Jul 28, 2013

Cordier Pilier on Grand Charmoz

Talking about classic climbs is Chamonix is hard, but the Cordier Pillar on Grand Charmoz would be on that list

It status as a 5c/TD Climb and as it says in the topo "Superbe escalade dans une ambiance très montagne" isn't anything else than true!

The climbers of G. Addison, P. Cordier, T. Fagard, S. Jouty made the first ascent 1970, on the 6th of July. Patrick Cordier, born in 1946, was origin from Fontainebleau but soon moved to the Alps and became one of the most known climbers in his generation

In 1977, he became a founding member of the Independent Company of Mont Blanc Guides. Now Doctor Cordier, from 1977, he worked as an instructor for the Ecole National de Ski et Alpinisme ENSA, in Chamonix He was sadly killed in a motorbike accident 1996, on his was to Provance. But he put up a lot of big routes and the Cordier Piliar is one of them

Sadly thought its slowly falling apart and today it's a run between the stones and rocks coming down. Making the approach and the first pitches of climbing very interesting. Like a zone of war!

So an early start is to recommend and at 06:15 we stood waiting to be in the first bin up to aig du Plan with the plan to stay in the refuge du Plan after our climb, giving us a full day to complete the climb. Turned out to be a very good idea

A 1.30h approach took us to the base of the route, the whole area was very quiet but big craters in the snow said that there was things going on now and then. A couple of other teams was on the not recommended route on the left, actually climbing in the most exposed situation you could be in, under constant treat of rock fall!

On the way...

We quickly racked up and I started the journey up the first pitch, whit the first section on a very nice flake traverse out left. But soon I found the olds very loose and a lot of scares on the rock, covered in white dust, and it wasn't chalk:-)

Bomb scares...


After the first three pitches the climbing got better and I started to relax a bit since we now would be out of reach from the stones falling down the colouir on our left. The only issue now was that the people on the left of us had decided to traverse in on our route, apparently giving up their "rock party"...and I understand them!

But now the going was suddenly very slow in progress and I soon saw the chances of reaching the summit gone...

But, luck was with us and one of the teams climbed wrong and went off route, the next one was aiming the same way but on the question of if that would be right or wrong I had to tell them that the right way would be out left and not direct up. Which looked much harder. So we still had them front but then the leader made the pitch a little to long and when realizing this I could head off, making a short one, bring my partner up and make one more short pitch and suddenly we was first.

Losing a little more then an hour still felt a little bad but we still had a chance

In general the day was perfect, a little clouds now and then made the temp a little lower and also on this side of the wall the sun don't hit so early, giving us shade until the afternoon

The higher you climb the easier the climbing gets, with only one or two difficult moves on every pitch, making it more like a boulder route

In front at last
A lot of dihedrals

And with all the anchors in place, slings everywhere, it's like bouldering in a junk yard in that way. But, still a good route, don't get me wrong!!

Arriving on the big ledge after the first 15 pitches its easy to understand way the lower part is under treats of falling rocks, everything is loose. If you find a solid rock that stay in place when you pull on it, don't let it go!

But it's just a short section so nothing to worry about. Just get it over with, because the upper section, it's great!

Again we was covered in clouds but since the forecast had given us 95% of sun and no Orage. We didn't hesitate to continue, specially now with our turn around time at 16:00 still 2 hours away. We would easily reach the summit!

At 15:15 we found it, the summit ridge, after less then 7 hours climbing, which would have been less then six if we would have missed the cueing.

A fifteen minutes enjoying rest on the summit got us in rappelling mode. Which we decided to do down the regular route if we would have the other party's under us. Also I think it's a little bit quicker?!

Le sommet!

A 2hours rappel party took us down to the glacier again, and suddenly we was back in the war again. I found myself hiding under my back pack with the smell of gunpowder in the air, very interesting indeed!

