Finally some stable weather and a route in the mountains! What a fun little route too. I can’t believe this little gem has evaded my sights before now. This inconspicuous gully on the north face of the Tour Ronde (but not the actually Tour Ronde North Face if you get me) is only properly visible from the approach to the Fourche hut and would normally be considered a winter/spring route. Being as this summer hasn’t been very summery up until now, there has been a lot of good ice forming on the north faces up high.
Myself and Emily Roo headed up to the Fourche with a view to climb something on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. I spotted that the Rebuffat Gully was in and made a mental note of it as a back up plan. On the climb up to the Fourche the weather deteriorated and the snow started to fall. We spent a cold night in the hut with a German pair and a crazy Spanish pair both heading for the Kuffner Arete the next day. During that evening we decided that doing a long route on Mont Blanc wasn’t the best of ideas with new snow sat on already soft snow so we changed plans to the backup with the hope of doing something the next day if we weren’t too tired.
In the morning our foot steps had filled in from our approach and a lot of the rock was plastered in rime thus reinforcing out decision. We headed over to the Rebuffat in the stunning morning light and started to climb. There was some spin drift but only in short waves and the ice was as good as you can wish for. This route benefits from mostly bolted belays which also makes you feel a lot happier, especially as there isn’t much protection to be found in its current condition (plus we had a very light rack). Every pitch has interest and it has some really fun sections of bulging ice over big chock stones. Never too difficult (grade 4?) the climbing put a smile on my face and it had great ambiance too. Highly recommended! After topping out and zipping down the abseils we decided that we didn’t have the psyche or legs for something longer and we didn’t have a big enough rack to do something harder. I nipped back to the hut to collect the stove and sleeping bag and came down to meet Emily to begin the long grind out to the midi. I thought for sure we would be spending a night in the toilets as it was getting late but we manged to get the absolute last lift down that evening with literally seconds to spare! Good result and a good couple of days in the mountains! Here’s some shots (click to bring up in gallery format)!