6a moves. And then the very last pitch is just an explosion of formations, super nice climbing up steep walls, tufas and holes.
Since we done the rappels a few times before the descent went quite quick back. And after an espresso down at Veyrier and a short swim the day was finished with a nice local dinner at "la Place. And the next day, off to do the Traverse of Dents de Lanfon, a classic mountain traverse above Bluffy"

Anna on the approach on the old path leading up to Grandes Suites
How to
Annecy >> Veyrier du Lac village. Pass the village and at the exit take the direction of col du Buffy.
Due to the construction of a protection dyke, the normal path is closed. There is an alternative access that starts from the same road, about 500 m further to N, to the left of route de la Corniche (GPS: 45 ° 53'43.7 "N 6 ° 11'04.1" E)
Walk up a path that runs along a stream between two houses up to a fence (green metal fence). Then continue on a slight path on the right. And join the old path at the height of a pin to the right (above a small scree + cairn)


L1, just climb any of the routes at the bottom of the cliff, a couple of single pitches. Or just head up Harmonie which start at the same place.
L2 5b 35 m In ascending on the left to gain the vire (cable) which runs all this sector.
In order to arrive under the first relay it is also possible to take one of the right lanes of the initiation area, but we must be very careful at the exit not to loosen pebbles ...
L3 6c +> 6a + / A0 35 m Pretty slab up to the bulge that goes well in A0 with a short strap (no 6a + forced out). This length has the same starting point as Harmonie, located immediately to the right of a big tree-stool (recall). Pull the overhang and leave Harmony on the right to continue straight (La vie d'artiste prends off on the left a little higher).
Relay at the top left on the big chain after a red spit.
L4 6a + 20 m Slab vertical well on drops of water that leaves a little on the left, before joining a small crack that brings you back under a beautiful roof.
L5 6a + 30 m Continue up the finger holes, avoiding the roof on the right, then cross above to the  right slab tand a chain relay.
L6 6a 20 m Almost horizontal traverse to the right between 2 overhangs, relay on a spit and a rusty piton.
L7 6a + 20 m Start rather athletic straight, then on the wire of a small pillar before finding a small terrace with a tree. Relay (spit + piton).
L8 6a 35 m From there, the wall goes down slightly, but the climbing is on compact slab, then system of cracks. Relay on tree.
L9 6a 12 m Short length (3 spits) in slab with holes spaced to gain the top of the ledge. Relay on tree.
L10 6a 20 m From the two lines take the one in the axis (the one on the right): spaced holes and grooves. Last belay in some trees.
The gazeux traverse on L6
Once on top, walk down to the left of the cliff (good path, blue marks in the trees), to a cairn. Then back to the right to find a fix wire. The first rappel is on a tree. The others are straight line down with god anchors. 4x50m rappels in total.

2x50m rope
12 QD´s
A good forecast!
Evening at lac d´Annecy

Dec 9, 2018

BASE - Classic BASE Verdon

Vent des Errances - Gorges du Verdon - is a most classic BASE jump in France. Opened in 1990 by Patrick De Gayardon and Bruno Gouvy. A 10min access from Belvedere de la Carelle takes you to the EXIT. An exit point with a 450m clean jump. One big issue, the landing zone is quite small and leans down into the canyon/river. So a clean landing on the path is a very good option.
Check the conditions well before the jump, many times its windy in the opening section (so don't open to high) which could twist up the parachute/180° or worse! And might twist up the landing as well.
Mornings and evenings are normally the best.

A 25min walk takes you back to the parking area at Belvédère Samson. And bring a head torch for the tunnels.

Link to Vent des Errances

//Blue sky

Nov 18, 2018

Le Royaume de Nour - Aiguille du Fizz

Or, dr Jekyll & mr Hide. Autumn times in Chamonix and as usual when the numbers of tourists drops the Compagnie du Mont Blanc close down the lifts, in exception to one great strange thing; they tent to keep the Flegere Telepherique open, but to access what??  The closure of the other lifts makes access to the more interesting climbs more or less impossible. Like opening of there Midi lift at 08:30 nd closing at 16:00…, so much for us that buys the annual pass!

Mont Blanc view
So, focus has to go elsewhere. To all that say that Chamonix isn´t for sport climbers. Well, that is only true for all those that hasn’t been here for the sporting. It´s a bunch of great routes, only problem is that one shouldn’t be to strict about the grades. Its not the land of winning a easy victory to claim a high grade, you have to fight hard for it cause the grades are not on the lower scale. A 7a is a hard 7a, or just as in many cases, just a number to be overcome.
Platé with le Royaume de Nour
The south face of massife des Fiz, sector Platé, has a couple of interesting bolted routes up to 750 meter of climbing and in various grades.
A new route was put up by Christophe Bressand and Emmanuel Ratouis in 2017. A 22 pitch route up to 6c. And a perfect moment for a nice day out.
As we have already climbed the neighbor ”TIR”, a slightly easier climb over 650m, we new the way to the base of the route. A somewhat hiking struggle following an old flood bed, gully, up to the rock face.

