It became kind of tradition for me to go mountaineering in Alps during the summer. Last year I had a little bit more than 2 weeks at my disposal… First week was dedicated to a set of short climbings and more challenging climb of Mont Blanc occupied the second week.
This year, unfortunately, I didn’t have that much time, just 8 days. The plan however was more challenging with more technical and complex routes. Initially it looked like this:
- Petite Aiguille Verte (3512 m) — glacier, snow and ridge route to start acclimatization;
- Arête des Cosmiques (3842 m) — snow and rocks, another acclimatization day;
- Dent du Géant (4013 m)— steep and beautiful rock formation on the Italian side, sport climbing;
- Traversée Rochefort – Grandes Jorasses — a 3 day snow and rock high-altitude traverse.
A few days before coming to Chamonix I was told that due to the weather conditions this year the glacier on the southern side of Grandes Jorasses is torn. Eventually it makes descend from Grandes Jorasses more difficult and dangerous. On arrival to Chamonix I rechecked latest weather forecasts and found out that all of them were predicting severe weather for 1.5 days. It killed last hopes for Grandes Jorasses.
So we decided to replace it with 2 days climb of Gran Paradiso and one more day for a good sport multi-pitch near to Argentiere. The rest was kept as planned before. Not particularly a bad weather but lots scattered clouds made it almost impossible to take pictures on the Arete des Cosmiques. Luckily last year we had great weather on this route.
Petite Aiguille Verte
This is an excellent peak for training and acclimatization. We’ve tried climbing it last year, but because of the storm had to turn back from the ridge and descend. This year the weather was on our side. We took NW route for ascend and NNE route for descend. It involves some moderately steep snow, crossing a bergschrund and a few easy rock moves (UIAA III) on an exposed ridge. The views from the summit ridge are great, with the Aiguille du Chardonnet, Aiguiller d’Argentiere, and Tour Noire visible to the east, and Les Drus and the Grands Montets Ridge of the Aiguille Verte to the south.
And a short video to show you how crowded the route is…
Dent du Géant
This steep rock pillar can be seen from everywhere in central Mont Blanc region. The main route goes via SW face by the Burgener Slabs. It took us about 2 hours to approach the Tooth from Torino Hut and then another 3 hours to climb it. There are thick ropes on the SW face fixed by local guides. It is possible to climb using them, however free climbing there is not that difficult and definitely more interesting ;) Total climbing height is 160 meters.
And another video from the climb…
Gran Paradiso is the highest mountain in Italy that is fully situated within the territory of Italy. Its altitude is 4061 meters above mean sea level. Comparing to all previous more technical routes it is just walk-and-walk route. We started our walk from Refugio Vittorio Emanuele II at 2732 m at about 4:00 am. There are tons and tons people climbing this mountain as the only difficulty is the glacier. The breakfast was served at 3:00 am, so we tried to start significantly later than main part of the crowd ;) The walk itself is not difficult. However it was just a little bit boring before final ridge because I forgot to take my iPod this time which entertained me during climb of Kilimanjaro. And as we started long before sunrise the pictures here are from summit and the way back…
And the last video from the amazing trip to Alps… Unfortunately most of the video is from the descend part of the climb :)
There are also a few dozens of movie clips from 2 GoPro cameras. I hope to mix it on return to Ukraine and post here later on. So watch for updates!