This June, I had the opportunity to join two of my friends for a week of climbing and alpinism in Chamonix Mont-Blanc. For once, I did not take too many pictures, as I was too busy keeping up with them. Also, since climbing usually takes both hands, taking photos becomes a whole other story. Nonetheless, I am happy to share some of my experiences in Chamonix.
Aiguille du Midi – South-Face – Rébuffat Route
After arriving at the end of the morning in Chamonix, we decided to still use the few sun hours we have left (and the free lift pass for the day) to go up and climb on the south-face of Aiguille du Midi. Our goal was to repeat the classic Rébuffat – route near the top station of the lift. After a short traverse of the glacier, we started to climb the 8 pitches. After passing through the first 5 pitches, including the famous second pitch with a beautiful S-formed crack, we found ourselves in the middle of some snow clouds.
What started as a beautiful blue-sky day, turned into a grey, snowy white-out. As the rock was really warm from the sun, the melting snow made the route wet and unclimbable. We hesitated but in the end we were forced to rappel down with only 2 pitches left to climb. To be revisited another time!
Éperon des Cosmique & Arête de Cosmique – Rébuffat Route
The second day, we were ready to tackle some more of the alpine classics of Chamonix. Our objective for day 2 : The Éperon des Cosmiques, another south-facing wall near the Aiguille du Midi. As the end of this multi-pitch climb can be linked up to the famous Cosmique-ridge, we planned to do both in one day.
After a short ascent in the gondola, and another quick passage over the glacier, the three of us found ourselves under this amazing granite wall. The climbing was great, and the route beautiful throughout all pitches, even featuring a small roof. After a few hours of climbing, we reached the top of the wall and changed yet again our climbing shoes for our alpinism boots and crampons. After a short scramble through the snow, we reached the Arête des Cosmiques and did this classic ridge of the Mont-Blanc range. This varied route required some rapelling, scrambling and basic rock climbing in crampons. Needless to mention that the views were, despite some snowfall, absolutely gorgeous!
Aiguille de Blaitière – Red Pillar
Nabot Léon Route
New day, new adventure. Once again, Hannes had planned an amazing, alpine, multipitch for us.
From the Plan d’Aiguille, we had a 1 1/2 hours approach over rocks, snow and ice to the foot of the Aiguille de Blaitière. Here we went up the route “Nabot-Léon“, 6 pitches over perfect rock. For once, we did not even have snowfall this day. On the way back down, we even took a shortcut over the snowfields under the glacier.
Yes! Thanks to the bad weather (and us being quite tired), my fingers finally had the chance to heal for a day. We took the train of Montenvers to the Mer de Glace. From there we hiked back to the Plan d’Aiguille over the “balconies” of Chamonix.
Le Brévent : Frison-Roche Route
After a day of rest, we were sad to discover the weather forecast for the day. It was supposed to rain all day long. As it didn’t look too bad yet after breakfast, we decided to try our luck anyway and took the lift to the Brévent summit, north of Chamonix. From there, a short approach downwards got us to the foot of the south-face of the Brévent – a gorgeous wall full of exceptionnal climbing. We went for the classic Frison-Roche route and had a great time climbing the 6 pitches, full of beautiful cracks to climb up.
Le Lac Blanc
Unfortunately, I had to leave one day earlier than the others, who were planning on summiting the Mt. Blanc on the last day (the only good weather – frame during our stay). So I decided to take a small, quiet hike to the Lac Blanc before leaving for Chambéry in the afternoon.
After a small hike I reached the alpine lake and enjoyed the breath-taking view over the Mont Blanc massif for ten minutes, before a group of huge clouds swallowed the mountain. Even after waiting for an hour, I could not see further than 10metres, so I decided to go back down and off home to Chambéry.
Merci Chamonix !
As all good things have to come to an end, our week was over in a heartbeat.
For anyone wandering, we were staying at the UCPA Chamonix, where we had not only breakfast, lunch-boxes and dinner, but also all! the liftpasses included. Yes, even the Aiguille du Midi. The staff was really nice and we can only recommand this accomodation.