And then the last bit of grass climbing, pulling as gentle as possible on the spring hay.
Once at the start, well marked by 2 drilled bolts and an old fixed carabiner, overlooking the first pitch it didn’t look to much inspiring. Loose flakes in a good combination with detached crumbly rock and bad placed bolts…well have to give it a try.
The first section goes ok but then for the third bolt, I feel a little unhappy when its possible to just pick the whole thing out from the drilled hole, with bolt and hanger! 
”WTF didn’t they just draw the route over the ledges just below instead, its a much more natural line” I yell out. At the same time as I see the NEW bolts some 10 meters below me, heading over those and the same ledges… 
Ok, a small retreat to the right route, and we are ”en route”

A first long rightwards traverse pitch, 60m to the belay, and then up for some 10meters before sending a long traverse back to the left again.
3rd pitch is again up over some bad quality rock, except for a short section of a couple of perfect hand jams.
The bolts are placed in a very good distance, but on every second pitch they are pulled appart and at some places just made for a really bad experience in case of a fall. Like on the first 6c pitch. We figure out that they must have been taking turns when bolting, giving it a dr Jekyll/mr Hide feeling.

Anna high on Platé
As always on Platé the first section of rock is quite bad, loose and unpredictable. But then it changes to more solid and really nice climbing with good friction. And the views are just stunning, overlooking the impressive of massif du Mont Blanc.
The wall itself also starts to feel big, pitch after pitch of climbing but still no sign of the summit. 
The first ascenders has made a great job in finding a most spectacular line and the 6c pitch section ends over a roof which is traversed out left. Then followed by steep face climbing and slabs until it crosses an old route out rightwards and finishes over a section of very interesting rockformations. 

When reaching the last section of what it looks, easier climbing with 5a, 5b, 4c, I change back to my running shoes. Which quickly turns out to be a bad decision. Suddenly I am high above the last bolts on slabs that becomes more and more steep and just a little to much slippery…giving the route climbing all the way into the tile!
The sun has already set and we have the most scenic lights over Mont Blanc and its neighbor peaks. 
And a good 1 1/2hour hike back down to the waiting FORD.
Solid girl on solid rock!
Le Royaume de Nour 
Aiguille du Fizz, Vallee l´Arve

Vallée l´Arve new edition

50m rope
12 QD´s plus free biners/slings for the belays

Park at le Guebriant, Village Vacance.
Follow a faint path that crosses an old bed stream, gully, which is then followed all the way up to the base of the face. The route starts high up left of the stone filled gully on the right side of a small free standing pillar.
Picture from the old Topo Valle l´Arve


Walk north west towards the path to Refuge du Platé 

Nov 11, 2018

How to tie in to your harness

Fact: Tying in, whether you’re threading the rope bottom-up, or top-down, is the single most important part of your climbing day. There’s no room for distractions. So whatever method you’re comfortable with, and will nail 100% every time, that’s the “safest” method for you.
But, is there a best or safest method to tie in to your harness?

You always want to ensure that you tie in to both the leg loop and waist belt tie-in points. Personally, I learned to tie in bottom-up, and since I am quite a bit of traditional and superstitieux person I have stayed that way. For me it also makes sense to see the eight well in front of me when I have thread the first part of the eight in my harness, making it easier to follow out, nice and clean. But this is when I tie in with a figure of eight.
When I tie in with a bowline, I always thread it top-down, because it makes a cleaner ending of the knot when I secure the extra rope with an overhand knot, which then sets on the downside of the harness, away from the loop. And, it is also easier to measure the length of rope neede for the knot, from the loop to my knee is the perfect length to tie and secure the knot.
Also for Adam Ondra*, the method depends which knot he uses: “With the bowline I go top down,”  “With the eight I go bottom-up”. A quick look shows that many other climbers do the same. U.S. National Champion Sean Bailey* and Patxi Usobiaga* are bottom-uppers when they tie in with an eight.
Swiss mountain guide Mathias Hediger/IFMGA has his opinion clear;
”for classic alpinism I am doing figure of eight and for sportsclimbing with lots of falls I am using Prohaska but double or backlooped with double guideknot”
Figure of eight, treaded bottom up

