Its been a funny kind of summer. My residing memory of it has been extreme heat from which the mountains have really taken a hammering. Big crevasses, deep instability and a general grey feel means that this winter needs to be a good one otherwise the classic Ski descents like the Vallee Blanche might not come into condition until early spring.
For me though, I’ve not had much of a chance to get into the Mountains this summer for various reasons. Mostly because I had a full time job, but also because I spent a few weeks back in the UK ticking off Multipitch E1+ routes. In little over a week I’m going to be in North wales with 10 other eager beavers doing the first part of the British Mountain Guides course, the rock climbing induction. The powers that be (the BMG Committee) decided to give me a chance and let me start this year despite picking up on my lack of British climbing experience. They told me I had to climb 25 more Multi-pitch E1 or above routes in serious or mountainous crags before I could start the course in September. When I heard the news I was worried. I desperately wanted to start the course but I had commitments with work and I know how fickle the weather in the UK can be. I completely agree with the committees decision and in hindsight it was awesome to get a load of amazing trad climbing done and now I feel a lot more comfortable going into the test. I managed to pack it all into two weeks, where I often climbed 3 or 4 per day but always did at least one route a day despite the mediocre weather. E2 in drizzle isn’t my idea of fun but needs must and it was a relief to finish all the routes and get the all clear.
Apart from this I have been operating at full “Weekend Warrior” status and despite not doing anything major or massive I’ve racked up a fair amount of millage all over the place as well as rock climbing and running. I’m feeling fit and ready for the Autumn, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be as good as last years conditions. Hopefully there will be some routes to scratch up and some big adventures to be had.
Routes I’ve done this summer include The Traverse of the Perrons, Aiguille Entreves traverse, Cosmiques Arete, Rochfort Arete, Papillons Arete and the South Face of the Moine. Great experience for guiding I think you’ll agree and a lot of fun too!
I also bought a new camera which I’m pretty excited about because I’ve been a bit uninspired by photography recently so its been great to get an upgrade!
Pictures tell the story the best so here’s some shots for you! The first three are Iphone Photos BTW! Click one to see them in gallery format!
I guess the remaining question is will we get to climb on chamonix’s best crag this autumn….?