Jul 24, 2012

Parete dei Titani, Val Ferret

Parete dei Titani

Of you get a bit tired of the more crowded areas around Chamonix and Midi, not to talk about Aig. Rouge:) The access to Val ferret via tunnel du mont Blanc is fairly easy, specially if Friday afternoon is avoided.

On route to ref Dalmazzi

The approach up the valley summer time is again, fairly easy since the snow covered roads are équipée with good tarmac.

But, it's probably the most dangerous part of the climbing trip. The pas Le wide roads are more like narrow...so look out for MTB hikers and fast driving Italians.

The best goal are the longer routes high up in the valley. In fact at the end of the asphalt road at Arnouva. Where a coffee is recommended at the cafe!

Park the car just after the small bridge, not so easy always to find a spot if you arrive late. And walk a good path about 45min and you arrive at Titani. The 400m cliff is just a rock trough from the path.

The most recommended route is Venus ou bien Venise, TD 6b+ over 350m

Très magnifique escalade!

But. The lines up the hill are quite close so take care and regardé le topo.

Also, there are some newer routes that I haven't been able to find any where described, if anyone knows, please let me as well know.

At the base there are 2 lines next to each other, take the left for easy, go right for a bit harder, just a boulder crux of 6b. Far out to the left there is an unbolted variation...and between there is a non worth climbing start as well. Only if there is a crowd of people and you want a quick start up pitch one!

The rock is built by perfect granite. But in my world there should be nice cracks built in as well. Like in Vallèe Le Orco or in Lofoten or... But here it's pretty compact. So I guess there is a reason with all the 10 and 12mm hardwear.

The nice thing is that on the crux pitches the bolt masters has se numbers a bit, to make it feel real. As close as possible at least. But, never dangerous.

Early morning for chien et escalatuer

It might be wise to have some small and mid size cams hanging around though.

The views on this side of le massiv are very dramatic. Even though the glaciers above are small but the mountains feels close and ruff in a nice way.

The slabby climbing takes a lot footwork but since the friction are ultra perfect and the angle has the calf killing sort, it's a good practice for trusting the rubber.

The upper walls has a bit more vertical feeling though. And even a bit of crimps. Compared to the more open hand holds for the first pitches.

But, if it's pure crack climbing with your new rubber gloves, it's not the place!

Even though if there are one and two jams here and there. But no need to tejp up.

After the first pitches of Venus we arrive at a bigger grass ledge. Above are a number of bolt lines going uphill. But a quick look consulting the picture in the fantastic topo over this area. We decide that the one out just a bit to right is the one. Said an done. But, as so many times before, why does this always happen? A local spirit informs that "that isn't the route". Well, not The route.

-It said to be very nice though but a little harder...6c+ or 7a then just 6c and then...I don't know...

Ok, that is some info at least!

After consulting my other topo, mademoiselle Anna, we decide to hold the flag high and move on.

And it is! Really nice enjoyable climbing. Technical and hard to read, a little to the left, a little to the opposite (right) and a bit up followed by down and around...

It is très engagé so to speak!

And it holds the grade of 6c at least.

After 3 pitches it easies off and the top pitch is about 4a with a single 6a move.

Arriving at the summit just as the colors turns in to the magic red and orange skies.

An other perfect moment!

Higher up in the Valley and the Dalmazzi hut there are even more routes.

Also equipped with bolts, most of them, but longer up to 700mts

And of course, it will not be a perfect val Ferret climbing day without a visit to

1/ Bar Roma

2/Pizza Tunnel

3/Glace Italiens

You will need:

Venus ou bien Venise, TD 6b+ 350m, 10 QD's, 2x50m corde Rappel le route

For the other routes

A better topo then us, 10QD's and 2x50m

Rappel the route


To be continued...


Jul 15, 2012

Great unsuspected warm up, classic Chamonix

a little bit of everything

With a meteo that beats everything regarding bad, heavy wind, snow slabs and interval rain showers, the focus most be on lower altitude routes.

The 12th of July will in many ways stay as a reminder of this, with one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single accident in Chamonix. A huge avalanche triggered on the way up toward col Mont Maudit on the Cosmique route towards Mont Blanc.