When the 2minutes inferno stopped, we hurried our boots on, ended up in a new inferno, waited it out again, the 2minutes shooting, and then made a run out and away from the wall...back to safety again

And to a great dinner and evening at the refuge

An other excellent day in the mountains...

Vuiew over Cham valley



Voie Cordier, nr 128

2*50m rope, it's accually possible to rappel the whole route on a single 60m but would be slow. Just a single 50if you walk the glaciér Natillions down.

5-8QD's, selection of stoppers, set of Green-Red Aliens, 0.75-4.0 Camalot with extra of mid size cams. Some pitons en route. All belays in place

More info on camp to camp

Approach to Grand Charmoz from Plan



//Hunden har insikt, hunden har minnen - Finare än människors bleka sinnen


Jul 24, 2013

Flammes de Pierre

Flamme de Pierre - Three routes in a blow
Away from the crowds, well beyond the "merde du Glace" is a well keept secret on solid red granite, the flames of rocks, Flamme de pierre
Hiding under the Charpoua glacier but still only a 1 1/2h walk from Montanvers. The issue is, there is no available topos!
So a ree-found enclosure from Vertical turned out to be a winner, giving a lot of ideas of great climbing and the sac was promptly packed for a day in the mountains
And, as the Compagnie du mont Blanc serves us with early bird departures we was happily en route with the 08:00 train for Montanvers, togheter with a load of "tourists" and a few other climbers.
Aim for the white dot on the other side of Merde de glace

The day starts already with warming up on the marathon ladders getting down to the "merde" and then...climbing up on the other side after crossing the glacier moraine, the almost overhanging ladders which are most spectacular. A huge Merci to the people putting them up!
Ladders en masse!

As the topo issue is a big deal we soon run into some lost climbers who are desperate to find their thought of line of the day, the only other team we saw that day on the other hand.
And after a bit of look seeing they found their route in the topo, got some pictures and we headed off again, with our new friends behind us. Since they probably still wasn't sure of where to go they decided to stick on our backs and climbing behind.
A warm, close to hot approach later we stood at the base of our first goal, "la Reprise" 7a, 300m
Rough climbing on "la Reprise" 7a

As the first pitch is a bit of sad story we scrambled around it and started up the nice looking dihedral and crack system
Flame in flames!

Quite soon I found a non solid anchour, thought the pitch was very short, but backed up with an extra nut I aimed for a belay. Thinking that then we at least would be climbing the both of us.
Next pitch had a sensitive move past a good bolt and again I had a short pitch since the real belay was an other 20meter up
Anna Backlund following on "du Désir"

Another couple of pitches brought us at the base of P4, a wake up pitch indeed! The earlier 6b pitch had already made me thinking of how this should go and suddenly I was knowing! As in hard!!
But always good secured and never to desperate, just on good rock

All the anchours are on good bolts, just neccecery to put in some new cord here and there to tie them togheter
Perfect crack on "Les Feux de la Rampe" 7a, ED, 340m

And the best news are, now you find some pictures and topo over the Flames!
Anna rappelling down the "du Desir"

Flammes de Pierre
La Reprise 7a, ED sup 300m
Not. Pitch 4, 6c is plutôt sévère!
Head right after the first bolt, do not! aim for the obvious dièdre on the left!
Les Feux de la Rampe 7a, ED, 340m
Great climbing up the diedre pitch!
Les Flammes du désir, 6b, TD, 250m
Nice and soft climbing

2*50m rope, set of stoppers, green-red Aliens, 0.5-3.0 Camalots (double of mid size cams/Aliens)
Overall, take care on the belay stations, the bolts are getting old!
Consider bringing extra cord to leave on for the rappels, some VERY old slings

For mor topo info send me a mail for a pdf file

//Five things on your perfect rider?
-Single malt from shetland, a cure for loneliness, a cure for anger, a real knife and a true love!

