Jottnar, Aiguille du Midi.

Aiguille du Midi, Cosmiques Arete North West Face, AKA off the bridge. Scottish VIII 8 or M7+. 4 pitches, all of which are very good. With Ally Hurst.

Good route, Good conditions on the top pitch.  Had to take a rest on the crux wall.  One to come back and get free! Great route from Dave Almond and Mark Thomas (UKC News report here)

 

Back in the Shire.

After a long winter of skiing powder and difficult skimo conditions its been awesome to kick back and enjoy some sunny days in the shire… Devonshire that is.  It was time to do some work and MOT my little van so I made the decision to scrap the last few weeks of the spring season to go back to the UK do some work in Devon for my Mum.  Shes recently bought a church (!) and needed some help with painting some of the rooms so I’ve been busy with my brush and roller freshening it up.

With the good weather and long evenings its provided a good opportunity to keep up the rock climbing with multiple trips down to Anstey’s cove and a few days bouldering on Dartmoor. I’m starting to feel the benefits of getting out even just from the handful of times that I’ve had the chance, which is good!

Anstey’s Cove is a pretty special place with a huge range of climbs of all different types. DWS, Bouldering, scary Trad, easy Trad, and sport climbing of nearly all grades, what more could you ask for for a crag! Oh yer a nice beach? Yep got that too! I’ve been focusing on a classic 7c+ called Avenged which has eluded me in the past and alas continues to. More of a warm up route for most of the people hanging out down there these days it still feels quite tough for me. Its good to have something to aim for and hopefully I can get it sent before I head back to Chamonix next week.

I’m really looking forward to this summer in Cham especially the rock climbing. I really missed climbing last summer whilst I was in London so I’m ready to make the most of it when I get back. I’m also very excited about taking a trip to Kyrgyzstan with a good crew of folk this summer.  Hopefully it will restart my greater range climbing with a more manageable trip. More details to come…

For now I leave you with some photos of the past few weeks.

What’s in My… Ski Touring Bag.

Miage Aigle Dave Searle-9

In Chamonix I often see a lot of folk out and about with some pretty monstrous bags!  I rarely take a bag bigger than 30l into the mountains and I often prefer to have a bag around the 25l mark for day tours.  What’s goes into my bag? Here’s a basic list of what goes into my bag and some thoughts/ideas on what to take with you when ski touring/mountaineering.

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Not the Plan but nearly…

I’d say at least half the time when skiing or climbing in the alps things don’t go to plan for me.  Its not necessarily a bad thing and without “failure” success wouldn’t be as sweet. I spend a lot of time thinking about this and how I would feel if I never or always got the things I want to do done.  For me the 2 most important things are; 1.Did I enjoy it? (type 2 and 3 fun is still acceptable forms of enjoyment).  2. Did I learn something from it?

If the answer is yes to both then its a thumbs up and is classified as a “good day”.  Today was one of those, even if we didn’t finish what we set out to achieve….

We (me and Emily Roo) had planned on traversing from the Aiguille du Midi to the Aiguille du Plan via the famous and aptly named Midi-Plan traverse. From the top we were going to ski down the Glacier d’Envers du Plan, obviously in knee deep, perfectly stable, un-tracked and sunny pow pow. We found the pow but it wasn’t in the right part. From the Col du Plan we waded our way up through steep, sugary snow on the ridge for hours. After a brief battenbourg stop mid way along (oh she does look after me:-) we decided we had had enough and started to scope out a short but steep couloir which would lead us back down to the Grande Envers via some steep turns.  I gave Emily a masterclass in how to put your skis on on a steep slope and set her of on her merry way. The snow in the couloir was pretty crusty but I was super impressed with how our lass skied it. Good work Emily! My knee has been pretty bad the last week so this was my first ski day for a while but it feel pretty good now.  Super happy with my new Salewa/Wild country kit and also my new Blizzard Cochise skis which I might go as far as to say is the best ski I have ever owned if not skied on. Super Stoked to finally have a set up that I like and trust.

New Support – Salewa, Wild country.

I’m pleased to announce that I will be working with Salewa and Wild Country as a regional athlete to help promote the two brands with an emphasis on Ski Mountaineering and Alpinism.  I’m pretty excited for what the future will hold with both these brands and I’m looking forward to getting out and about in the mountains to try out the new kit! Many thanks to the team at Wild Country UK for sorting me out.

WildCountry1Salewa