Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chamonix 2010

After having missed the guiding season in Chamonix last summer due to an ACL repair, this year I was anxious to get back into the swing of things. I spent the spring ski touring season in the European Alps as well, guiding classics such as the week long Haute Route traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt, the steeps of the Cosmiques Couloir, the Glacier Ronde and the Tour Ronde and of course the Valle Blanche-the most classic one day all downhill ski tour in the Alps.

Descending the snow arrete from the Aiguille du Midi Tram

The summer season started off with great weather and conditions. I hit the ground running with guiding ascents of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc as well as some classic Chamonix rock routes like the Index, Petite Floria, and the Papillion Arrete. Classic mixed climbs were in great condition as well, and the must do Cosmiques Arrete saw many ascents. My Outline Hoody was my constant companion and go to layer for all conditions.

Upper pitches of the Matterhorn

The "Razor" Pitch on the SW face of the Crochue with Mont Blanc in the background

In between guiding trips, I still managed to get in some great sport climbing in the Chamonix valley as well as in Italy and Switzerland. The proximity to the borders and the weather patterns which get blocked and pushed around by the Mont Blanc Massif allows for easy travel to find good climbing weather and conditions somewhere in the Alps on any given day. I got to put my new Togir Light harness (the most comfortable harness I have ever worn!) and Pro shoes to the test on lots of rock.

"Poem a Lou", 6 pitch 6c+ on the Brevant above Chamonix

As September rolled in and the temperatures dropped snow began accumulating up high and turned to ice creating the amazing 1000 meter mixed lines that the hard core alpinists come to Chamonix for. With the guiding season winding down and some free time on our hands, my brother and I are looking toward these routes for our fall adventures. Of course, that means leaving the valley sport climbing and cafe's behind for cold bivies and airy exposures!

Dry tool training in the valley
We are looking toward Mont Blanc du Tacul for some easy mixed-climbing-day-trip-warm-ups to prepare for some classics like the Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses and the Charlet-Platonov (put up by Armond Charlet in 1935!) on the Aiguille Vert. Hopefully my next post will have photos on these amazing mountain routes!
Steve Banks-Chamonix, France

1 comment:

wanda said...

Be safe you all. It looks awesome!