This will for a long time be remembered in the Chamonix valley, really tragic with nine people dead. Both guides, clients and regular "tourist" climbers.

Our thoughts are with their families and relatives!

Only next day an other pair of climbers disappear on the Voi Goutier in bad weather. To be found later frozen to death. The winds during this day reach over 100km/h!

Weather over Dome du Miage

The Arête Mettrier up Dome du Miages north side is a mostly enjoyable route. Never hard, a bit loose here and there. But still a worthwhile climb up the 1100 meter ridge/arête to col du Miage 3367.

The walk up to the route is best done from la Gruvaz via ref. du Miage, one of the refuges on Tour du Mont Blanc, TMB.

Ref. Plan du Glacier 2750

An overnight at Ref. Plan du Glacier is an other nice thing here, a small but charming hut that only takes a small amount of people.

Ref du Plan, it's terrace is one of the best in the Alps, as well as Isabelle's Tartiflette!

Mettrier is easily reached in about 30min from the refuge and the equipment needed is a 30m rope, ice axe and crampons. Maybe, a couple of nuts...

The only difficulties are at the start and then the last bit over the snow cornice. An overall grade of D/D+

Upper part of arête Mettrier

The descent from Miage is made either via the full traverse over Aig. Bèrangére or down the glacier passing ref. Conscrites
But, I most recommend a stop and overnight at ref. Tre la Tête. The chambrés as well as the cousiné are...(y) tip top
An other great day in the mountains

Traversé aig. Du Plan

This is an other classic route in Chamonix. Never difficult but just airy and scenic. A most worthwhile climb, one more!

Traversé Aig' du Plan, with Midi in the background

Start from Midi top station, walk down the snow arête and continue over the ridges overlooking Chamonix valley. With a lightweight equipment of only crampons and ice axe together with a rope and maybe a couple of ice screws and some slings for securing some of the passages. The route is straightforward and never complicated. For the full travers a 50m rope makes it easier, because of one involved rappel.

A nice spot to finish the thermos, Aig du Plan traverse

Exposed terrain on Aig. du Plan traverse, high above Chamonix

Lower goals

When one get tired to slide around in crampons, the choise to go sportclimbing is easy made. And a really nice sportclimbing area to hang out is le Bionnassey. Technical climbing on steep limestone.

The area Biologique has a whole bunch of high star routes, 6b to, mostly, 7b and higher

Since my idea was to take an easy day, actually my plan was to stay low around the sofa and do a bit of reading, but the climbing soul wanted otherwise. So I thought at least, stay on a maximum in the register of 6es. Said an done, a 6c was chosen for warm up, worked well, felt hard but the holds was there. Until I was told from below that, ooh, that's a hard 7b+ your on, go for it!

Ok, at least it feels better if I fall of now!

Turned out i was enjoying Massive Attack 7b+, a great unsuspected warm up. Not only just three but even four ****! A long sustained journey.


Bio-éthique, 6c+, a *** star route on perfect rock, one of many at Bionnassay

The routes up here are quite long so bring a minimum of 60m rope. And at least 12 QD's. The bolts are good in general , but sometimes it's a bit distance between them.

Le arête Index, Flégère

Aig. Rouge, if you seek you...L'index

A very nice, easy and quality route is arête l'index. Which is reached via téléférique Flegere and the top chairlift. Only obstacle is if there is a chance of thunder, then they are pretty quick to close the chairlift. And the walk down in that case looks long...!


The route it self only needs a couple of QD's a few longer slings and a few nuts/cams. But, for the rappel it's nice with 2x50m rope, or better 2x40m.

Since we are on this side. The Brevent area on Aig Rouge, same side as Flegere, has a big number of easy accessed climbs, mostly bolted routes. In the whole register from 5c to 7b. At this time of year the tourist season is on hard, so beware of the Concassage de la Pierre de public...

But if you seek you find! And there is a most enjoyable 7a selfprotected crack climb over four pitches just under the top cabin.

