Discovering Chamonix – Part 3

Discovering Chamonix – Part 3

This is the third part of a trip report. Go here to start from the beginning.

Things Done

L’etagne – Friday 7/3 

We were beat! After a week of climbing we wanted to take a 0 day. But this is hard to do in Chamonix with so much to do and a bout of great weather, so we settled for a very short day at the crag.
Climb: L’etagne
Style: Crag with bolts up some proper phallic pinnacles. 
Difficulty: 5.10b-c
Location: The Pinnacles
Time Required: Short half day  
Thoughts: Realllllly fun short bit of climbing on some cool features. As always, the setting was nuts. Also lots and lots of other rock climbs that are a bit longer in the immediate vicinity. 

Me hovering above
Rose looking good and me looking constipated. â€‹

Rebuffat (South Face of the Aiguille to Midi) – Saturday 7/4

Happy 4th!!! Now let’s go climb some stuff!
Climb: Rebuffat (South Face of the Aiguille to Midi)
Style: Hardest Trad Route to Date
Difficulty: 5.10a-b
Location: Top of the Aiguille du Midi
Time Required: Short Full Day
Thoughts: Awesome climbing of many types, but mostly crack, on frictiony granite. Pitons help in places, but there are plenty of hard sections that need gear. The finest trad climb I’ve done yet. Here’s the mountain project

Rose was a super strong on this! She carried up a pack with lots of water, 2 pairs of mountaineering boots, 1 set of crampons, and 2 ice axes (for the approach). Her bag had to weigh 25-40 lbs. And this was at 12,500 feet. Super proud of her!

We didnt take too many pictures, because we were all about business on this one. Here are some we did take.

Looking down on some parties below us
“SO MUCH CLIMBING LEFT WITH THIS PACK! (But I’m stoked to be here)”
​Wild one pitch rap back down into civilization and the land of gawkers at the Midi station.

We went back to the hostel, grilled out, and blew up some stuff in the front yard in good American style.

Voie Ravanel – Sunday 7/5 

Climb: Voie Ravanel – Traverse of the Aiguilles Crochues
Style: Fully bolted long traverse. Varied climbing
Difficulty: 5.9 – but officially 15 pitches
Location: Top of the L’index lift in the Aiguilles Rouges
Time Required: Full Day
Thoughts: Good varied climbing. Good place to practice moving fast. Still lots of good hard wall climbing. Laid back feel, especially after Rebuffat. 

Not too many pics on the route, but the decent was descent 😉

From left to right: The Aiguille Verte, Petite Drus, Cute Little Lady, Grandes Jorasses (in the background), the Chamonix Aiguilles. Lac Blanc is in the foreground and there is a gourmet refuge/hut thingy left out of frame where you can drink beer. This is a REALLY popular day hike and for good reason.

Lames Fontaine – Monday 7/6 

Back to the other side of the valley for some proper granite trad!

Climb: Lames Fontaine (but anything but lame!)
Style: Cracks of all sizes on perfect granite. Optional trad (more on that later).
Difficulty: 5.10a
Location: Plan du Aiguilles
Time Required: half a day
Thoughts: Only the French would put bolts on a climb like this. I only clipped 3 bolts the whole time – the ones I clipped were quite necessary. I fell on a micro cam – a #0 metolius.

One pitch of OW -> fist cracks. Another of hand cracks. One pitch of fingers (that’s where I fell :)).

Why so many bolts!? (you can see I clipped one)

Crevasse Rescue – Tuesday 7/7

Hired a guide to learn Crevasse Rescue. There are whole worlds of climbing available to you here if you know how to safely walk on a glacier.  Nothing terribly complicated that cant be taught in a few hours. Basically you just need to know how to make this particular snow anchor, and set up a 6:1 z-line pulley on it. There’s a bit more, but that’s the basics. 

Rest Day – Wed 7/8

We were beat by this point, so we went to this chill road side crag for some climbies. That, and sat around a bunch and ate a LOT of food.

Cosmique Eperon – Thursday 7/9 

Big trad Day! I thought this was going to be a chill day, but it was not. Also we had a 3rd person, which makes things much more slow.

Climb: Cosmique Eperon to Cosmiques Arete
Style: Trad, then alpine traverse
Difficulty: 5.10a for a huge roof, then the rest SUPER quality at like 5.7
Location: Top of the Aiguille du Midi
Time Required: Short Full Day
Thoughts: Great climb! This climb has the coolest single move I’ve done since West Pole at Seneca. The climb is not done once you finish that move, however, you still have 3 pitches of 3-4 star climbing remaining. There is everything in this climb from a monster roof, cracks for days, a corner, but no chimneys or off widths. Loads of sketchy fixed anchors that need to be backed up.

Fear watching another group pull about to pull the roof:

Me pulling the roof
Rosie coming up the last bit of Cosmiques Arete at the end

Rest Day – Friday 7/10 

Did nothing physical this day. Tried to avoid as much walking and general movement as possible. Drove from Chamonix, France to Verbier, Switzerland for our trail race the next day!

Trail VSB – Saturday 7/11 

Activity: Trail VSB – Liddes to Verbier. 
Style: Huge Trail Race
Difficulty: Ouch.
Location:  Liddes to Verbier
Time Required: About 6 hours 20 minutes
Thoughts: Lots to learn about trail racing. Also note: its not a trail run its a trail race. Only the pros run the uphills. Some hills arent even run by the pros.

18.67 miles, >8500 ft of elevation gain

Rose and I came in 70th and 72nd out of 330 participants. Rose and I finished 1:08 apart from each other which is shocking considering the race took us over 6 hours, we ran it separately with completely different strategies, and we did not see each other after the first 15 minutes of the race.

My Strava:

Rose’s Strava:

That’s all from us, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed these.

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