Jul 22, 2013

Charmoz - Grèpon traversée

Une ultra route de classic - traversée de Charmoz - Grépon

Maybe not the best timing but the plans was made, the weather at the best and le sac a dos was packed for a big tour...
Or only bad issue was that the great magazine Montagnes had a big reportage with a couple of nice pictures from the just mentioned route...
Arriving at Midi station the place looked almost empty, except for the number of people waiting to get into the first cabin, leaving 06:30
As we arrived 2min to late, we got stocked with two people before us...waiting for the next on at 06:45, which was almost empty

But, during the time my climbing partner had found out that it could be one more party heading for the same line.
-Hmm, not to bad, I thought
-But climbing it in a day...no way, you are going to have a bivvy...!
-Well that won't happen, I was thinking for my self
Up at Plan d'Aiguille we fought ourselves out from the lift house and headed off thou wards the path leading towards le lac, pretty sure that the 3:30h approach should be reduced to about half.
And soon we was passing people, a lot of people. And where they was heading? Le Charmoz cest sure!
And it was the mantra for the day, a lot of people! So not a idée unique and thank you Montagnes :-)
Feeling "smart" on the approach (raska fötter)

A 2h approach took us to the base of the Charmoz and the first bit of scrambling up to Burgener crack, the first real effort of climbing. But a great one! And it sure takes its effort with boots on the feets...

After the Burgener it easies off again and some nice transport up to the ridge, and what a ridge! Great place!!
So a couple of enjoyable minutes just sitting and ... enjoying the views.
And then, then the climbing really starts. Exposed 5ich climbing and thank you for the insitu pegs here and there.
Burgener Crack...

Passing team after team on the ridge we semi climb most of the pitches and finally stand on top of Charmoz, after 2h climbing

Climbing up the Open Book corner we meet a couple of people wondering how to continue to Aig. République.
-ohh, they will have a loong day I start to think but finally convince them that just rappelling back down again would be best in this case
After talking, pointing out on the map and thinking of -/+ over some time that are up to buying the idea to just go down, and give the République a new chance an other day

Then, we say good bye and head up to the shoulder of Grèpon and the Mummery crack. And what a joke, 5b!
Today it would be graded at least 6b but in the good ol' days, geeess....
Well, a lot of fighting and we was over it, glad to have a rope

But, after this...the summit is still a far bit away and up here nothing comes easy. The "Vire à Bicyclette” ledge just need to take a rest on though, it is just such a great place, even with out a bike
A bit more climbingscrambling and la Madame le sommet is reached, finally, after 7h from le Plan. A quite ok time after all, since the topo says 6-10h just for the ridge
A longer rest on the summit, still in good weather and just super great views over le massiv, we start to head down

