Beyond Good and Evil

The legendary Andy Parkin- Mark Twight route from the early 90s that took them multiple attempts to finish off. With a route with such high reputation for quality, it didn’t take much to get me fired up and psyched for it, and arguably its been a 20 year wait for the stars to align for me to get the opportunity to go. A quick ask round the trusted partners and Guy Steven instantly signed up. The crux would be to kit him out as he had flown out from Scotland for the week.

Many Alpine mixed routes fall short of the mark for me due to monotony of moves but each pitch of Beyond was so varied and unique providing continuous interest in stunning surroundings, mostly delicate and enticing rather than burley and intimidating.  A bit like Labrynth Direct on the Dubh Loch albeit much longer. 

We headed out from the small winter room at the Plan Refuge into a still mild night illuminated by the full moon. For the first 45 mins there was no need for a head torch as we took in the fantastic ambience under the Chamonix Aiguilles, friendly rather than foreboding. I kicked off and Guy and I alternated on the sharp end for 11 pitches to the junction with Thierry Rebuffat (known as Carrington Rouse in winter). With the upper pitches blasted dry by the wind we rapped arriving back at the skis at 130 pm and took the cable car to Big Mountain bar for some quality IPA to quench the thirst. All very civilized. Thanks @guystevenguide for a very memorable day.

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Fabulous Snow for Start of the Ski Season

Thats the lifts open in Chamonix and the ski season well under way. Yesterday I had a fantastic 50 cm bluebird powder day guiding Peter around the good spots in Chamonix and we have another 50 cm coming this week. Through the magic tunnel in Italy they are off to a great start with even more snow. Get it while you can!

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Alpine Climbing Equipment List for Europe

Alpine climbing equipment list for mountaineering in Europe.

Technical gear:

  • Back pack   (30-40 litre, the bigger the bag the more you carry)
  • Steel Crampons with anti-snow plates eg Grivel G12, no aluminium crampons as they will likely break on rocky sections
  • Ice axe (50-60 cm mountaineering axe)
  • Harness eg Black Diamond Alpine Bod
  • Mountaineering helmet
  • 2 small prussik loops
  • 2 locking karabiners (pear shaped)
  • 1×120 cm sling
  • Headtorch + spare batteries

Personal gear:

  • B3 Mountaineering boots, leather with vibram soles
  • Warm Hat
  • Sun hat, sun viser( must fit under the helmet)
  • Cat 4 Sunglasses
  • Cat3/4 Ski goggles
  • Light weight gloves
  • Heavy weight gloves
  • Neck gaiter or scarf

Layering system:

  • Lightweight underwear –  top and bottoms (1 set)
  • Warm wool socks – 80/20 merino/silk mix is very warm
  • Softshell/fleece midlayer
  • Treking pants, perferrable windproof
  • Jacket – Goretex with good hood
  • Paclite goretex overtrousers with full length zips to pull over crampons
  • Down jacket

For the Hut:

  • Lightweight  sleeping bag liner
  • Ear plugs
  • Toothbrush
  • Blob of toothpaste
  • A few wetwipes

Other items:

  • Camera, battery and SD card
  • Sunscreen & lip screen
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses and contacts – if applicable
  • Contact solutions – if applicable
  • Prescription medication
  • Water bottle or Thermos (unbreakable eg Nalgene bottle)
  • Pic-nic lunches and Snacks
  • Pocket knife
  • Blister kit/zinc oxide tape
  • Paracetamol/ibuprofen
  • Cash
  • Credit card