Premiere du Corvée, 160m, 7a is an exception from the bolt lines. Even tough there are some spits, most of it needs a bit of extra gear. Sadly it's a bit unnecessary bolts on it, but still ok. A very nice climb at it's grade. And the approach is more than easy as well as the even easier descent.

Très belle fissure on du Corvée

Reach the base up some fix cordes and start in the big dihedral out left of Frison Rouge, the most classic route around here.

Anna enjoying crack climbing on Aig Rouge

The first pitch is the hardest graded, but the placements are perfect and the friction is there. Overall a sustained route well worth it and not so crowded as its neighbor le Frison


Summit pitch

Top pitch of Premiere du Corvée

Site to French refuges, go here

Equipment for Premiere du Corvée

8QD, Cams: Green to Red Alien, 0,75 to no3 Camalot, a small set of wires, 1x50m rope



Jul 7, 2012

Tech Tips an Route

Clogging Along...

Eftersom jag Solo klättrar en hel del så är det ofrånkomligt att komma in på clogging.

Dvs när replängden är ledd, man firar ner och ska sen rensa replängden. Det finns då två sätt att göra det på. Repklättra, jumarera, eller clogga. Och då klättra replängden igen. Beroende på hur hård turen är så brukar jag kombinera dessa två. Ibland är det kul att klättra om replängden utan risk för fall medan ibland så är det så lång och hård tur att jag vill spara mig för nästa replängd. Liksom, ibland är det lättare att klättra än att jumarera...det varierar alltså. Det är det jag vill komma till!


Petzl Shunt, lite omodern kanske?

Smidigaste sättet att clogga då? Jag har testat ett flertal varianter sista och kommit fram till några bra och några sämre. Till att börja med så ska påtalas att clogging på ett enkelt rep med endast en repklämma eller liknande är utsatt för viss risk. Gör du fel eller tingesten går sönder så är det fara för liv. Därför rekommenderas alltid att ha ett backup rep med öglor som man med jämna mellanrum kopplar in en låskarbin till selen, arbetsöglan då.


Petzls gamla Shunt, har förespråkats ibland. Dock tycker jag personligen att den är kass. Och inget att rekommendera numera. Det andra inarbetade alternativet är en hederlig Jumar eller ascender. Funkar egentligen bra, behöver dock kombineras med bröstsele eller en Parisienne baudrier alltid. Kanske inget större problem, men ändå.

Power nap an route, nog så viktigt att få till...

Det jag använt fram till dess jag börjat fundera på nått bättre alternativt var Petzl Minitraxion. Den är följsam, glider bra med på repet och känns trygg, tänderna till trots...!

Dock måste jag då ha en extra grej med som förvisso väger lite men ändå.

Motsatsen är då en mindre repklämma typ Duck från Kong. Superliten och tajt. Dock inte godkänd officiellt för detta, och sanning att säga funkar inte helt lysande heller. Så den användes bara ett fåtal ggr innan den avvecklades i det sammanhanget.


Det som jag tidigare testat har varit en annan Petzl, nämligen Gri Gri, men...sådär. Fördelen är att det går att fira av rakt av igen utan att laborera med nån firnings broms. Men så började jag använda och säkra med Trango Cinch och hoppsan, en bra grej att clogga med också kanske. Lite lättare och följsammare är kollegan Grigri.

Idag testade jag så att bara använda min Soloist, Rock Exotica, då den ändå alltid är med när jag rep solo klättrar...Visade sig vara högst användbar och den har dessutom inga vassa tänder som riskerar trasa repet. Lite hjärn fysik bara hur man kopplar den för clogging, motsatt till hur den används för att leda med så måste repet nu löpa andra hållet. Återigen, ingen kärnfysik, bara att tänka till en gång extra liksom.

Soloisten kopplad för clogging, repet ska löpa andra hållet genom låsmekanismen.
Kräver även en lite större tyngd i botten för att löpa smidigt.

En annan grej då att fundera över för att hålla nere vikt och antal prylar är hur man bäst tar sig ner på repet, dvs att fira. Har du cloggat upp på en Cinch så är det ju fint att inte behöva ha nått annat att fira med. Men, alla dessa klarar ju bara enkelt rep än så länge i vart fall...