Start of a Bowline/Prohaska
Some people argue that the rope should be thread from above, which reduces the risk of missing the waist loop. If your only tied in to the legs, you will most likely flip and fall up side down, in worst case even fall out of the harness. But, if you ever taken a fall in a Swami belt only, you will have learned the reason why Bill Forrester, already back in 1967, came up with the first prototypes of our modern style of harnesses with integrated leg-loops. Leg-loops are designed to take most of the load when falling. Something they already then knew was the best way to make life more comfortable after a leader fall. In lab testing, it is shown that the leg loops take 70 to 80 percent of the load in a fall. So, if you were to only hit one tie-in point, the leg loop is the one that takes the majority of the load.
So again, the best is of course to do it right and make sure both loops are in the rope. The interesting thing here though is that in my survey most climbers, mountain guides as well as amateurs and climbing professionals, tend to tie in bottom-up when they tie in with a figure of eight. So, my theory (and something most people asked respond to*) is that the knot itself is easier to control when tied in bottom-up.

Then next question, how do you tie in to your harness, in the belay loop or in the waist+leg-loops? Again, personally I do both.
The belay loop is the strongest point on the harness and the only part that is load tested. Anything hard should attach to the belay loop (e.g., a locking carabiner while belaying or rappelling). When reading on they strongly advice; ”Warning: You should not tie anything around the belay loop, including a daisy chain or sling. The belay loop will wear through quicker and is not designed to be used in this fashion. Belay loops are made of nylon webbing.” (

Figure of Eight direct in the belay loop

A few years ago the Germain Alpine Club, DAV, had this discussion on the table. Tying in to the belay loop was thought to be less material consuming and the rope would not move around as much when clipping in on lead, thus way save the harness and make it more secure. This turned out to be more of a theory than the truth. But, DAV, tested both variations and at one point actually recommended to tie direct into the belay loop instead of leg+waist loops. Nowadays they recommend both variations as equal.
Bowline variations called "Prohaska"

Personally, like the German mountain guide Stephan Schanderl, I use both. Just depending on the situation. Most of the time I tie direct in the belay loop, it is the strongest point, and then I use the figure of eight. When I climb something that I know I will have potential to fall on, I more often use variation of the bow line called the " double Prohaska". Since it is easier to un-tie after a fall. And then, because of the construction of the knot, I tie in to both loops, leg and waist, and top-bottom.

A small detail with a huge mythic touch. 

Note: All knots and variations here written in text are from our own experience with no data from any test lab.

*People asked in this survey; Heather Trevaren - KONG representant and climber, Stephan Schanderl - Mountain guide IFMGA/DAV, Carl Lundgren - Mountain guide/SBO, Adam Ondra - Pro climber, Sean Bailey and Patxi Usobiaga are bottom-uppers.

Oct 29, 2018

Gletchorn - Furka pass

Switzerland doesn't just hold a big number of happy cows that produces the lovely local swiss cheese. As we know, the country is filled with great granit and limestone, just waiting to be climbed.
One of these nice granit mountains is Gletchorn (3305m)
The route via its south ridge up to the summit is a great day out, easy route finding (follow the ridge!) and very high quality on solid rock.
Ok, the descent is a little so so with strange placed rappel anchors and a lot of loose stuff. But the climb is stunning and exposed.

Gletchorn Sudgrat
We packed the car, filled up Ford with fuel for the 3 hour drive from Chamonix to Furka.
Just passing col des Montets on the way with some climbing "on the way"
Since the Albertheim hutte is closed for renovation at this time, summer 2018, we made a reservation at the Tifenbach Hotel. Which meant we had an approchtime of about 30 seconds! Should be possible.
Morning over Furka pass

