Dec 26, 2019

Aravicimes - Paré de Joux

 Aravicimes is a modern mixed route in the Aravis massif.  Normally, with good snow and ice conditions its considered fairly easy, up to M4. But with lack of snow, early in the season its a quite demanding hard to protect route with a lot of climbing.
Mostly the harder sections are quite short, but long enough to keep you focused.
Over all an interesting route with a lot of fun!

Paré de Joux
With a long period of very mild temperatures and strong föhn winds, gale winds in the high mountains and zero visibility, made it really hard to find any accessible climbing.
But my personal mountain detective and wife put in a great job as usually and came up with a few interesting alternatives, one of them "les Aravicimes"
A quick look on the map a and avalanche risk convinced me to have a go.
It might be a blind shoot but when reading the topo I could only think that with the maximum grade of M4;
-how hard can it be?
So we stuffed a few ice screws, tured out to be unnecessary, a small set of wires and some cams and a number of QD,s with the ropes and took an early start from Fayet to La Clusas and les Confins.
The last days of mild weather had made the snow pack more like béton but it only made the 1 1/2h approach easier.
Magnus on the approach
Well at the bottom of the route we found some old footsteps going up and coming down, so we started to hope that maybe its in better conditions that it looks!
The first two pitches turned out not to be described in the french topo. Probably just because there´s wasn't enough snow to have filled up to where the route normally begins!?
P 1 40m of snow couloir up to a very interesting belay point.
P 2 50m, first on thin ice and the snow. Belay on top of a section of rock, bolts

From here it started to look a bit questionable and suddenly the old footprints was gone as well...
A short vertical section which was dryer than the driest martini. But on the left I could find a crack system in which I could put a few pieces of protection to start with at least. In the end i tied off a frozen-in stone and tried to think of my self as very light.
A short traverse out right to some frozen herbs and finally I could swing my axes into solid ice, victory part 1

Next pitch, again very easy, but above was again a vertical wall that looked just really dry.
I soon got my suspicion confirmed, desperately looking for anything to place some protection but the only thing happening was time running away. In the end I just have to give it up, retreating down to the former bealy. End of story!
But maybe, a chance to traverse the section around to the right!?
A last desperat call in which at least i could place a few things here and there on the way, ending at a blank wall with nothing except a few loose blocks. But with desperation and a "go light" thought I finally abled my self to crawl up as far so I could bunch the shafts of the axes deep enough to support me.
And I found a crack that took my last few wires.
We was out climbing, super bad dry conditions, but at least we was off-route, great times.
After a long tense traverse back leftwards, we finally was back on track again and now getting covered in spinn-drift.
Luckily it turned out to be easier climbing from now on and slowly making progress...

Route description
(P 1 & 2 if lack of snow)
P 1 40m of snow couloir up to a very interesting belay point.
P 2 50m, first on thin ice and the snow. Belay on top of a section of rock, bolts.
L1 85 ° 40 m Go over a wall at 85 ° more or less well protected (tufts of herbs)
L2 50 ° 30 m Go up a slope at 50 ° for 30 m. to a cave on the left, clearly visible when ascending up the Paccaly valley
L3 90 ° 50 m Climb a short 90 ° section (sometimes tricky) to recover on a snow slope. Then cross a short section of 70 °
L4 60 ° 50 m Go back up a slope to 50 ° then 60 °
L5 65 ° 40 m belay on the left
L6 35 m Continue this ascending crossing on the left and cross a short rocky outcrop
L7 75 ° 50 m Climb first on the left then right above the couloir (short passages of 75 °)
L8 80 ° 50 m Pass through a cave and exit through an icy chimney (80 °), then go up a snowy slope
L9 75 ° 50 m Climb a narrow couloir for 20 m (75 °, 1 piton on the right), then go up a snow slope
L10 M4 55 m Continue on the snow slope for 20 m, then cross a delicate mixed section (M4 fixed pro). Intermediate belay possible after 35 m
L11 40 ° 50 m Go back up a slope to 40 ° to reach the summit

2x50m ropes
1 set of wires
Green to Red Alien, small cams.
#0,75-2 Camalot
2-4 ice screws, if ice!

All belays in place
Descend by rappelling the route


Dec 22, 2019

La Chambotte - Aix-les-Bains

 Beautiful suited over the lac du Bourget at almost 650m is the nice climbing sector of la Chambotte.
It is a south facing big section of limestone, well bolted and up to three pitches of good climbing covering over all grades. Perfect for beginners who want to improve or try leading multi-pitch climbing.

