Bivvied on the scree below the Grand Montets station through a crystal clear night.
Left the bivvy at 06:15 and ascended the path towards the normal route before traversing left underneath the face to the rimaye.
Good screws below the surface layer at the rimaye and the the lower 2/3rds of the face (Good ice! ). Top 3rd of the face poorer snow/ice but with the angle easing. Face feels a lot steeper than 50/55 degrees, steeper than it looks. Managed 4 screws in the face but could have placed more.
1st party to summit that day. Descent via the normal that was then getting crowded.
Good acclimatisation route.
Drove for 9 hours straight and then started the climb with no sleep. Went straight up the middle to the bergschrund and then over to the left ridge. Less crowded and a lot of fun. Mixed snow/ice/rocks.
A fun little ice route in conditions more like Patagonia than France in the Summer! Fairly easy apart from a large bergschrund, then joining the NW Ridge to the summit.
Had a late start and meet a lot of returning traffic in the lower part of the rocky ridge so we turned back. Camped the night and intended to climb the ENE colior the next day but was not in good condition so opted for a little rock climbing.
It was my first climb this summer so I wanted to give it an extra effort for the sake of proper acclimatization. To accomplish this, I started from Lognan (end of first telepherique) as opposed to taking both telepheriques up to Grands Montets and starting from there. From Lognan is a vertical height gain of 1500 mts. I soloed the route in 4.5 hours. Nice view of the Drus...you can hear from summit ridge the almost non-stop rock fall happening in the Petit Dru.
Climbed the ordinary route then went on to climb the Grands Montets Ridge and the Aiguille Verte. A nice area to go to when the other areas are crowded.
My first mixed route and a worthy climb. Nice acclimatisation trip.
This is a great training peak and there is no need to get up early for an alpine start. It only takes a couple of hours from the top of the cable car station, and it can be done in the afternoon. When we came down from the climb we descended all the way down to the Argentiere hut to climb the Tour Noir the next day.
A good begginer climb + acclimatization climb.
Climbed with Matt Owen and Helen Taylor to bag our very first Alpine peak. Easy enough but the route was a little too crowded to be overly enjoyable.
Looked like we where the first one to climb Petit Verte since the last snowfall. Had to make our own tracks.
Fun but a bit tricky at times.
Winter 2003: With Tom Fralich, I climbed the little but nonetheless fun peak. We were overconfident and we followed some steps that took us in direction to the ridge, but a bit earlier that what the normal route requires. So we have to solo-traverse snow at 80 degress!. We tried to gain the very rocky ridge to correct the route but this proved difficult, so we rapeled and traversed back to the normal route.
When we got back to the beggining of the climb, we realized that the nromal route was pretty obviuos! It is a fun climb, worth doing it.
Winter 2004: Chevalier Couloir (March 18) Climbed with Tom "Doctor" Fralich. The conditions in the Mont Blanc Massif were not good on this season, with faces with unconsolidated snow and or black ice.
In spite of starting the climb very early, the conditions where not excellent. The couloir presented unconsolidated snow, some 30 to 50 cmts deep, plus small rock and snow avalanches. Once on the ridge, 10 cmts of snow or less covered a slab of alpine, hard ice, making necessary a running belay on screws. The ridge itsefl was very snowy and loose.
Fun climb as well.
NW Ridge -- March 15, 2003 -- Climbed with Juan Valderrama as a warm-up on our first day in Chamonix and skied back to Argentiere at the end of the day. The short rock step on the summit ridge was fun and the very thin snow crest just before the summit was really exposed. I really enjoyed this route.
ENE (Chevalier) Couloir -- March 18, 2004 -- Climbed with Juan Valderrama in a very poor season for climbing in Chamonix. We slept at the Grands Montets top station so we could start early and find good snow conditions. Even so, the snow in the couloir was deep and unconsolidated and it was a struggle to make progress. Some very small avalanches and stonefall added to the fun. On reaching the NNE Ridge at the Demi-Lune, some hard water ice led to the NW Ridge (Normal Route), which we descended back to Grands Montets. Descent by the normal route was also more difficult than usual due to the poor snow conditions.