Tifenbach is an old hotel with a lot of personality, nice suited high above Realp and further away Andermatt. The standard is just as a climber want it to be, nice, clean and some good food and wine. (The chief can be a bit hard on the salt though) Even their coffee machine produces a great espresso.
Gletchorn Südgrat
The approach from Tiefenbach towards the surrounding mountains of Grauewand, Winterstock and Gletchorn is easily made from the hotel direct by foot or by taking the car some 100m back towards Furka pass and then drive up some 5 min on the private road. Just keep 7Chf in coins with you to pay the road fee.
Teemu on the frist part of Südgrat - Gletchorn
With a decent breakfast at 05.30 we left the hotel at 06.15 with a day of perfect weather ahead of us. Some +3-4°C and a light breeze made the start of the hike to a pleasure. With the company of 2 local Suisse climbers, we was taking turns of finding the best way. And a bit of individual race.
Just before Albertheim hutte the path heads back west for Gletchorn, passing more or less under Grauewand. All the time staying high on the trail and after 1 1/2h we was a the bottom of Sudgrat. With the race still running our Suisse friends decides to go up on the ride from the east side, but we keep to the plan and go on the historical and traditional way from the west side.
Higher on the Ridge, the pleasure just goes on
Once on the glacier, what ever is left of it, with crampons under our feets an other 10 min walk took us up to the base of the wall, with a couple of hundreds meter of scrambling up to the ridge line.
The topo says to stay far to the left but I decided to stay more in the center and just follow the most natural line of scmbling up to the ridge, An other 10-15 minutes.
The beautiful corners and aretes
Once on the ridge, all the effort put in turns out to a happy payback. Exposed climbing takes us further and higher up on solid rock with pleasant formations.
With the info from the topo I had equipped for a couple of pitons and some bolted belays. But unfortunately the local Suisses had gone all in, as they tend to do on all their routes nowadays in Gruyere country, and bolted up the cracks and slabs almost like a sport climb. Really sorry to see and experience. I just wish that the local guides didn't take their job to easy and make things way to simple and light. It is actually quite nice to put in own gear and stay a bit traditional, also in climbing.
No words needed - but looks like the locals don't have money for cam devices!
As often with climbs on ridges, it can give the feeling of "ok, so we are almost on the top" But then there is again a couple of sections and hided towers to be passed over. And there is a bit of down climbing, traverses and it just goes on. So as here, just when I think we are looking on the last and highest peak, the ridge just makes a turn and we have an other couple of 100 meters to cover. But, when your on the very summit, it is impossible to miss.
We are as high as we can get on this peak, and of course it is marked by a rappel anchor in situ.
An other stupid place number of bolts that for sure will get your rope stuck if you try to use it for descent!

Instead, after the obligatory summit pictures, we scramble around the peak, and continue a bit further on the ridge line. And the down climb on a bit loose rock towards a bit cairn that shows the start of the "trail" witch goes back downwards on the west side.
And with 3 rappels of 20m we are back on the west face and the last bit of scrambling down to Tiefengletcher.

Sudgrat of Gletchorn 3305
Max 4b / or 2 p A0

5-6 QD´s
Midsize Camelot's or Green/Red Omega cams
40m rope (2x30m or 1x50m for the rappels)

Plaisir West - Furka
Pictures below

Reservation at Tiefenbach
Tel: 0041(0)41 887 13 22

// Det långa talets korta mening!

Oct 22, 2018

Petit Flambeau - Via Laurent Grivel

 From Punta Helbronner there is a number of great alpine routes, which some are easily accessed then others. One of these is via Laurent Grivel on Petit Flambeau.
A new modern alpine route that follow ledges and ridges from the south side of Petit Flambeau up to the summit above col des Flambeaux (3407m)

Start from the Helbronner lift, take the lift down to the old Torino Hut, depending on season it might be possible to go direct out from the lift station to the glacier.
Head towards the Flambeaux col, but take the south side descent´ding down the glacier, but stay close to the rock. Not to far out on the glacier, a lot of crevasses, big ones!!

Aime for a red section of the cliff with a drilled bolt/hanger, which appears just when you might start to feel unhappy to descend any further!
Go up the first section of quite loose rock, tip toeing on easy feets...with grade 3-2 scrambling.
To the base of higher quality rock that goes up a steeper section over a crack formation. An other bolt in place. Just stay in the middle section of the rock face and the route is obvious.
After this you get to the "Mezza Luna" a short but really nice crux section over a half moon shaped crack. Also protected with a bolt.
The next section is again a little harder, but always good protection, bolts in place and good cracks to put in own gear.
The last short pitches follows more the ridge up towards the very exposed summit ridge.
Feels like climbing on bricks and lego...!

From the summit, easy scrambling back towards the glacier and the Flambeaux col but this time on the north side. And the last bit over the glacier to the best coffee in a high place at the bar at Helbronner.

  -We had a short but beautiful day out on this route. The access is very easy, but still we needed to take care avoiding the crevasses that at this time, beginning of October had opened up quite a bit.
The first section of scrambling is still an interesting undertaking, cause of all the loose rocks and its a big risk of a massiv rock fall. So better avoided in warm conditions!
Finally, getting up to the first section of "real" climbing was a relief. And my lead up the Mezza was just as beautiful climbing as anywhere on the Mont Blanc granit of friction. 
Then staying concentrated up the last sections and traversing the "Lego Ridge", well its spectacular enough for a rest day!

