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
Vallée l´Arve new edition
Escalade 74 https://www.escalade-74.com/actualites.htm
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