Summer alpinism is here!! Long, sweaty approaches, manky snow conditions and rainy afternoons. Still its all good fun and with the longest of days upon us getting out for a classic alpine route seems to good to pass up. My original plan was to solo the Migot Spur but with high temps forecasted I didn’t fancy A) walking across a glacier by myself or B) climbing on a north face. Luckily my good buddy Ben O’Connor Croft (of Petit Dru North Face fame) was able to make it out so we headed up to the Albert Premier hut for a Sunday night bivying on the rocks….. It was good to have a good old catch up with Ben watching the sun go down and reminiscing about previous routes and failures. ben wasn’t overly impressed with the rack that I had brought which consisted of, 1 green pacific link cam, 1 120cm sling and a 15cm Ice screw. I had only brought 65m of 6mm kevelar for the rappels and to be honest never really thought we’d need any of it for the actual route. We had decided we were going to set off for the Forbes Arete at about 4am and settled down for a windy sleepless night.
We got up and started the long tedious hike over to the bottom of the Chardonnet in the still slushy, non-refrozen snow, which was a bit of a chore. We got the start of the route and whipped the assesory cord off and started symul-soloing the route. For the most part its pretty straightforward with small cruxy steps here and there and the odd awkward down climb. We got to within a couple of hundred metres of the summit and lost the route slightly. There was still alot of wet snow everywhere and one patch of black ice that needed crossing (Bens crampons where pretty blunt) so we made the decision to whip the shoelace out and put in a quick pitch. It was all a bit spicy and funky for a few moments with the minimal rack but we were soon back on track and heading over to the summit.
The descent was pretty straightforward. The soft snow meant that we could more or less walk down to the first abseils, only facing in a few times on some of the steeper sections. It didn’t take us long to find the first of 4 30m rappels to get down to the col Adams Riely.
Back to Cham Ville by 12 and feeling pretty happy about summiting the Chardonnet for the first time we ate and drank and were merry.