Via Laurent Grivel.  Petit Flambeau - Italy, Courmayeur

30-40m rope, best made in short pitches
4-6 QD´s
Red Alien
Green & Red Omega Cams
Small set of mid size wires
Slings for bealy
Glacier equipment
Link to - Route

Oct 1, 2018

Pierra Menta - Beaufortain

 Som ett mini Matterhorn sträcker sig Pierra Menta rakt upp mot himlen med sina 2714meter. En monolit uppbygd av en samling olika bergarter samlade under miljoner år till ett fast stycke konglomerat.
Solnedgång över Pierra Menta
Sägen säger att Jätten Gargantua lämnade sitt slott på stranden av Seinen en morgon efter att ha slukat sin frukost. Efter att ha startat söderut vände sig han sig snart österut. Han gick utan svårighet över Rhône dalen och in i Savoie. Snart bromsade sluttningarna, kuster och raviner hans framfart.
Han pausade då och då för att andas lite. Han hittade en näsduk i fickan en storlek på ett lakan och torkade ansiktet när han såg bergen sträcka sig så långt ögat kunde se. Glaciärerna och dess toppar badade i solsken och erbjöd ett bländande spektakel inför jättens förvånade ögon. När han nådde toppen av Aravis såg landskapet än mer grandiose ut.
Gargantua tröttnade aldrig på att beundra omgivningarna och inte minst det ståtliga Mont Blanc. Men plötsligt grep avundsjuka honom för att se vad som stod bakom denna imponerande barriär. Trots att han var en jätte kunde han inte korsa det formidabla Mont Blanc utan svårighet, så han föredrog att vara försiktig och gå runt den.
Han tog av till höger där passagen verkade lättare. Men på den plats där han tänkt sig att komma ner till krönet av Aravis, spärrade en gigantisk sten vägen, formad som en pyramid. Vansinnig av vrede drog sig Gargantua tillbaka för att få fart och med en enorm spark projicerade den mot himlen. Den enorma massan av sten svepte över, flög över raviner och dalar och landade slutligen på Roselendfjällen vid gränsen till Beaufortin och Tarentaise. Det blev Pierra Menta.

Hur det än är med den saken så uppstod ett berg med en idag stor samling leder av god kvalité.
200 meter klättring på en spektakulär monolit.
En route med Mont Blanc i vyn
Accessen sker lättast via Beufort till Treicol och sen per fot 2h. Sista biten in på vägen till parkeringen, 5km, är en smärre kostig, på dålig grusväg.
För en komplett upplevelse rekommenderas att gå upp och på vid CAF Refuge Presset. En av de mera sympatiska hyttorna i Haute Savoie, kända för sin Carbonara! En nyrenoverad Refuge vackert belägen vid en liten sjö och med grandios utsikt över just Pierra Menta.

Anmarch till ref. Presset

Från refugen är det ca 40min till insteget på nordsidan av Pierra Menta. Lägg till 10 minuter till för att gå runt via västsidan till Sydryggen. Arêten upp Arête Nord är en av klassikerna, 7 replängder med ett kort crux på 6b. 
För en lättare variant rekommenderas Bérard-Rigotti (6a), Dao-Domi (6a) och så klart Pillier Gargantua (6a)

Efter veckor av blå himmel så har vi letat oss upp till Presset för att klättra lite lesiure och på höjd för att fly värmen i Valle l´Arve.
Refuge de Presset
Naturen är dock på sitt lite mera stridslystna humör och har slängt in en rejäl och kall vind under natten som håller i sig under morgonen kaffet. Vi stretar emot efter bästa förmåga, 08.00 flyttas outtalat till 08.30 och så vid 09.00 är vi på väg.
Min teori om att det bara rör sig om en morgon bris måste snart överges och den storslagna ideen att lämna dunjackan i bilen står på skam...

Sydryggen upp till Pierra Menta
Fördelen blir att för att hålla sig varm lönar det sig att klättra fort, och som ofta så innebär det fel, klassiska "fort och fel". Lederna går rätt tätt, i kombo med nya leder som inte är med i topon. Men med en lite mera svårare direkt version så är vi tillbaka på leden igen. Och i takt med att vi når topp-areten så avtar vinden så vi kan få en behaglig stund i solen och beundra utsikten samt betånga teorierna gällande Gargantua. Både Kari´s och Jannes tår ömmar av klätterskorna. Gargantua måste haft jäkligt ömmande tå efter den kicken!!
Dags att fira av och rulla ner till Beufort för en bra bit ost från en lokal Vache Tarine.

Vy över Barrier du Roselend

Pierra Menta

Lederna är ca 130-200m och för att ta sig ner krävs 2x50m rep.

2x50m rep
10-12 QD´s
La Vanoise par James Merel et Philippe Delandes

// Monter, c’est poser le problème de la descente...!