Getting into the swing of things.

I’ve been back in France for a few days now after a week of sampling some of Scotland’s finest…training facilities, including but not limited to bouldering, drytooling and indoor ice climbing.  We had planned on smashing in a load of winter routes but as the snow was falling down the mountain in liquid format and nothing was in condition our grande total of winter routes was 0.  C’est la Vie!

Its very good to be back in Cham though, despite the lack of snow!  It’s meant to pick up over the next few days and weeks but given my track record of skiing early season I’ve made a decision to stay away from skiing until there is a bit more cover.  It would be good to get out on the pistes for some ski training but even the pistes sound a bit dodgy at the moment with the odd shark to bite you if you let your guard down.  I can wait and so can my skis!

Today I headed out to the Cremerie with Ally Hurst to get my tools into some (real) ice and get a feel for what its like to be back in the mountains.  On the whole it all came back to me pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to taking on some harder ice routes this season. Thanks to Ally for a fun half day out and I think I can speak for everyone in Cham……. Bring on the Winter!!!

On a fun, if not slightly hollow vauge gully in the middle of the crag. Photo Ally Hurst.

On a fun, vague gully in the middle of the crag. Not too steep but a bit brittle and hollow. A good warm up.   Photo Ally Hurst.

Ally soloing up the first few pitches.

Ally Hurst soloing up the first few pitches.

New shoes! I'm pretty happy with my new Scarpa Rebel Ultras!

New shoes! I’m pretty happy with my new Scarpa Rebel Ultras!

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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