I am back in Wales now, but the last week in the alps, we were able to climb some alpine routes. Good stable weather for the mountains in Chamonix meant we were able to get up high and see what condition the mountains were in. On Thursday we got the first lift up the Grandes Montet, to do an acclimatization route up the Petite Verte, we climbed Chevalier Couloir (300m), which didn't take very long but allowed us stretch our legs from all the sport climbing and breathe some thin air for a few hours! It is a fairy average route (snow slope) but nice to get up high. After hearing reports that Couturier Couloir was in good condition we returned to the Grandes Montet lift station and bivied the night on Friday. An early start 4am on Saturday we walked to base of the 1000m route, crossed the bergshrunde and started climbing before sunrise. The couloir is in good climbing condition with much of the black ice buried under neve and fresher snow. We descended the Whymer Couloir (started just before 11:30am) into the Talefre Glacier, which was a little exciting with numerous sluff avalanches funneling down as we abseiled the last 200m. We were too late to catch the Montevers Train back to Chamonix so bivied by the Couvercle Hut Friday evening. Routes in the Argentiere Basin seem to be getting climbed and skied a lot, Swiss Route on Courtes, Ginat and Lagarde on Droites. The Skiing resorts are closing, which is probably just as well, with the remaining snow at 2500m and below being slush!
Busy at the start of the difficulties on the continuously sustained Couturier Couloir - Aiguille Verte.
Kath on Chevalier Couloir - Petite Aiguille Verte.
Summit Aiguille Verte 4122m.
Descending Whymper Couloir with Grandes Jorasses in background.
Abseil descent off Whymper Couloir, with numerous sluff avalanches constantly occurring!