After some heavy snowfall first half of August, snow conditions were generally good second half of August. A 10-day old entry on Camptocamp reporting good conditions convinced us to give the Gallet Ridge a try late on the season.
Good call. Glacier passed without too much problems. One rope length blank ice, but easy enough with 2 ice axes (no ice screws needed). The face to top out from the glacier onto the ridge was the bottle neck, very little snow or ice there. Once on the ridge we found a track on the Glacier Suspendu and could easily proceed to the summit.
Rather bad weather. Some rain at night and limited visibility at the summit. Descent via the normal route is tedious. Both in the steep and dirty couloir towards the glacier as on the moraine slabs below. We actually doubted to climb the normal route instead of the Gallet Ridge, but that would have been disappointing.
If you want to climb the Mont Dolent, take your time and wait for the right conditions. Then do the traverse via the Gallet Ridge!
Climbed halfway and returned because of bad weather. Perfect acclimatization route for other gully's in the Argentiere valley!
Climbed this variant on the charlet route. Alpine ice 85 degrees, returned due bad weather halfway up
Italian normal route from Fiorio bivac.
Short and fun scramble up the South face. A climber with altitude sickness had to be helicoptered off from just below the summit. The Rif. Fiorio is superbly placed over the Pre de Bar glacier.
The year before, it seemed to be neccessary for me to climb a 4000m peak. Now, I wanted to do a normal climb ...
Since I bought the map of the region, the Bivouac du Dolent in Switzerland attracted me unexplicably. Very shortly before actually going there (a friday noon in a book shop of downtown Basle), I found out, that the normal route to Mt. Dolent does not start here, but from Bivacco Fioro in nearby Italy.
This italian bivouac is easily reached from Switzerland. When it is crowded, you might have to sleep in one of the upper beds, reached by climbing wooden overhangs. But I was lucky to secure a bed on ground level.
When my alarm clock rang for the first time, everybody was still asleep, and I decided to postpone the start. When it rang the second time, everything was as quiet as before. Hmm. No, I decided to neglect the decision of everybody else, and started to get ready. I was very quiet, I swear. Nonetheless, soon everybody else was moving as well. Strange, that I, the very greenhorn, apparently would influence other climbers ...
I will never forget the final section from the glacier towards the summit ridge. There are about 200m of altitude on 30-45% along the fall line. This can be fun - if you are alone. I started the downclimb, when everybody else seemed to be resting. Unfortunately, a rope party of two nice but hot tempered french speaking girls decided to follow immediately. Their crampons were either just one step above my fingers, or there was nothing but 20 cm of thin air between those crampons and my naked face. My second offer to let them girls pass was less polite than the first one, and solved the problem ...
This summit slope has a section, where the crampons hit rock (in summer) :-((
When my belgian partner and I (if we had known, we would meet, one of us might have brought a rope ...) had left the rather smooth glacier, there was all the time in the world to relax, talk, eat and drink, view, enjoy, and dream :-)