Att lösa detta då går att göra på ett par sätt

Firning på enkelt rep

Det ena är att helt enkelt vara inknuten i selen i ena ändan repet och fira sig ner på motsatt ände av ankaret. Repet löper då dubbelt genom fästpunkten och glider med allteftersom man firar sig ner. Enkelt och smidigt. Enda nackdelen är att belastningen ökar på ankaret och att repet om det ligger över en kant skavs en del. Fast så blir det ju om man blir nerfirad på topprep också. Men ändå en baksida.


Alternativet annars är att göra en STOR knut på ena sidan av den punkt som repet är tredd genom och sen fira på den andra.

En STOR knut som garanterat låser mot ringen, observera att jag inte trätt repet genom karbinen utan genom ringen i detta fallet.

Firning på HMS knut med enkelt rep, alt. använd en Grigri eller Cinch

Sen är det bara att fira ner på enkelt rep. Observera att:

1/ Knuten måste vara väl åtdragen och stor nog att inte lösas upp eller kunna glida genom. Ingen kvant fysik precis men ändock!

2/ Trä repet som ska dras i genom ringen framifrån, så det i det inte riskerar att lösa sig själv mot klippan. Gäller speciellt om det är långa firningar på blöta rep.

/ The End



Jul 1, 2012

A long wanted Route pour le Tick!

Regarding the topo, le Vallée l'Arve, this is a 98% très bien route! Except a couple of meters at the start of P1 and P2, which has a bit of loose flakes, cornflakes feeling sort of.


The Bétleguse, 260m 7a+ over 6 pitches. A devil in one of many names!

Pointe d'Ayères
Last year I walked up to climb this voyage but ended up on something less interesting in fact of quality, a loose thing going up the central pillar of pointe d'Ayères.


One of many superb pitches on Betelgeuse

The approach of this route, as well as all the other ones on this solid pice of rock, is a bit long and the closer you get the looser the so called path gets. From the parking below Ayères de perrieres aftershave plan Joux takes about 1 1/2h, if you choose the best way...!

Follow the trail towards ref. d'Anterne, just before the last virage head up left following the grass ridge. And stay as high as possible avoiding the loose open stone fields at the best.

Le approach

Depending on season and amount of snow, there might be vise to walk in with a set of crampons for the snowfields, otherwise do as we, pick up a perfect pice of rock and improvise a "grotthuman" axe :)

Lori with an improvised grottaxe, worked then, works now!

This walls are quite high and exposed so there is maybe not always but often some breeze winds to cool of, and after 16:00 the sun transport it self of the face. And suddenly I start to ask my self "what was I thinking?" The t-shirt isn't that warm anymore, even if I put on more over...what was I thinking? Cussin stupid!

But, as long as I'm climbing it's ok, even perfect, so on the belay I just need to keep up the rope work, active sort of...

And the climbing, it's just amazing, perfect solid rock that goes on and on. Every move is pure quality that makes me forget the incontinent approach.

Strenuous climbing on perfect rock, rock on!

The first pitch is right on 6c+, a bit of a warm up but the second has the grade 6c with out a plus...but has some ankward move that makes it feel harder than nr one, we think at least. But who cares, just enjoy and focus!

Keep focus, well it's easy in this terrain

The pitches keeps coming on us, 6c, 6c, 7a,...a 6b?opps easy and then 7a...plus...

It's like someone has really built this thing a little to well, and the bolts! Are just were they should be!

It's not until the last pitch that mr Belsebub gives away and offers an well long distant bolted 6a+, to le sommet!

Not on drugs I swear, except chalkin the nose...
A last scramble up to le plateau for some evening sun, enjoying the vuiews over the massiv stone dessert, the biggest in Europe actually. And then, five rappels back down. Even though the last one looks a bit somewhat, "will this work...." But yes, my 48m tag line just makes it to the ground!

What ever you do, water up!

Le Route

Betelgeuse 7a+ 260m, 6pitches

You need

2x48m rope, minimum:), 12 QD, and a nice shade or shades...

Picture from Vallèe l'Arve

Bonne route!