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.Β  A bit like Labrynth Direct on the Dubh Loch albeit much longer.Β 

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.

38a4073e-f484-4e9c-86bc-1aa7fca37d6dIMG_0993IMG_09970d4bed05-4816-4e04-bde4-6f44b03480b8dfbd78af-5358-4f31-9fdd-f18df6c787e7IMG_1001IMG_1012IMG_10175c1afc81-2fea-4ed1-b473-864f2075da2696aa6f71-2e7a-4cf1-b719-1fdf28cd418017435770-71bf-4e55-9488-77f4a7eb5a6fIMG_1021IMG_1024IMG_1025

Mer des Nuages

Dave, James and myself went up to Plan de l’Aiguille for an alpine route with a couple of objectives in mind. The drooling ice on Beyond Good and Evil had a strong draw so we went up for a look. The scorching evening sun kept temperatures high late on and a walk up to the base revealed lots of ice falling down. We decided to see what the temperature did overnight and found a huge flat boulder to get some kip in, but kinda resigned to go down in the morning. I dont think I’ve ever been so warm at a bivi and in the early hours we were treated to spectacular ‘Mer des Nuages’ illuminated by full moon, a good chance to take some photos. With no freeze, it was a pretty quick decision not to climb, and the first ascent of the year went to Perkins, Blakemore & Helliker team the following day. It looks really fun so get out and blast it while its there.