Four rappels and some down climbing we are back on the glacier (1/2h for the descent) and start the walk back to the lift, still plenty of time to reach the last lift down.
Charmoz - Grépon
A route with many facets, complicated glacier approach, route finding on the W face of the of the Grands Charmoz and an exposed and aesthetic ridge
From the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station, follow the path which traverses the Blaitière glacier and leads to the Nantillons glacier, following various cairns.
Variant: If you are coming form the Midi Plan hut it is best to take the lower path directly E from the hut, and finish up the moraine of the Nantillons glacier to its high point.
Cross to the true right bank of the glacier (risk of stonefall, cross low down and quickly!) arc upwards and go to the right to reach the Rognon des Nantillons (at the first 1/3 of the Rognon), where the glacier levels against it, at the foot of some seracs.
Climb to the top of the Rognon, firstly by easy steps on the far right, then less to the right, (cairns,) where the angle eases, then go back to the left on a vague ridge.
From there go up the glacier to the left, (serac risk), until the bergshrund of the Grands Charmoz, pass it as best you can to gain the terraces on the true right bank of the Charmoz-Grépon couloir.
Route 2 to 10h
From the foot of the couloir to the gap 3421m
Climb to the left of this couloir for about 200m until large terraces which you follow to the left, (obvious large cairn.) Traverse leftwards at about the level of a red tower
You come to a series of chimneys and corners to the right of a red spur. Climb this line, 4c max, including the Burgener crack, which is often verglaced.
From the gap to the summit of the Charmoz-Grépon couloir
Start the ridge by turning the first pinnacle on the Nantillons side (4c, 2 pegs)
Follow the crest of the ridge, (3b, exposed,) and reach the next gap by a short and delicate down climb on the Mer de Glace side
Bypass the third pinnacle (La Carrée) again on the Nantillons side, firstly on a large flake then by slabs to reach after a pull-up a platform under a thin pinnacle the “Bâton Wicks” (4c)
A short abseil leads to the next gap. Follow the tapered ridge for several metres to reach another abseil, which you need to pendule to reach a platform of boulders (15m). From here you can climb to the highest point (4b)
Descend by easy but bad rock to the top of the Charmoz-Grépon couloir
From the top of the couloir to the summit of the Grépon2 to 3h
Do not go to the lowest gap, (in the line of the couloir) : climb a corner, "the open book" (4b, 2 pegs,) which leads to the gap to the right of col Charmoz-Grépon. Go onto the Mer de Glace side, traverse for 20m then climb back up to another gap at mid height of the Mummery crack
You reach the crack either by a short but delicate traverse, (5c, 2 pegs, steep slab) or by climbing down 4 metres and then traversing (4c, slab)
Climb the remaining 10 metres, tricky for 3m, (5b)
Go back onto the Mer de Glace side by the "Trou du Canon", climb a crack capped by an overhang, (4b,) to the left, and pass back onto Nantillons side through a slot (“letter box”.) Hand traverse the flakes on the ridge, (4c,) then follow the sharp ridge, (2 pegs high up, the start of the flake traverse is a bit committing.)
A first abseil leads to a gap from where you climb the next pinnacle (3c.) From there, abseil down the Nantilons side to a ledge which you follow to the next gap. A narrow ledge on the Nantillons side then a long stride after having gone over to Mer de Glace side, brings you to the "Vire à Bicyclette”, (cycling ledge). Follow this to its end. By another flake, hand traverse on the right, (easier than the one before,) to reach a delicate, Z shaped crack, (1 move of 4c, protectable with nuts,) on the Nantillons side., which you climb to the summit and the statue of the Virgin
Descent to the Col des Nantillons
From the summit make an abseil of 20m on the Mer de Glace side to reach the Balfour gap. From there, in two abseils of 25m, reach an obvious shoulder, from where a 30m abseil leads to a deep gap. Climb back up the little wall opposite of 3m, (3c,) without releasing the rope, which gives access to a terrace
At the end of the terrace down climb the shoulder and ledges, leading to near the Col des Nantillons
You need
40m rope plus one 30m for the rappels
5 QD's, small set of mid size nuts, Green-Red Alien, 1-2 camalots
Numbers of pegs and slings en route
(Et bonne courage)

/ All skönhet, är från himmelen ett lån

Jul 17, 2013

Travers of the Grand Perron

Great airy ridge offering stunning views of the Mont Blanc

Grand Perron, aim for the small snow field out to the upper right

Enjoyable climbing on mostly good rock and air, and gives a nice ride up to lac d'emosson



Approche 2h

Cross the dam and turn left the marked trail leading to Loriaz. 400m further leave a little path cairnée (starting at a cairn on a large block in a small valley, before it descent path Loriaz). It then rises slopes increasingly steep gradually pulling right.

On the snowfield seen from the dam


After further slopes, climbing a second steep passage a rope may be necessary (2b, exposed).