La belle vue over lac du Borget
ACCESS: You can access it from both sides of the mountain:
1) From La Biolle: located on the N201 connecting Aix les Bains to Annecy. Take the D991B on the left
passing by ST Germain la Chambotte then La Chambotte.
2) From Chaudieux: located on the D991 connecting Aix les Bains to Culoz (along the lake). Take the right
D991B which goes up to La Chambotte.
Park in the car park between the tunnel and the village. There is room for many vehicles if everyone makes the effort to park intelligently.

Pass (on foot!) the tunnel and descend to the hairpin to find the path that runs along the cliff.
Don´t park directly at the hair-pin!

le Diedre de l´Arbre

The climbing start directly after leaving the road. And there are many nice routes but I have, so far, three favorits not to be missed.
Sector du Diedre de l´Abre
le Diedre de l´Arbre (6a obl)
Tripaille, Farine, Pate, Riz (6a+)
Both have tre nice pitches

Sector Toit Triangulaire
le Toit Triangulaire (6a+)
An other 3-pitch route with interesting fun climbing, not to be missed!

le toit triangulaire

le toit triangulaire
the body crack of toit triangulaire
le toit

the sectors

Toit triangulaire topo (route 6) start to the right up to the ledge and then traverse out left

It is possible to climb here during the whole year round, but the summer months can probably be very hot!

2x50m ropes
10-12 QD´s

Dec 7, 2019

Verdon - Lame Fatale

 Verdon, the classic Patrick Edlinger play ground
With its rock faces, low alpine surroundings, the deep canyon and scenic nature it´s just a big playground for a number of sports, climbing, hiking, canyoning, biking and not to forget Climbing & BASE jumping!!
It´s just one of these places I have to go to at least once a year!

Anna Backlund on a Verdon steep classic!

The approaches can be kept quite short, a 5 meter hike to the rappel point direct from the road. So in this case the combo with good French cuisine most be under good control if you don't want to gain to much waste pondus.
But, there are some exceptions, as always.
For me I have found some of the best routes starting from "Malines" driving the Rue du Crete anti clockwise from Palud sur Verdon village.
Still not a huge approach, but at least its a little warm up before the climbing starts. And once on the top of the route, your more or less at the car!
the habitats of Gorge du Verdon

Ackommodation in and around la Palud sur Verdon is very easy in many ways. During high season with warmer temperatures the camp sites are numerous and cheep.
There is also a few R B´n B´s but the old French version of the same, Gite du France, is really a good and well worth the money option.
In Palud there is one just opposite the church and close to everything in the center of the village.
la gorge - the Grand canyon of Verdon
Best season for climbing is, for me personally as a Scandinavian, spring or fall. Many times late november and early december is a good time with still stable weather and good friction. But, most of the time that means climbing on the south facing walls.
It can also mean a few days of rain or even snow!

One of my favorite routes are "Lame Fatale" 6c/7a, an 8 pitch route in the section of "Malines" (described above)
It has a few neighbors with really high quality as well, but the cool thing with Lame Fatale, as the name says, is the upper sections exposed climbing on these limestone type blades.
Topo, route most to the right
Take the ridge road from La Palud sur Verdon towards the chalet Maline (anti-clockwise on the map). Park at the first real car park on your left, carved in the rock, after a fairly sharp left turn.
From the car park, return to the beginning of the left turn. A cairn marks the entrance to the descent path, 45min/1h, with some sections of exposed down climbing to a fix rope at the bottom. Keep an eye open for the red dots!
At the foot of the cliffs, follow the foot of the wall for about 100 meters, pass under overhangs, until you see a large yellow pillar. A well marked path joins at the bottom of the route.

7 or 8 pitches, deepening on your belays, takes you back up to the road. Enjoy the second and the second last pitch specially!

Second pitch note; Technical crossing in slab.
Do not stop at the first belay. When it joins "Chan", continue to climb another 10 meters (short steep wall) to reach a belay (2 bolts) on a small terrace. Take care when belaying the second on this one.

The travers of pitch 2, Lame Fatale
Exit pitch on Lame Fatale


50m rope
15 QD´s
Extra sling/biners for a few of the belays

We got a snowy situation

The forecast turned out to be just as right as we thought it would be!
Second last day was supposed to be filled with heavy rain and even snow. And yes, they was right!
But with the steep Verdon walls of the gorge, the climb could go on!

Tour du boulangerie 
la vue d´Early bird

Traversing the Gorge a la Slackline!

// Everydayadventure