Summer…..Done?

Irene Munguia Exiting the Tunnel from the Aiguille du Midi, Grandes Jorrases in the background.

Irene Munguia Exiting the Tunnel from the Aiguille du Midi, Grandes Jorrases in the background.

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….?

Dave Searle

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“Its going to be a long night dude!”

Sunset after the First day. 5 hours from any hut. Mont Blanc in the Background with Grande Pilier d'Angle on the left our Original finishing point.

…..That’s the words Ally said to me when we topped out on Pointe Walker at 5.45pm after climbing the Colton/ Macintyre (with Alexis Crux Variation).

Our plan was to traverse the Jorasses, after climbing the north face, to the Canzio Hut at the Col des Grandes Jorasses for the first day of our epic link. We wanted to traverse the Rochefort Arete to the Forche hut and finish up the Chechinel Nominee on the Grande Pilier d’Angle to Mont Blanc.

Little did we know just how long the first day was going to be……

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Colton/Macintyre, North Face Of The Grandes Jorasses November 2010.

I LIKE UR FACE! Can I climb it?.........But of course.

So after recent successes on the Ginat With Ally Swinton. Myself, Gav and Jim headed up to the base of the Grandes Jorasses. We had our sights set on the Colton/Macintyre which is the prominent ice line leading right to left up the middle of the face.  It features steep thin Alpine ice VI and tricky mixed climbing to join up with the walker spur.  The route is 1200m long and pretty steep. After a slight sketch out at the start of the ladders down to the mer de glace as a couple of northern european type people warned of deep soft snow we plowed on up to our bivy site without any hassle, wondering what they had been on (about). After a bit’o smash and cheese we bedded down, waiting for the call of the alarm…..

Here’s some photo’s of our ascent.

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