Indurain for me is the best of the Trident route with varied climbing on splitter, flakes, laybacks and grooves. So good!
Me on the initial warm up 6b pitch with required a forceful approach with a toasted body from a hard days cragging the previous day.
Gareth on the diagonal crack
Grovelling around in the offwidthSpanning out to the layback flake
Burly moves onto the belay ledge
Gareth departing on what I though was one of the finest crack pitches in the massif. A fine 6C hand crack heading up right.
Gareth fully engaged in the hand crack
Nearly there, on the steeper bulge at the top
Me on the groove 3rd pitch
Me on the crux 4th layback pitch
Looking down the layback pitch, Gareth’s white helmet just visible
The top 5+ pitch, a bit gravelly but the final 6th pitch is worth doing and takes you above Bonne Ethique’s ab line.
The line of Sale Athee on the Charpoura side of the Aiguille du Moine
If you are looking for the lightest airmat for bivis and the fast and light approach, read on as this will be of interest to you.
Time for a mountaineers snack of cheese and sausage at the bivi
Will soaking up the rays at our bivi spot in the Charpoura
Bouldering in the evening light
When I received the Exped Airmat HL M through the post I was impressed by the small pack size which similar to the size of Thermorest’s popular NeoAir. However when I opened the stuff sac I realised about 1/3 of the volume was due to the ingenious pump that is supplied to keep moisture out of the mat, although Exped claim the mat is impervious to hydrolysis. Leaving the pump at home will save a few precious grams and more importantly reduce your pack size.
Small pack length of around 7 inches
The inflation pump that fits into the stuff sac with the mat
This is a very comfortable mat with a shoulder width of 52 cm, length of 183 cm and thickness of 7 cm. The mat boasts next-to-skin comfort and anti-slip GripSkin honeycomb-pattern coating. I put the mat to the test in the Charpoura basin for an open bivi this summer on route to climb the mega Sale Athee 7a+ on the Aiguille du Moine – a contender for the best rock routes I have done in the Alps. Despite our bivi location being on rock I had a great nights sleep with no cold spots from the ground or dead arms from pressure points when lying on my side. The mats is full length so you avoid cold feet problems with ¾ length mats.
The low packsize to comfort ration means I’ve also taken to chucking the mat in overnight bags when I am away guiding in other places of the Alps and if I get the chance to ride the mountain bike tour of Mt Blanc this autumn it will be coming with me for a remote bivi.
Full metric specification can be found below along with a short video from Exped taking you through all the design features.
Will putting into Yosemite style back foot/knee cams on the pod section
Will heading off on a gorgeous 6C pitch
Will further up the pitch with stunning views to the Dru and Sans Nom
The crux 7A+ fist sized crack
Will coming up another amazing 6C+ pitch
Will nearly the belay
Myself and Will on the summit