Then aim for the gap between the two summits of Van (N and S), although drawn on the map: the lower valley is oriented NNE, the upper part is a corridor facing E. Foothold in the valley (common firn) by overcoming a small bar (2b, can pass from the right), and go up the scree to the breach through a narrow corridor to the right

Climb 2-6h

Of the gap, one can easily climb each peak through but usually directly below the summit S by a grassy ledge to gain the main ridge


It is relatively easy to the main summit of the Grand Perron (2674m) and to the next gap of the Vouilloz


Continue on the crest of the ridge now more delicate and air to the top (all 3b/3c), climb down a little at the foot of which you must leave the edge to get full N (2 bolted anchours , 20 and 25m, do not climb out to the slings on the gendarme) traverse the grassy slopes, through which you can easily reach the next gap (Vouilloz - ifala)


The climb up Ifala is the key passage (4a/4b) remain well to the right of the ridge from the breach. Do not go to the characteristic hole/ gap to the left. Then follow the crest of the ridge to the summit



Continue edge now much easier (grass and rock) bypassing obstacles (the left and the right) until the breach Perrons, hence you can easily reach a series of small lakes.

Be careful not to descend any of the corridors, even if there are traces and a cairn, keep the edge all the way to the col!

a Cairne path back to Veudale where you find the path of the Col de la Terrasse (on the left side of the gorge). From there directly to the dam


Edge quite sunny in the morning, dry quick

Fairly level but three ascents and descents

Very good school to learn how to move quickly

The ridge also runs in the other direction but it is more difficult (D).


Very little in the way of equipment, only bolted rappels (on spits).

A 50m rope is sufficient or 2*25m

small selections of mid size nuts and mid size Cams

4-6QD's, 2-4 longer slings

Eventually crampons for the access early in the season


//En delad upplevelse betyder inte att man delat samma händelse


Jul 11, 2013

Majorette Thatcher - a classic crack tour

At Blaitière, 1 1/2h walk from Plan de l'Aiguille téléphérique, there is a number of great climbs. And with an exeption from Nabot Leon, an other classic which is frequent climbed, the other routes doesn't see to keep much traffic these days. But, I might be wrong?!


Anyhow, the approach right now, with the amount of snow covering the boulder terrain over plan de l'Aiguille and the remaining of the glaciers, is very sufficient and easy. Specially with the last winters now transformed to solid neve


The only issue is to take the right turn once at the brèche and not head straight up glacier du Blaitière.

The climb start at the highest point at the Red Pillar, under a small roof. Which is the crux of the whole route, but good protected with a no.3 Camalot.

The start is accually much easier than it looks at first glance and its possible to protect there when needed. A delicat move out to the right takes you to the first anchour, a couple of meters under the roof.

Arriving after pitch 1, Majorette Thatcher

An advice is to climb up to the roof and place the next piece before the second is brought up to the belay, since it's a bit tricky start, at least for a shorter person, and nothing to protect with. So a fall will result in testing the anchour...


The roof pitch is just a perfect hand and fist jam, not easier if it's wet for sure...but after a bit of cussing I transform the jam into a layback and so, I'm over it


As meteo France had promised an afternoon thunderstorm the goal was to be ahead of it. But fighting with pitch nr.3, which gives a feeling of a never ending story, takes a bit of this time! But since its a much enjoyable crack pitch at almost 50m finishing on a perfect belay on a small pedestal, it's worth every punch

The advertisement for this route is cracks, and cracks there is



With one and the last pitch to go the clouds are once again sweeping down the walls and just when I have placed the first cam in the last bit of climbing...

-Isn't that something like grêle coming down...?

-It sure is I hear from below!


Anna on the last pitch of Majorette Thatcher

Perfect timing and when we a both up and safe on top the pillar all heavens doors opens, like wide!

So just on it, down with the ropes and rap of, thunders in the distans moving in...

An other great day in the mountains...and the thelephrique was even running still once back at plan, thanks for that!

What a bit of hail can do

You need

2x50m rope

A set of Aliens green to red, xtra red useful, a set of Camalots 0.75-3.0, xtra 0.75 useful

A set of wires DMM 1-8

5- 10QD's

Belays are in place and some bolts during the trip

Majorette is the line to the left


//Även en kättare måste tro på något. Om så bara på sanningen i sitt egna tvivel